Saturday 9 October 2021

I make no apology

Angry about contractors?

Attending a broader departmental meeting yesterday morning, someone anonymously posted a message in the Q&A section of the presentation with the following premise. That the agency had hired contractors at highly inflated salaries who worked less and had no responsibilities thereby leaving the agency hamstrung on recruiting actual staff.

Many were in agreement with the comment, but it was one viewpoint that could not be left to slide. I have been contracting since 1995, in fact, I was persuaded to go contracting my then CIO who felt that there would never be full utilisation of my wealth of knowledge, and I would easily be frustrated in a permanent role.

For the season, for a reason

In all the years of my being a contractor, I have felt no less equal to the task along with feeling an integral member of the teams I worked in. To address the comment, I wrote, “Contractors are actual staff, albeit temporary, they have been engaged by the agency to help fulfil the goals being discussed the in the conference and that it was quite unhelpful to create an us-and-them situation where we should be banding together.” Soon, I had more agreeing with me than those who did with the original posting.

Contractors get a bad rap, usually through no fault of their own apart from the few rouge ones. We are paid competitively negotiated market rates which might seem high, but we fundamentally cost less in administration, overheads, and management, whilst bringing in skill, expertise, and other perspectives.

We do not have the employment benefits of permanent staff along with burdening the employers with fiduciary requirements by law and other statutes. The arrangements are neat, allowing for clean breaks by mutual and individual arrangement. The establishment so easily terminates the contract as they can renew or recall after a break of working there.

No apologies, none at all

As per my own experience, I am there to contribute and regardless of the tendency to differentiate staff status, many industries need all kinds of staff and everything is down to need, skill, experience, demand, negotiation, and the ability to get involved with the people you work with.

Now, if anyone thinks contractors are paid too much, in a free enterprise world they can also decide to become contractors rather than chafe at the choices of others on the one hand and the market requirements that create the need for such personnel on the other hand. What I will not brook is the denigration of contractors, nor would I apologise for being a contractor. So there!

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