Have you ever been searching through job boards and seen a job that says the role is a contract or temporary position? Like many people, you will think “I’m now going to pass on applying to this role, I want a job that is permanent.” In a world with so many unknowns, I can sympathize with you wanting to find a job that you can feel stable in. I used to feel the same way… That is until I lived in San Jose, California where due to the Tech Industry, contract positions are extremely common and even desirable to certain job seekers. You might be questioning why would that be? So let me break it down for you in the eyes of a contract worker.

  • The position is going to pay more as a contracted position than it would for a permanent position. This is because as a contractor the company will not be offering you benefits. You get an hourly rate from them and that is just about it. Thus they will pay you more as they realize you will have to fully cover that cost yourself.
    • As a “child” under the age of 26, parents can still keep you on their insurance plans. As a graduate, your parents could keep you on their health insurance if they choose to.
    • Another bonus is that contract positions are always paid hourly. So even if it’s a position that would be salaried, you will get overtime for those extra hours worked. (This is one reason why some programmers love being contract.)
  • You get to try before you buy. Because the role is not permanent, you are able to explore if it’s a job you would even enjoy. You get to determine your thoughts on the job itself, the company, and the team. If you don’t like them, you are not obligated to stay around for the next few years. (Another reason programmers tend to like contracts is because they never get bored with their job. They work maybe 1-2 contracts a year and are always being exposed to new projects and opportunities.)
    • If you don’t like the company or they are not able to bring you on full time, that’s ok. You now have additional, and maybe even new skills to add to your resume. Recruiters understand how contracts work and won’t question you on why you only worked at a place for a limited time when you specify that it was contract role.
  • Sometimes the contract turns into a permanent position. After working with the company for some time, both you and the company know what the other brings to the table. If the company likes you AND has a permanent position for you, they will bring you on board.
    • Some companies focus largely on contract to perm positions, especially tech companies. Even though you don’t qualify or want to be a programmer for Google, if you want to work in their marketing department with an entry level position chances are you will have to start off as a contractor.

From reading all of this, I hope that you don’t find contract positions as taboo as you may have thought before. If you are still nervous, let me just remind you of one other thing. Florida is an at will employment state. This means that for any reason an employer can terminate an employee. So, for any permanent position you hold, you could technically be terminated without real cause. Of course, most companies will only let go individuals for justifiable reasons but as long as the reason isn’t unlawful (such as discrimination) they have the right to let you go. I’m not trying to scare any of you that have or want permanent positions, but it is a reality in the state of Florida. Just remember that you work for the opportunity and enjoyment of what you do. So if you come across a position that isn’t permanent, just think about the above. You may find that working a contract position could launch your career in a way you never expected.

Emily Sullivan
General Business Career Coach