Contracting/Temping - Viable Alternates in Tough Times

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Re: Contracting/Temping - a viable alternate in tough times

No.

No.

No comment, since my answer was no.

Equal to.

No.

N/A
Is it really worth it. :notme:
Obviously, many folks have never worked as agency contractors and have no present intention of working as one. For them, reading this thread may be a waste of time and energy.

For many others, though, the realization that "Knowledge is Power!" keeps them reading because employment is so uncertain in these economic times, we never know when we may NEED that temp job to keep making mortgage and car payments and putting food on the table. Better to learn about it now in an unharried, unstressed atmosphere than when one's whole life is collapsing following a job loss because some factory six states away found a way to do your factory's production at half the cost.

Many consultants (my definition above in post #1) find that they have to eke out income between consulting jobs by working as a contractor for an agency. That doesn't make them bad consultants, it makes them practical. In my world, I've never found a way to eat pride. Money seems to be as necessary as oxygen for survival.

There is no shame, either, in filling in gaps between full-time employment on one's resume with stints of agency contract work.

One benefit Hunter (from Geoff's post) points out for the contractor worker is the opportunity to hone skills and garner experience in different work environments - all of which may add value to that worker when considered by a full-time employer.

FULL-TIME VERSUS PART-TIME OR TEMPORARY:
I want to clarify I see no stigma to being a contract worker, part-timer, or temporary worker versus being a full-time worker. It is important, though, that someone switching from contract work to full-time work be able to connect the dots for a prospective full-time employer just how the contract work enhanced one's value for the prospective full-time employer if he hires the former contract worker.
 
G

Geoff Withnell

Re: Contracting/Temping - a viable alternate in tough times

One benefit Hunter (from Geoff's post) points out for the contractor worker is the opportunity to hone skills and garner experience in different work environments - all of which may add value to that worker when considered by a full-time employer.

FULL-TIME VERSUS PART-TIME OR TEMPORARY:
I want to clarify I see no stigma to being a contract worker, part-timer, or temporary worker versus being a full-time worker. It is important, though, that someone switching from contract work to full-time work be able to connect the dots for a prospective full-time employer just how the contract work enhanced one's value for the prospective full-time employer if he hires the former contract worker.

Wes,
Hunter did hit the nail on the head with his remak on the experience providing value. I found it so when I decided to leave contracting. You do have to be ready to answer the the questions about why you left so many jobs. however. My answer (sounds like a wiseaxx remark but it's not) was "I worked myself out of a job."

Geoff Withnell
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Trusted Information Resource
Re: Contracting/Temping - a viable alternate in tough times

Obviously, many folks have never worked as agency contractors and have no present intention of working as one. For them, reading this thread may be a waste of time and energy.

For many others, though, the realization that "Knowledge is Power!" keeps them reading because employment is so uncertain in these economic times, we never know when we may NEED that temp job to keep making mortgage and car payments and putting food on the table. Better to learn about it now in an unharried, unstressed atmosphere than when one's whole life is collapsing following a job loss because some factory six states away found a way to do your factory's production at half the cost.

Many consultants (my definition above in post #1) find that they have to eke out income between consulting jobs by working as a contractor for an agency. That doesn't make them bad consultants, it makes them practical. In my world, I've never found a way to eat pride. Money seems to be as necessary as oxygen for survival.

There is no shame, either, in filling in gaps between full-time employment on one's resume with stints of agency contract work.

One benefit Hunter (from Geoff's post) points out for the contractor worker is the opportunity to hone skills and garner experience in different work environments - all of which may add value to that worker when considered by a full-time employer.

FULL-TIME VERSUS PART-TIME OR TEMPORARY:
I want to clarify I see no stigma to being a contract worker, part-timer, or temporary worker versus being a full-time worker. It is important, though, that someone switching from contract work to full-time work be able to connect the dots for a prospective full-time employer just how the contract work enhanced one's value for the prospective full-time employer if he hires the former contract worker.

These are viable answers and questions. You are right the some people prefer not to do the Temp/Consultant thing, but on the other hand, some people prefer the Temp/Consultant thing, because it gives them the opportunity to see how other companies (Corporations, Incorporations, LLC and so forth) work and they are not committed to a specific company, or like to move about.... Just :notme:

It definitely would help in honing skills and knowledge. To gain direct experience with other companies will only help their desire to gain knowledge.

Contract/Temp/Consultant, does has its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantage: To see the company's philosophies, beliefs, style (both management and fellow workers), growth potential and a few more.

Disadvantage: Benefits are limited (through the agency) or nonexistent. Lack of stability and a few others.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Re: Contracting/Temping - a viable alternate in tough times

<snip>
Contract/Temp/Consultant, does has its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantage: To see the company's philosophies, beliefs, style (both management and fellow workers), growth potential and a few more.

Disadvantage: Benefits are limited (through the agency) or nonexistent. Lack of stability and a few others.
Lack of benefits may NOT be a problem for folks who have a spouse working a job with benefits. Many folks are part of "multiple income households."
Another thing to consider is that many professional societies and associations have group policies available for medical and life insurance coverage at rates lower than individual policies.

Even ASQ has an option as a member benefit
Life, Disability, Medical, and Supplemental Insurance MARSH Affinity Services offers health insurance plans and services through top industry carriers. Current offerings include Major Medical, Term Life, Cancer Expense, Catastrophe Major Medical, Elder Care, Lifeline Screening, Comprehensive Health, Dental, High Limit Accident and Medicare Supplement. (Availability and costs vary according to state regulations.)
(broken link removed) for more information or call 800-424-9883.
MARSH Affinity Services products are available to ASQ regular, senior, fellow and honorary members.
In point of fact, many folks are so distraught when they lose a job, they simply forget to look for all the opportunities they may have available to get discounts on goods and services through affinity programs sponsored by different groups and associations they may belong to.

Some schools even have low cost insurance programs for part-time students as well as full-time ones. Folks can upgrade their skills and credentials when out of work and still have coverage, especially if taking advantage of Pell Grants and education loan programs.

Only a few organizations have outplacement counseling which informs departing workers about these options. If a displaced worker isn't getting that counseling, he should at least be aware some programs exist to ease the transition so he can investigate on his own.
 

Weiner Dog

Med Device Consultant
Re: Contracting/Temping - a viable alternate in tough times

It's either work as a temp or be homeless (literally in my case). One does gain expertise from being a contractor. Always something new and exciting. Right now, the company that I am doing the contracting work does not have the $ to make my job permanant. In fact, they initially posted my job as permanant, I applied, but later was told the bad news. Soon, I'll be out of work...

However, my case is probably not the norm, but the exception to the rule.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
UPDATE! The recession is real, not imaginary

So, when I wrote this first post early in 2008, I received some private mail telling me I was spreading fear and panic when there was no threat.

I've witnessed (and survived!) some pretty bad downturns over the last forty years - this is the worst! The job cuts go across many more industries than in the past. No geographic area seems to be immune. As Weiner Dog writes:
It's either work as a temp or be homeless (literally in my case).
there are some very tough choices to make in this kind of economic climate.

Despite that, there is still paid work available, but those employers are not spending a lot of money to advertise the fact because they feel they can hire who and what they need from the pool of folks savvy enough to find and apply to the employer.

Getting paid work depends more than ever upon convincing a prospective employer you can deliver value he NEEDS (even if he wasn't really aware he needed it until you came and made it clear you could be his savior.)

We have several sticky threads (in the Forum Occupation Discussions) which have tips on how to find those unadvertised jobs. It takes time, effort, and skill to ferret those jobs and employers out and even more skill to present your case to put you ahead of other job seekers. Sometimes, you may have to "settle" for temp or contract work when you really want a nice, cushy, full-time job with great benefits. That "settling" doesn't mean you have to stop looking for the full-time work you want. In this economic climate, neither employer nor employee can afford to put "loyalty and gratitude" above self-preservation.

Good luck in your search and be especially careful of scams - job scams seem to really pick up steam when times are tough and folks are desperate.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
This is a thread bump! Some folks have configured their Cove threads to show the latest post first so I am repeating some new material I added in edit to the first post. I highly recommend folks seriously considering working as a temp or contract worker read through this thread in chronological order - from post 1 to the last.

Here's the copied material added to post 1:
Contracting/Temping – Is it in YOUR career future?
(a companion thread to Consulting – Is it in YOUR Career Future?)

Added in edit to bump this thread and add specific link to a chapter in Jim Ziegler's Contract Employee's Handbook
Resumes for Contract Workers
https://www.cehandbook.com/cehandbook/docs/cehandbook_chapter_05.pdf
(If you are contemplating Contract Work, at least READ THIS before you send out a resume. Note: The pages load slowly - be patient!)

I do not have permission to post a copy here in the Cove. The complete handbook can be found here:
https://www.cehandbook.com/

In my experience over the last forty years, every time there is a downturn in the economy and full-time jobs seem to become scarce, a lot of folks think they can easily join the ranks of those “high paid consultants” they hear about and occasionally see as shadowy figures talking and dealing with top managers at their organization. What if you, personally, are not at the level of "consultant" (yet?)

Reason for this thread:
As the economic noose tightens more and more in the USA and the dreaded "R" word (recession) rears its ugly head and the ripple effect expands across the globe, more and more organizations are loathe to hire full-time employees. However, they still need "warm bodies" to perform day-to-day tasks within the organization. To fulfill that need, they take one or both of two courses:

  1. direct hire of temporary or part-time workers
  2. contracting with an agency to provide workers for temporary or part-time employment.
Let me emphasize - there is no shame in taking temporary work to keep yourself and family fed and a roof over your heads.

Some things you have to keep in mind:

  1. The contract job is TEMPORARY! (always be aware ANY day may be the last - for reasons that have nothing to do with you or the quality of your work)
  2. Find a way to keep up health insurance - the vast majority of personal bankruptcies are triggered by outsized medical bills
  3. You may not qualify for unemployment compensation when the contract job disappears
  4. Be aware you may have to work a long distance from home - too far to commute - keep in mind you may have to support your family from a distance and won't be around to help out your spouse or play with the kids.
  5. Don't stop researching and looking for a permanent job if that is your ultimate goal.
  6. Continually update your resume as you gain new skills and experience pertinent to your long term employment goal.
  7. You may require two different resumes - one for getting contract work and one for getting interviews for full-time employment - don't mix them up!
  8. If you don't have a close friend you can trust to gve you an honest appraisal of your resume and cover letter, consider finding an employment club or community-based counselor to find one or more QUALIFIED folks to assure you are not your own worst enemy by sending out resumes that don't adequately reflect the value you can offer to an employer. (To do an adequate review, a professional who doesn't have personal knowledge of your skills may have to interview you for an hour or more before looking at the resume so he can get a feel for whether your resume adequately does a true job of describing your value.)
  9. Find a way to rehearse and practice interviewing so you can do the best possible job of marketing your value when face to face with someone who can hire you.
 
Q

qualitymanager

Thanks for the bump!

The material is generally very good, and I have an OFI :p

Looking at cpt. 5 of the book you posted, I believe that this is no longer applicable (p. 5-15):
In general, do not send your resume as an e-mail attachment. If you do send it as an attachment send it as plain (ASCII) text, and give it a file name like lastname_firstname_resume.txt.
(Please note the book is dated 2001).

PDFs are great if your resume gets re-formatted every time a different printer is used, and a resume in ASCII text says to me that I can't employ/recommend you based on your computer skills.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Thanks for the bump!

The material is generally very good, and I have an OFI :p

Looking at cpt. 5 of the book you posted, I believe that this is no longer applicable (p. 5-15):
(Please note the book is dated 2001).

PDFs are great if your resume gets re-formatted every time a different printer is used, and a resume in ASCII text says to me that I can't employ/recommend you based on your computer skills.
Good point!

Actually, Jim has been updating this a lot since his original writing.

I agree folks receiving a resume can read it in its original typography if it is formatted in pdf, BUT, and this is the big BUT (which I am pretty sure Jim does NOT address) many organizations are now scanning the incoming resumes with software to parse out key words - a lot of folks create pdf files which are merely "pictures" of the text and, although VERY legible when printed out, are difficult for many software programs to penetrate for key words. You just have to know what the receiving entity will be doing.

Personally, if I had ANY question, I'd send BOTH pdf and ASCII copies with an explanation in my cover letter (which should ALWAYS be personalized to each recipient, not generic.)
 
E

ewh3356

Just a clarification... CJHunter is not a person, but a website, cjhunter.com (ContractJobHunter). I have been a subscriber to their publication, CEWeekly, and found it to be invaluable when looking for temporary employment (which sometimes turned into direct employment).
 
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