Working as an independent contractor in the finance world is an excellent way for you to gain flexibility, enjoy a variety of work and expand your professional network. Each year more and more finance professionals join the ranks for independent contractors and are better able to manage their work-life balance.
Conventional job wisdom for finance professionals is to get in the door at a company and land a staff spot. But there are increasing numbers who work for themselves as independent contractors. The benefits are flexibility, an ever-changing workplace and a sense of personal control.
Each year brings more demand for independent contractors.
"I've been placing senior level contractors for 10 years, and the level has been growing every year," says Jennifer Carlson, division director of Robert Half Management Resources in Bloomington.
Pros And Cons
Working as a contractor has its appeal because of the flexibility the position affords. If you don't want to work during the summer, you don't have to. Further, you're paid for the hours you work, not based on a salary.
This type of work also gives you an opportunity to work varied positions, so you always get something new. You get the opportunity to expand your professional network.
On the downside, you only get paid for the hours you work, so if you work shorter hours, you get paid less. Also, you might have to make a longer commute, and the work might not be challenging enough.
For Lisa Mehsikomer, the benefit has been a change of pace. She has been a contractor for the past two and a half years, and prior to that worked in the same job at Target for 10 years. Contracting has given her a chance to do something different with her career.
"It's a great opportunity to do different things," says Mehsikomer. "For the longest time I just had one thing on my résumé.
Still Work Out There
Although the economy is in rough shape, contractors are still finding work; it just takes a little longer between jobs.
"As the economy has tightened up, it's taken longer between engagements," notes Mehsikomer.
Opportunities exist for all levels of financial professionals - from entry-level workers to CFOs.
Mehsikomer recommends making sure contracting is the right work for you.
It's easy enough to get started. Carlson recommends registering with a firm and letting your network know that you are contracting.
Ultimately, the work is out there and it can provide you with flexibility and control over your career.
"Good contractors get a lot of job offers," observes Carlson.