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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Discipline in Freedom

So you’ve gotten to the stage where permanent work doesn’t offer that buzz you need to keep yourself motivated and making the money you need to pay the bills and have some fun;  what now? Give up, buy a bindle with your remaining pennies, adopt a scraggy dog and take up residence on the doorstep of what used to be your local? Well, not exactly. The alternate option is always out there if you look hard enough, and a contract or freelance position may be exactly what you need to refresh your professional mind-set and your entire life.
Of course, there will be those who relentlessly throw clichéd warnings at you from every angle – the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, better the devil you know and blah blah blah – but as any opportunist will tell you, a life lived by clichés is a life wasted.  If you feel ready to take the plunge into contract work and become more independent than ever – and make a lot of money too! – there are a few things you need to know.
Whether you decide to pursue a position based on site or at home you need a set plan of attack to ensure you maximise your skills and become an invaluable asset to any recruiter, which means following just a few rules on the path to as much flexibility as you desire.
First of all, it’s vital to make your CV specific to the industry you’re interested in. Basically that involves making work experience, qualifications and personal profile match up to your prospected roles. There are several articles out there on creating a contractor/freelancing specific CV, so get researching before tearing your résumé and all the achievements in it inside out!
Then comes the decision that irks at even the most avid contract professional at some stage; whether to work on site or from home. Of course there are situations where this may not be possible – for example in construction positions – but in industries such as IT, sales, telecoms and many others (that’s right, freelancing isn’t reserved just for photographers and writers) there are opportunities for you to start and end your day in the workplace that is the bedroom/office in the humble abode you know as home.
As in any situation there are different advantages in working in-office or in-house, a list of which you can find below, lucky you!
Pros for on-site work:
  • Networking: Getting your face around industry hotspots can be a great way to create working relationships that may prove to be priceless where furthering your career in the future, or just looking for that little bit of inside information no one else can touch. It’s also a great way to find new people to crash through to a pub lunch with!
  • Flexibility: In signing a contract to work with a company at the headquarters you aren’t restricting yourself in any way. You’re in control of however long that contract will last, how much you get paid, and pretty much the entire job that you do.
  • Travel: That which may not be ideal to some can be a breath of fresh air for another. Working a contract job makes getting out of the house and seeing a new place stay exciting, as it’s your decision as to how long you want to be there before a change of scenery is needed.
That’s all looking pretty good, so now let’s check the pros for home based work:
  • Cutting the Cost: In giving up the daily commute you’re losing all the costs that come with it, not to mention having whatever you want for lunch whenever you want it and even however many times you want it.
  • Total Flexibility: Have a piece of work due in tomorrow morning that’ll take around 2 hours? It’s up to you whether you want to finish it before breakfast, after dinner or at 3am. Just always remember to stay diligent and punctual with your deadlines; word gets around!
  • Keeping it in the Family: Whatever your responsibilities at home are it’s your prerogative to decide on priority. Some may find it ideal being home and available wherever they are needed, especially in young families or households where there may be a dependant disabled or disadvantaged person.
There you have it. Remember that on your next working venture, should you decide to take on a contract role give some real thought as to where you will be at your happiest and most productive. The responsibility lies with you in becoming unrestricted in your success, and though clichés may cloud our judgement on occasion they can be very apt, so remember, freedom isn’t free.

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