This article, about the office duds, was sent to us in reply to one of our articles. The views expressed are theirs alone and certainly do not tally with the views and experience of ITContractor.com. We’ve replied with It’s the Cream of the Crop who Go IT Contracting.
It is mainly those who realise that they have no future at the companies where they are working who decide to go contracting, i.e. the office duds.
Be honest with yourself.
You were going nowhere at the last company where you worked as an IT employee, were you?
It is normally after about 3-5 years experience that IT employees go contracting.
Most IT employees get their first promotion after about 18 months to 2 years, e.g. from Trainee or Junior Developer to Developer or Senior Developer.
They get their second promotion during the 3-5 year period to something like Project Leader or even Project Manager.
Those guys aren‘t going to leave the firm for a contractor developer job – which is what most of the contracting jobs are for.
They are going to stay at the firm to see how far they can go. If they do get stuck, or if they fail as Project Leaders or Project Managers they can go contracting then.
Most of the brightest and best stay permanent. The office duds smell the coffee, cut their losses, and become IT Contractors.
No Denigration Intended
That is not to denigrate IT contractors. I hire contractors myself.
Although they didn‘t make the grade as employees, through having years of experience they develop into valuable developers or analysts etc. and can pass on some of that experience to junior IT employees.
They can also pass on what they‘ve seen at other sites and can help you to get Best Practice in many areas.
However, they have got this expertise through doing something over and over again when the best and the brightest permanent employees are able to learn and adapt more quickly.
IT Contracting is a very useful mechanism to have around.
Most industries are stuck with their office duds who didn‘t make it.
However, IT Contracting gives the industry a mechanism where the office duds that won‘t make it will look in the mirror and then leave to take up another branch of the profession.
Through working over and over again at the jobs at the bottom rung of the IT ladder they can become very valuable to companies who employ them.
However, they are kidding themselves when they say that contracting pays more than IT permanent work.
It does if you are comparing yourself to someone who is doing the same job as yourself on the bottom rung of the ladder.
However, except when you first go contracting, it doesn‘t if you compare yourself to someone who has the same number of years experience as you have in the industry.
Someone with 10 to 20 years experience in a permanent job is far more likely to be better off than a contractor with the same experience – and they are far more likely to get more job satisfaction and respect as a Systems Manager or IT Manager than they are as a bottom-of the-tree developer.
Office Duds Going IT Contracting
I would say to those office duds who go contracting, enjoy your first few years as an IT contractor. They will be your best. You will be earning far more money than your peers.
However, it is a downhill path after that.
Soon, you will be working for people younger than yourself – and having to take stick from them.
And then in a few years time after that, you may find that the Development Manager, or IT Manager, of a place where you have taken a contract as a developer, was someone who joined the year after you at the same company as you as a trainee developer.
The first few years are good – but then the humiliations start to kick in.
And then you find when you get to your forties or fifties that permanent Project Managers of 27 or 28 don‘t want to hire you as you don‘t fit in to the ‘project culture‘.
Read our article in reply It is the Cream of the Crop who go IT Contracting.
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