RE: Cutting a contract short

Subject: RE: Cutting a contract short
From: "James Barrow" <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2006 22:30:12 -0700

>I'm currently in the middle of a 6-month contract that I'm considering
>cutting short to look for another opportunity. There are several factors
>involved, such as a relatively low current pay scale

I've been there. I've accepted contracts in the past because the client
company was a fortune 500 company or because it would mean that I wouldn't
have any down time (unemployment). I didn't really push too hard for a good
pay rate for these contracts. Later, when the working conditions became
stressed, the low rate that I passively accepted became the straw that broke
the camel's back.

>and the fact that my current position involves very little writing (maybe a
>few days worth out of the whole 6 months and that's pretty much done)

That's odd. What are you doing the rest of the time? If 'pretty much'
means that you can wrap up whatever it was you were hired to do, you may be
able to end the contract without leaving the client company in the lurch, or
offending your recruiter.

>and that the contract is expected to end shortly before Christmas, a rough
>time to be out beating the streets for a new contract.

This is true; fiscal year-end stuff. Companies vary on when they impose
their 'hiring freezes'.

>I'll mention that I was told up front there is a fair chance my contract
>might be extended, but there's certainly no guarantee of that and even then
>most of the negatives I mentioned will still hold true.

And I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell you. When recruiters
tell me that a contract could be extended, I react to that the same as if
they had told me that it might rain tomorrow. If a company hires you for a
specific project, update your resume a month before the end date. If a
company hires you to be their tech writer, odds are better that you'll be
there longer.

>I'm concerned over how many and how badly I'll burn bridges if I do
>leave. There's the agency I'm working through. I haven't worked with
>them before, but I'm fairly new to this area and am worried about
>burning relationships.

A very good friend of mine on this list stands behind a very good motto:
Your reputation follows you. I concur, but I also see the big picture like
this: there are more recruiting agencies these days per capita than
Starbucks. And, if the company that you're currently with isn't even
providing you with writing assignments, would you really want to work there
again in the future?

>And of course I'll annoy the company I'm currently working with since they
>have another non-writing task that they'd like to stick me with for the
>next few months while they prepare to roll out a product.

Your allegiances are to your career and mental health. If the company that
you're working for was faced with down-sizing, do you think they'd lose
sleep worrying that they would annoy you if they let you go? Of course,
this doesn't mean that you can't bring your concerns to your manager/HR

- Jim


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