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Sep 17, 2014 12:00:00 AM · by David Kushan

What About the Second Contract?

Frequently, people looking to get into contracting don’t have a true understanding of what the Health IT marketplace has to offer in terms of money and required travel. It’s very important to have a realistic understanding of these two criteria in order to work consistently. What I see often is someone waiting to leave their full-time job for a contract that will meet their terms. On the surface, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s exactly what you should do.

What you want to make sure of is that the money you’re looking for and the amount of travel you’re comfortable with can be met in 80% of the contracts that are available for your skill set.

So, let me give you an example. Let’s say that, for your skill set, 80% of the contracts available will pay $80/hour W-2, will require you to travel three weeks per month, and are an average length of six months.

You’re happy in a full-time position within a hospital, but you’ll leave if you can get a six-month contract that pays $90/hour W-2 where you have to travel only every other week.

The reality is that “anything is possible,” and when a firm finds you an assignment that meets your criteria, you may take it.

You may be saying, “What’s wrong with that? How is this a problem?” Well, at the time you accept the contract, it’s not. 

The problem you’ll have comes six months down the road, when you’re looking for your next contract and you haven’t worked for five months because it may take that long to find a contract with the same criteria as the first.

I’m not saying that there won’t be times when you can hold out for slightly better terms than normal. But what I am saying is that before you leave your hospital job to get into contracting, be sure you’re comfortable with the terms the market has to offer that will keep you working on a consistent basis. Or at least keep you working often enough to make sure you’re going to meet your yearly financial needs.

You may also like: How to Price Yourself in Health IT Contracting

General, Consulting, Career Planning, David Kushan

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