Thursday, February 5, 2009

Contracting and Optimizing your time Part 5

Hi All, 

Welcome back to the 5th installment in working in a contracting position, and discovering the bes ways to optimise your time. This weeks section is on interacting with other people in the workplace and what they expect of you. What does this entail? You have been given the contract position, you have been given a pay rate and you have been asked to come into an office to work. What happens the first day? Before I delve into what usually happens on the first day, let's look at some examples that I have personally experienced :

1. Given a specification document, given a computer and told "Ok, Finish It".
2. Not given any specification document, NOT given a computer and not given any direction. (Be wary of these).
3. Team meeting to discuss the project and my role within it.

These situations are typical, but predominantly, the later will be the most common of them all. Within the first day I have usually been given/done the following :

 - Specification Document
 - Introduced to the team and their specific roles
 - Given a computer and told to install my own environment (Visual Studios, SQL Server Client Tools - and don't forget your 3rd Party Tools)
 - Asked to read through the specification document and spot flaws and problems etc.

Then there are the things you just don't think about.....

 - Wearing the right attire to work. Believe it or not, your first impression is not judged a lot on your skills on the first is your attire. Now, if you are like me, I have always worked in positions where there has been a very casual take on dress code. However, for the odd contract that I have done that has required business attire, man, you better make sure you dress right.
 - Organising your paper work. If you are like me, you have an ABN that pays PAYG, GST etc, and liability insurance, so if you ever really screw something up, you are covered. Don't forget, that on the first day, they will expect you to have it. Not only does it make you get paid sooner, it looks disorganised and lazy if you don't have the expected paper trail.

In summary, expect the first day to be a little laid back, work-wise, but pretty full on, organisation-wise. Don't expect people to come down on your XXXX skills, because to be honest, they haven't seen anything yet. As a side note, there is what I would like to think of as a myth, that full time workers don't really like contractors. Sometimes you will get people who will start quizzing you on things they know but think that you might not. Bottom line, if you know what you are doing, you will be able to respond promptly which will inturn, hopefully, earn you the respect of your fellow workers. On the other hand, if you are not totally confident with the "quiz" then simply act enthuisiastic and ask them questions like "oh...that sounds great, can you show me?"

Hope this helps, 

 - Tim


BennyHans said...

This really helped my as I just started a contracting position and it was my first one.

Michael R said...

Awesome! Some awesome tips! You have basically summed up some of the experiences that I have had, but never really known how to tackle them. Thanks, Mike.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the next one.