MARKETING • CREATIVE • DIGITAL
Is a Full-Time Job the Right Decision for You?
By Katherine Konrad, an experienced marketing professional and recent Celarity contractor
I mean, what other kinds of decisions are we talking here? Quitting your 9-5 to travel the world? Probably more appealing. Winning the lottery and walking out of the office Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire-style? Also better. Unfortunately, only for a small percentage of people, these are real options. For the rest of us, there’s Mastercard. I mean, contracting or freelancing.
So, what is contracting? And how is it different from freelancing? I’m so glad you asked:
Freelancers are hired on a per-project basis by companies whose relationship to them would act as a client and not an employer. Freelancers usually juggle multiple clients at a time and are responsible for managing their own tax withholdings, and finding their own health insurance. While they’re not working on a project or a gig, they may spend time networking, and marketing themselves in order to keep their work coming. Or, maybe they take a month off to backpack through Europe – because they can.
Contractors can either work independently – similar to Freelancers – or they can be placed by a third-party agency who handles their tax withholdings, and can provide benefits like a full-time employer might. In this case, they are technically employees of the agency who placed them, but function more like a client relationship with the company they’re doing work for. Contractors can be brought on during a company’s ‘busy season’ as extra help, or on a per-project basis. Either way, the assignment is typically for a set amount of time – as specified in an agreement between parties, or in a “contract” one might say.
Since the last couple of decades, economic changes and technology advances have broadened the landscape of career path options. The pendulum has swung from lifelong, one-company career path, toward independent worker type roles. So, if you’re looking into your options, read on for some things to consider.
Sit down. Make yourself comfortable.
Contrary to full-time employment, freelancing and some independent contracting can allow you to work from a remote office; a coffee shop; or consistently from your couch with an outfit that’s business on top, pajamas on bottom. (So I’ve heard). Contracting can mean less bumper-to-bumper commutes brought to you by “profanity” and less smack-happy Dan and his potato-chip filled gums at lunchtime.
Show me the money!
No need to dance-scream to your agent over the phone to get what you want. As a contractor or freelancer, it’s common to just be plain offered up to fifty percent more hourly than the full-time employee sitting across from you. Even balanced against less or no paid time off, employee benefits, etc. You’re still bein’ shown the money; and more of it.
Some independent contractors and freelancers can increase net pay even more by reducing taxes, because it’s possible to claim work-related expenses, thus decrease the amount you owe to Uncle Sam. Again, bottom line: you can just make more money this way. It’s just common cents that adds up. (I’m sorry, I had to).
Being able to work with different variety management styles, programs, processes, and practices on a more regular basis not only keeps things more interesting, it also makes you more marketable to the next hiring manager. Have I worked with program X? Why, yes, I have! When can I start?
Help me help you
Going the non-full-time route gives you the opportunity to work with more people over a shorter amount of time than maybe you might as a full-time employee. The more places you work, the more people you meet, the wider networking net you cast. These opportunities set you up for a future gig or opportunity and a chance to really hone in on what you’re looking to be when you grow up.
Sometimes contracting can be a way to get your foot in the door at a larger company, when it can be difficult at times to even get a toe in the door for an interview. A contracting stint gives both you and your employer a chance to test-drive you as a potential employee. If you prove to be a valuable player and a great fit for the culture. Boom! You’re in.
You had me at hello
Another reason choosing the contractor life makes you more marketable is that hiring companies know you’ve got to be a quick study. Since contract employment can typically last only a finite amount of months, contractors are expected to dive right into the work with a less robust onboarding program than a full-time employee.
Avoid company politics
If you like to keep your drama to reality TV, choosing the freelance or contracting road could lend itself well to staying at arm’s length from company politics. Fewer team meetings, fewer team outings, more head-down-and-work time.
Interested in marketing, creative, or digital contract roles? Or, maybe you’re a freelancer looking for more work? Send your resume to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Katherine is a marketing professional by day, and a content creator by night. She enjoys summers in Minnesota, and anywhere else in the winter. When she’s not writing you can find her exploring new neighborhood hangouts; dressed up at a social event; jogging around Minneapolis lakes; or staring at her phone.