Contracting can be a great way to get international experience, improve your CV and earn more money, but it's not for everyone...
- Money. Spending a few years abroad as a contractor lets you earn a lot more than you would in a permanent position.
- Challenge. As a contractor you’ll often be at the sharp end of projects, where your contribution will be highly valued and critical to deadlines. This can stretch you more than a 9-5 job, improving your skills and your flexibility. Although it can be stressful, most contractors enjoy this type of daily challenge.
- Marketability. A few years spent contracting will give you incredibly valuable experience. Then, if you decide to look for a permanent position, you’ll be very marketable to employers.
- Life experience. It is said that travel broadens horizons, and contracting abroad is an excellent way to travel the world (although unfortunately not every contract position is in Bermuda!). To work abroad and gain insight into different cultures and work environments can be very rewarding, and can help you grow as a person.
- Uncertainty. When you’re working as a contractor you have to be able to cope with uncertainty, because there’s no guarantee that your contract will be renewed, or that you’ll go straight from one contract to the next. The more experienced you are and the better your reputation and track record, the easier it will be to stay in work. Telecoms is a small world and a good reputation will help keep you working, just as a bad reference will damage your contracting career.
- Stress. You’re almost certain to be working to tight deadlines, and the demands made on you are likely to be very stressful. Managers will have high expectations of you and the levels of work you can complete. You’ll be expected to hit the ground running and be an expert in your skill-set: people will look to you for the answers and you’ll be expected to deliver. If you’re not the sort of person who rises to a challenge and works well to deadlines, you should consider carefully whether contracting is for you!
- Isolation. The support of your family is important. If you’re married, contracting can be hard on both of you, as you won’t always be able to take your spouse with you on contracts. Being away from each other for long periods can add stress to your relationship – it’s not for everybody. It’s therefore important to make sure you’ve talked through all the implications of contracting, and made the decision on whether it’s right for you mutually.