By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-09-29 Print this article Print

. Crave Flexibility, Independence "> 1. Youve Got to Crave Flexibility and Independence IT contract work is, in essence, about being available to fill whatever technical gap your clients are suffering, and rotating between multiple clients. Odds are that a contractor wont be doing the same exact work from month to month or year to year. Yet, not every worker with the requisite skills thrives in this environment. "This is not for people who dont adapt well to change. Youve got to be interested in researching new ideas," Robert Abate, principal at RCG Information Technology, an Edison, N.J., IT services provider, told eWEEK.
Others flourish under a range of challenges, responding well to change, pressure and even worries about when theyll nail down their next gig.
"I like that I constantly face new challenges. Youve got to have a personality that thrives on pressure or difficult situations, that enjoys the challenge of meeting new customers," said Abate. How do you know if you should jump ship? Here are six reasons. One of the biggest, most glaringly obvious differences between a corporate office job and independent contracting is socialization, as independent contractors spend a significant time working stag. "Probably the single biggest thing with being a solo practitioner is that you dont have a staff. You dont have other colleagues around. Even though I belong to several different networking groups, its not the same as water cooler chat," said Trochlil. The type of individual who gets antsy without water cooler chat is prone to lose focus after long hours on their own. "Theres an aspect of isolation, especially among consultants that work out of their house. Often, theyre not exposed enough to new markets and good ideas [because theyre] not interacting with a lot of companies," Matthew Moran, an IT consultant and author of Turning Technology Into Solutions and The IT Career Builders Toolkit told eWEEK. Without a boss or corporation telling people where theyre needed and when their work is complete, many contract workers natural tendencies toward becoming workaholics cause them to lose track of the balance between their lives inside and outside the office. "One of the downsides is work-life separation, as work will creep in and take over your life. Conversely, and especially when you work from home, things from your everyday life can reach in and take over. You need to have good structure," Ted Demopoulos, speaker, author and principal of Durham, N.H.-based IT consulting firm Demopoulos Associates, told eWEEK. On the flipside, its important to understand the difference between downtime and time off. "When you finish a job, it may seem like you have some time off, but its more like downtime. If youve got a week or two before something starts up again, this is a great time to get things done and network," said Demopoulos. If keeping your work momentum going, even when no work is coming in, is a problem, this too will be an issue when running a consulting practice. "Personalities count. You cant have too high a need for social interactions. Not all successful people can be successful consultants, and the big reason for that is some people are just not self-starters. They dont maintain momentum without external stimuli," said Demopoulos. Next Page: 2. Youve got to be comfortable in the role of a marketer.


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