Re: Contracting and Flexibility

Subject: Re: Contracting and Flexibility
From: "Terry Barron" <tbarron -at- systems -dot- dhl -dot- com>
To: "Tony G. Rocco" <tony -at- roundpeg -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 18:17:15 -0800

Hello, Tony

Hmmm, "all it's cracked up to be" depends on your personality
and work style preferences, at least in part.

I did a short stint of contracting (working on site and at home)
and discovered a few things about myself. My experiences were
positive, but I find I prefer working as a direct hire.

--I didn't really like working at home.
It was too easy to be drawn off to other household activities.
It was harder to stay focused on the job (unless I worked after
midnight). I'm just more productive in the atmosphere of the

--I was better than I thought I would be at selling my services.
But, I still did not particularly like doing it. Plus, you
aren't paid for selling your services, writing proposals, or
reviewing contracts. In fact, you should probably have an
attorney review the contracts, and that's more out-of-pocket

--Research and learning is another overhead item when you
When you work as a direct hire, learning new tools and skills on
the job is pretty accepted. Many companies offer tuition
reimbursement and allow time away from work to attend classes.

--I felt uneasy if I was not working.
I always wondered if I was leaving something undone. I don't
feel that way when I'm using my company-paid vacation.

--I missed developing a sense of community with co-workers.
As a contractor, you are kind of an outsider.

--Paying the bills - ugh!
It's rather nice to have someone else pick up the insurance tab,
pay for computer upgrades and software, and many other little

--I did not like sweating over slow paying clients.
Unlike some of my friends, I was never stiffed. If you are
submitting your own invoices rather than working for a good
agent, this can be a really sticky problem.

--I wasn't too crazy about being my own systems support.
How nice to have someone from SysAdmin come fix my computer,
troubleshoot the printer, setup the IP addresses, update
software and virus profiles, and backup drives over the
network! That's another unpaid overhead activity for
contractors working at home.

--I did not like having to learn "the ways" for each new
To me, that felt inefficient. Working as a direct hire, I learn
the basics once.

These issues would not bother everyone. In fact, I suspect that
many would find some of my negative items to be positives. But,
that's my point.

~~~ Terry

"Tony G. Rocco" wrote:
> I have long been interested in the life of a contractor. But I am wondering
> if those of you who contract find all the flexibility in time and place that
> you are looking for - things like working at home, keeping your own hours,
> working less than full-time if you want to, taking days off and extended
> vacation time.
> Is contracting all it's cracked up to be in this regard?

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