The Case For Contracting: Flexibility? Autonomy? What’s Not To Love?


Many of us grew up watching parents whose ambition was to set their career course with a single company.  Get the job, the benefits, and eventually, the gold watch for retiring after decades of service to one organization.

But in the 21st century, where the gig economy has overtaken the gold watch mentality, many job candidates have a different view of what a thriving career looks like. They value opportunities to set their own schedule, be their own boss, and chart their own course.

Contracting work provides a viable and varied path for those whose entrepreneurial spirit calls them to balance income with independence.

If the notion of making yourself available as a contractor has you curious, here are some things to consider in weighing whether it is the right path for you:

Flexible Schedule

Long before Dolly Parton sang about the rigors of working 9-to-5, it was considered the default expectation of most office workers.  Today, however, many companies recognize the value in giving workers flex-time schedules, and contractors are often greeted with the maxim of, “as long as you get the work done on schedule, you can set your own hours to get it done.”

This means you can spend quality time with family, take a half-day hike, or sleep in a bit and still hit your deadlines without anyone grousing about your ‘out of office’ status for a couple of hours mid-afternoon.  This means healthy work/life boundaries.  This means greater productivity while you are on the clock.   If these things matter to you, consider contracting a winning proposition.

Working Remotely

Remote work was already rising in popularity pre-2020, but the past two years of pandemic life have helped companies discover the vast possibilities and benefits of having a work-from-home option.  Contractors are already at the forefront of this movement, as many contracting roles are not designed to involve a lot of onsite engagement.  This means hours saved each week battling traffic (and dollars saved on gas!).  It means working from the comfort of your own home.  Heck, it means working barefoot if you want!  So, if you’ve got the discipline to get your work done in the comfy surroundings of home, this is another check in the win column for contracting.

Broaden Your Horizons

Of course, contracting isn’t just about freedom and flexibility.  It’s also an opportunity to broaden your horizons by engaging with a variety of companies on an array of projects.  You’ll gain fresh insights, make new connections, and get to sample industries and environments that might help you determine your next career move.   You’ll actually strengthen your resume and enhance your skills while exploring the possibilities available to you.

For some job candidates, contracting is a temporary step toward a greater plan; it’s the Whitman’s Sampler Box of work scenarios, as you complete one assignment and decide whether you want to move on to the next, or dig in where you are.

Staying In The Mix

If you’re between full-time opportunities, contracting is a great way to keep cash flowing in and good karma flowing all around.  Employers are often impressed by the enterprising spirit of a candidate who has proactively sought contracting work to stay fresh and busy between full-time engagements.  Of course, often the best job resource is the very company you’re contracting with, who may be so impressed with your work that they offer you the opportunity to apply for a more permanent role with them, should it be available.

Needless to say, for your own benefit, the assurance of a paycheck coming in is a weight off your own shoulders.  So, if you feel you can actively seek your next full-time role while balancing a contracting opportunity, you might find the effort more than worth it.

Speaking of Paychecks…

While there’s no hard, fast rule here, contractors at many companies often make a good deal more than the organization’s full-time employees.  That’s because they can modulate your scope of work, so they know what they are getting for what they are paying out.  But it’s also because they aren’t paying for your healthcare benefits, sick leave, or vacation time.  If that sounds appealing to you, contracting work may just “pay off” for you.

The Boss of Me

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there’s a mindset that comes with contracting work.  You are, ultimately, your own boss.   Yes, once you go under contract for a project or a timeframe with a company, you need to abide by your agreement, but unlike most full-time employment situations, you can say “no” to projects that don’t fit your needs.  That ‘need’ maybe around your schedule or your desired career path, but either way, you can simply say, “no thank you, but please keep me in mind next time.”    Most people who contract feel a greater sense of agency, autonomy, and independence.  That often translates into being more invested in getting the job done right for the client.  You’re happier because of your work conditions, and you’re compelled to ensure the client is equally happy with your performance.  There’s that karma again.

Wanna Contract?  We’ve Got Your Back

At Accountants One, we understand the value of contracting, both for our clients and our candidates.  Whether your passion is working as a true contractor or more of a temp-to-hire, we’re here to help. We put the same care and passion in placing contract workers as we do full-time roles.

We’ll support your journey with a track record that offers you peace of mind. Our placement contract success rate has never dropped below 80% and is consistently at least 20% higher than the industry average. So, if contracting is something you’ve been considering, or you’ve already committed to the notion, let’s talk.  We’d love to hear learn more about your aspirations.

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