In this article Vicki Carolan dispells myths and provides insight into transitioning from Permanent to Contingent Labour.
Two years ago I found myself in a foreign position, for the first time since I was 18 years old I was unemployed. Although scared I made the decision to leave an environment that was not encouraging my potential. It was a good feeling to leave but at the same time the creature comfort in me was in need of some surety and security.
After a month of personal time I found out that my fiancé and I were expecting our first child. This was obviously a fantastic surprise but added further fear to my unemployment situation. I started working for my fiancé in an administrative capacity but we needed something that would pay for our up and coming nuptials, the bills that kept piling up and help set us up for our impending family.
With my tummy growing very quickly and out growing my business clothes I set out looking for a job and the several interviews that come with job hunting. I was having brilliant phone interviews and I was starting to feel very positive about landing a role. I decided not to tell them I was pregnant over the phone as I was applying for contract roles and my pregnancy would not hinder my ability to see out the contract. As soon as I was greeted in reception for the interview, the person I met with would look at my stomach and the smile on their face would very quickly turn into a look of disappointment. Suffice to say the interview generally ended with “perhaps we could touch base after you have had your baby and see what’s available then”.
I can’t say I was overly surprised by the reaction. I didn’t expect that they should feel obliged to hire me because I was pregnant; I guess I thought I had something valuable to offer and that was more important.
I was approached for a role in the same industry I previously worked in… Funnily enough it is the Contractor Management industry. A work mode I was somewhat scared of as I enjoy the security of permanency. At first I was reluctant to continue in the same industry I was in, however my fiancé and I really needed to increase the diminishing funds in our bank account, so I agreed to meet with the Director and Owner of the company. After openly explaining that I only had a 3 month period before we had a baby due I couldn’t believe it when I heard “that’s not a problem at all”…
During the meeting I was so impressed with the easy going nature of the person I was meeting with. There was a real willingness to offer a flexible work arrangement that best suited me and my needs. He wanted my knowledge and skills in the business and was happy to work around the bump (so to speak). It was refreshing to meet with someone in the Contractor Management industry who actually practised what they preached. I was not only comfortable about moving forward with the opportunity, I was actually excited!
A week later I was working with PayPartners, a progressive, supportive and flexible place to work. Two Years, a wedding, a baby girl and maternity leave later, I am still working with PayPartners as a contingent worker and I couldn’t be happier. Not once have I felt insecure about working on a contracted basis. In fact, I feel more secure than I have in the past. The difference? I have the support of people who embrace flexibility and truly value the skills and knowledge I bring to the table.
My advice, embrace flexible work arrangements... It might be the best decision you ever make!