Why contractors should think twice about following the money

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The ability to pick and choose assignments is just one of the many benefits contractors enjoy. The freedom to take control of your own destiny is usually a key reason for ditching permanent employment, as workers don’t want to feel trapped in the same routine.

As a contractor, you may find that from time to time you get the opportunity to secure more work while you’re on assignment elsewhere. Unless you’re able to complete both tasks to a high standard simultaneously, you’re going to have to decide between accepting the new offer and seeing out the remainder of your current contract.

This can be a particularly difficult decision, especially if the new role offers a greater rate of pay. So what should you do? Here are our top three tips:

Be careful not to burn bridges

As a contractor, cultivating a good reputation is key to securing a constant stream of assignments. If you create a name for yourself as somebody that flits between projects, you are unlikely to see many offers come your way in the future.

Leaving your current assignment early could also put you in breach of contract. This may leave you vulnerable to penalties from your agency and/or client.

Another important point to remember is that satisfied clients will naturally be more willing to take you on for repeat assignments. Deciding to leave early will undoubtedly cut you off from this opportunity, meaning you could miss out on lucrative deals further down the line.

Try To Negotitate

If you have been specifically head-hunted for the new role, the chances are that the client would be willing to wait a bit longer to secure your services. Be open and honest with them and try to negotiate a start date after your current assignment finishes.

This would not only keep both clients happy, but could even enhance your reputation with the new company – as it shows you can be trusted to see an assignment through to the bitter end.

Another option is to take a look at your progress with the current project. If you are running ahead of schedule, or believe you can finish the assignment before the specified end date, try negotiating an early release with your client. This is provided the work is completed to the best possible standard.

You win some, you lose some

As stated earlier, one of the many perks of contracting is having a constant stream of opportunities. If you therefore find that you have to turn down the new assignment, try not to be disheartened.

Businesses are increasingly turning to contractors to gain short term access to key skills, and as a way of coping with the talent drought. This means you should never be short of opportunities. Indeed, if you see out the remainder of your current assignment, you may find that your next project is even more lucrative than the one you had to give up.

What’s more, the client you had to turn down may respect your honesty and keep you in mind for future projects.

Have your say

Are you a contractor? Have you ever found yourself in this situation? What did you do? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.