If you’re thinking about becoming a contractor (not out of necessity but because that’s the path you’re choosing) please keep these thoughts in mind:
You’re more expensive (or you should be compared to being a FTE), you’re probably not getting paid PTO, etc. and should be making up for the difference in your hourly rate.
Therefore, you’re also dispensable, under more scrutiny and have a constant target on your back.
Suggestions to help be successful:
1. Do not rock the boat, play into company politics or think what’s being said will be kept confidential (land mines exist)
2. Do not become complacent or feel “privileged”
3. Work more than you report (meaning, be professional but don’t nickel and dime, especially if it’s something you should already know)
4. ALWAYS stay engaged and find something valuable to do
5. Do NOT be an administrative P.I.T.A. (and I’m not referring to what’s served with Greek salad)
You can be terminated at any point and it may hit you broadsided along with not knowing the full reason why, but it’s typically due to one of the above.
Contracting can be a lucrative and rewarding career option, but thick skin, humility, and understanding where you stand in the internal hierarchy (the bottom) should be taken into consideration at all times.