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Contracting

I've not used this space to talk about what I do for a living before, so I think today is a good day to tell you a bit about that.

I'm a Software Engineer, working mainly as a Java/J2EE programmer/analyst.  I'm also a contractor, which means I get to switch jobs every 3-6 months.  There are many good and bad things about this arrangement.

First the good:

  1. The pay is certainly better.  I earn more in a week, than I would earn as a permanent in 3.  Maybe even more, depending on the rate.  
  2. I get to work on something different every few months.  No endless maintenance!
  3. Less office politics.  I don't have to care if Eric's not talking to Lucy because she said he was incompetent. Or smells bad (this happens in every office).
But there are downsides
  1. If I don't work, I don't get paid.  So : holidays, sick leave, bereavement, paternity and anything else - no pay.
  2. Interviews every few months.  Jeese, I'm sick of interviews.  I get hired one in every three interviews (about) and it's bad for the soul being rejected five or six times a year.  
  3. Time between contracts can be long.  I'm currently "Between Contacts" (which is a polite way to say "unemployed") and although we can probably stretch a bit longer, it's a worry when you don't know where your next rent money is coming from.
  4. Tax.  I am terrible with this sort of thing.  We have an accountant who looks after it for us, but there's still lots of stuff I need to look after and to be honest, it's a pain in the ass.
I guess it'll be OK in the end.  The market is starting to recover, and I've had several calls from agencies this past few weeks. That's a pretty good sign that the christmas drought is finally ending. 




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