What I’ve found, over the years, is that there are two types of contractors: “Get a Job” Contractor (GAJC) & “Build a Practice” Contractor (BAPC).
“Get a Job” Contractor
When this type of contractor is looking for their next contract, dollar amount and travel convenience are their top priorities. The more money being paid and the less travel required, the better. This person gives little thought to the type of work or project. They fail to consider how this project will either increase or decrease their marketability for the next project.
“Build a Practice” Contractor
Like the “Get a Job” contractor, everyone is looking for convenience. The difference is that the “Build a Practice” contractor, even though he or she is very much a contractor, is focused on career management. “Build a Practice” contractors realize that in six months to a year, they’re going to be competing for their next contract. They realize that each contract they take is building a portfolio of work that shapes how the next potential client will evaluate them. So, whereas the GAJC may start with dollar amount and travel requirements, the BAPC starts with evaluating the type of work and how this next project, once completed, will make them stand out as an industry specialist. They put themselves in the position of interviewing for projects that will enhance their portfolio of work so that they become known in the marketplace as a specialist in their niche.
In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with a GAJC. When getting into contracting, some people are looking to increase their income and nothing more. To them, the travel is a trade-off for the additional income. So, if they can increase their income while keeping the travel to an absolute minimum, that’s what they’re going to do every time.
The only downside is this: In a market like ours today — more jobs than people — you can get away with this type of mentality a lot easier than when the market cools off. Today, companies are settling for people for whom they will not have to settle when the market shifts.
When the market cools off, the people who perceive themselves as a business practice and have built a portfolio of successful projects in a niche space will be the ones who have long-term consulting careers in the Healthcare IT marketplace.
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