Forget the Job, Give me a Contract

Written by Bob Howard-Spink

Bob says working on contract is the way forward. He explains why

My friend Julie (Holmwood) at Churchill Brook posted a discussion recently on the trend towards short term contract employment. A real prospect in the current business climate, it immediately triggered a thought back to the 80's and early 90's when Total Quality Management …Business Process Re-engineering …Management De-layering were all  collaborating to change the shape and reduce the permanent headcount of businesses. Welcome to the growth industry of the contract worker.

For those of us that were "downsized" with no job to go to it was a traumatic experience!

Many of us were a product of the good old days, when you could leave one job and find another with ease. And I think we also had an evolutionary issue to handle (inserting a quick disclaimer on any credentials as an anthropologist), in that we are of a culture that expects employment to be provided! 

Certainly, the suggestion once made by a famous politician of that era that to find work we should "get on our bike!" was felt to be alien, to say the least!

So not surprisingly the change in employment attitudes and the shift towards the contract worker, was evolutionary rather than revolutionary …and perhaps tribal too.

But over time – sometimes after further redundancies – people accepted that things had changed.  We had our epiphany moment and decided that being part of an establishment headcount wasn't for us! And we came to discover how good working on contract was:

Feeling that what we did was for our self and getting such a buzz out of it.
Being appreciated more for our objectivity, expertise and contribution.
As a contract worker we got the refreshing variety of a new industry or company. 
Having that great sense of independence and control over our own life.
And because of that – and rather unexpectedly – feeling more secure working on a contract, than we ever did before when we were permanent headcount.

But it did take us a while to recognise all these benefits to contract working – where was OnWeGo when we needed it?

Commerce and industry is however more accustomed to outsourcing these days and working on contract is much more usual.


Even smaller enterprises where much of the hope for growth must be centred, have a more businesslike attitude when it comes to outsourcing work to contract workers. They know that they need to flex their manpower requirements up and down as they plot a path to recovery and growth (with or without the consideration of recession).

So the quicker we recognise how much we get out of offering the same flexibility the better. Then everyone is a winner!
Bob Howard-Spink is a supplier of positive attitudes. He runs OnWeGo; a website for people who think they've done as much as they ever will in life and work. Bob supplies inspiration and ideas on work, health and play. He is an advocate for making the rest of your life, the best of your life!
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