By concentrating full time on a job I truly enjoy, my overall salary has increased roughly 10%, and I’ve since branched out by writing for other sites and even appeared on “Good Morning America.” Despite these high points, I do miss certain aspects of my old job, like my coworkers and the joint sense of purpose that traditional employment can bring.
A recent episode of MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” focused on the changing face of America’s workers. They stated that a third of the country is considered “contingent workers,” meaning temp, part-time or contract employees. These workers, they argued, don’t receive the same commitment or support from their companies. One guest even called this growing trend “an inconvenient truth.” They looked at contract work like a problem that needed to be addressed.
In many ways, they had great points. My employers don’t owe me more than a month’s notice before terminating my contract. They don’t pay into my retirement or invest into my training. I’m not a part of their company. But none of that takes away from the work that I do.
As a contract worker, I know that I can demand a higher cost than I would as a salaried employee because I’m still cheaper than someone who needs office space and health care. I know that I can juggle multiple employers at once, and that I can manage my time for them in whatever way fits my life best. Once I figured out how to plan my own tax payments and retirement savings, it was just a matter of having the fiscal control to follow through.
It’s not always simple, but the payoff is a job that I love and work-life balance that would never be possible in a traditional work arrangement. In the end, it wasn’t all about passion and paychecks. However, I realized that if you have the two, it only takes a little more effort to figure out everything else.
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Lindsay Cross is a former data-analyst-turned-writer who is now an associate editor at Mommyish.