Cream of the Crop
This ‘Cream of the Crop’ article is in reply to our article, “It is mainly the Office Duds who go IT Contracting” which was sent in by a reader.
I think that the first thing that the writer of the original article fails to understand is that it is a different breed of person who goes contracting compared to those that stay permanent.
To show how true this is, next time you hear a permie complaining about how much IT contractors get paid, point out to him or her the risks involved, e.g. the spells out of work when the mortgage and car loans aren’t being paid and wondering when the next contract will come from, and then you will see a rapid change of mind about whether they would go contracting or not.
IT Contractors are greater risk takers than permies.
Permies tend to be risk averse.
Indeed, often it is a case of contractors being more confident in their ability to survive in that rough old world out there than permies – mainly because they are better.
IT Contractors at companies can even spot the future contractors at the companies where they work amongst the younger permie members of staff and which ones are not the contractor types. It’s not about the cream or the dud.
Contracting is an attitude.
All of those with 2 to 3 years experience of the business would love to get the money that contractors get.
However there some who think “That’s me. I’m good enough to get that money” and there are others who think that they are safer with the job that they have.
IT Contractors Mindset
Contractors have a different mindset. They are far more open to change – and that is usually a sign of someone of more advanced thought.
Far too many companies are stifled by the fact that their permanent IT employees are resistant to change – despite being in a high-tech field.
In fact it is one of the banes of a contractor’s life trying to convince permie Project Managers who are resistant to change of better ways of doing things.
It may be true that the best years of a contractor’s life are the first few years when the contractor is earning much more than those of his or her permie peer group and that the differential gets less, and is sometimes overtaken.
However, that does not have contractors taking permie jobs en masse, mainly because they are a different type of person.
It is different again in the US where often contracting is seen as a phase in many people’s careers to get them more money and experience of a variety of locations before resuming their permanent careers.
I remember reading, some time ago, of a company who had psychometric tests set up that they would give to interviewees.
The reason behind the test was to determine which of their interviewees were more likely to stay at the company for a long time and which ones would be likely to leave.
This seemed to make sense and they chose those more likely to stay in the long term.
A few years later they had to reverse this policy as they found that the ones who were much more likely to leave, were indeed the ones that they should have most wanted to keep.
Cream of the Contractors
This is very true of those who go contracting.
These are the confident, risk taking, potential entrepreneurs of your business who are up for new innovation and change. These are the ones that you want to keep.
Unfortunately, most companies are not able to keep these, the potential cream of the company, and it is mainly the duds who remain in their safe environment.
No Movers and Shakers
They are not going to shake up the world. In fact their small mindedness and petty jealousy of their intellectual superiors, the contractors, is going to prevent IT contractors being able to do as good a job as they could for the company.
The fresh ideas that those IT contractors bring to the company from elsewhere are resisted by these small-minded duds to the detriment of their companies.
I think that we’ve all been there and seen that.