Working for a small, private software consultancy meant busy patches were all about juggling multiple client implementations or upgrades - while quiet times were filled with boring, ‘rainy day’ tasks.
I was well-supported where I was and had extensive exposure to all possible aspects of my role. However, after six years, I was beginning to realise that my preference was to focus on one piece of work at a time and that I’d rather use my downtime to plan my next overseas adventure!
Conversations with friends and colleagues who’d already made the leap encouraged me to do the maths and I figured out that I could safely work for half the year and remain on my current, comfortable income.
I could, effectively, buy myself time. I saw myself taking 3 months of the year off – for travel and family – with any extra earnings put aside to fund the fun times*!
I’m still working on curbing my anxiety when I’ve opted to take months off in one go, and I’ll truly be living the dream when I never have to interview again…
- Do the maths. Work out the rate that you’re willing to accept for the period of time you’re willing to work.
- The best advice I received was to have 3 months ‘salary’ tucked away at any time. This was delivered as the safety-net when a contract goes sour or work has dried up. For me, this has meant that I can operate from a position of integrity – I don’t need to stay in a contract if I no longer feel I can contribute value to the organisation.
- Work out what suits your personality and always re-evaluate! I’ve opted for shorter stints. Three and four month terms almost always ensure one clear deliverable. However, I can see this won’t be sustainable long-term as there’s a certain degree of intensity that comes with short-term contracts. Check in with yourself and trust your gut!
*so far, so good! Since I began contracting two years ago, I’ve taken trips to Laos, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Hong Kong, Fiji, and Borneo with stopovers in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Shanghai and closer-to-home excursions that include Ohakune, Auckland, New Plymouth, Otorohanga, Dunedin, Banks Peninsula, Napier, Paihia, and Hamilton.