Our Insights

Overlooking Contract Work Might Shortchange Your Career

by MindSpring Partners on September 6, 2022 in MindSpring News


Imagine a place where you’re in total control of the projects you take (their length and their scope) as well as where you work and who you work with. As a contractor, this dream world can be your reality!


Contract work is no longer synonymous with last resorts or jobs you take when you can’t find something permanent. Whether you’re well-established in your field or a recent graduate, it’s wise to give contracting roles a chance as you search for jobs in Chicago and beyond.


There’s Lots to Love About Contract Work

Contracting can offer many opportunities, even some that direct hire positions can’t, such as:


  • Providing a change of scenery
  • Allowing you to work remotely
  • Gaining new experience in different fields often
  • Trying a new position without committing to a permanent role
  • Getting your foot in the door with an organization you admire
  • Being paid at a higher rate compared to a direct hire employee


Long-term employees who work at one company for many years may not gain the experience and knowledge a contract employee does by working on numerous assignments in various industries and companies. Leave old stigma behind— with contract work, you have an incredible opportunity to gain a variety of new skills and have more control over your job stipulations.


Ready to own your work schedule and take control of your career? Read on to learn about the exciting opportunities contracting can offer!


What’s Makes Contracting Unique?

Enjoy Increased Job Variety and Flexibility

You’ll have the freedom to choose which projects you want to take on, often setting your own schedule in the process. If you’re the type of person who finds yourself becoming uninspired in your roles after a few months, contracting could give you greater variety at more regular intervals. Provided you’re eligible to work abroad, you may also have the opportunity to work while you travel the world!


Also in a contract role, you’re not often held to a set schedule like a direct hire employee. Contract positions are especially appealing to those who are caregivers, people who are juggling school and work, or those who just want a greater sense of flexibility and work-life balance. You may be required to attend scheduled status meetings, but the rest of your time is within your control.


Gain New Skills and Better Pay Faster

As you hop from company to company, you have the potential to learn something in each role that improves your skillset—be it gaining new knowledge on a specific subject or using different software platforms. With each new project you add to your portfolio, you can quickly increase your pay scale compared to someone following a traditional permanent career path.


Opportunity to Build a Large Network

Also, by choosing which projects you accept and which companies you work for, you can gain a wide range of experience across different industries or opt to cultivate one specific niche within your chosen field. You’ll inevitably build a network of connections across different disciplines, which may ultimately lead you to future assignments.


What’s the Difference Between a W-2 and 1099 Contractor?

Though sometimes the term “contractor” is used interchangeably to describe both 1099 independent contractors and W-2 contractors, the two positions are quite different. A contract worker can also be a W-2 employee, just like a direct hire employee.


While it might sound ideal to be your own boss, being a 1099 independent contractor typically puts Medicare, social security, overtime, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, and various employee benefits contributions on your shoulders. You become responsible for navigating your taxes and withholdings.


As a W-2 contractor, only the employee portion of FICA taxes comes out of your wages. Self-employed individuals will owe more in taxes at the end of the year since they must pay both the employer and employee portions of payroll taxes.


Not to mention, 1099s who work without the help of a staffing firm must negotiate their own pay rates, requiring them to be more assertive and keener on market rates. By working with a staffing agency as a W-2 contractor, they will handle your payroll taxes and pay negotiation— no matter your contract type.


The upside to independent contracting is, like W-2 contracting, you have the freedom to choose when, where, and with whom you work. However, these jobs lack benefit offerings, and you’ll likely have to use your own equipment and supplies to complete your work if you choose not to partner with a recruiting firm.


Benefits of Contracting Through a Staffing Firm

To avoid the hassle of searching for roles independently and all of the other headache that comes with being an independent contractor, many professionals opt to work with a staffing firm like MindSpring on a contract basis under the direction of the staffing firm’s clients.


Contractors are hired for a predetermined or estimated amount of time to complete a specific project for the client company, often with the potential for extension. Unlike direct hire employees, who may end up doing work outside their job description, as a contractor you will have a clear role and set of responsibilities.


The best part about contracting with MindSpring is a team of industry experts will handle the contract search for you— and in the current job market, there’s no shortage of jobs to evaluate and weigh. With this additional freedom, you’ll be able to spend time on what really matters— your current projects and your life off the clock— instead of worrying about the details of your career’s future.


Your recruiter will be aware of your current project’s end date, and they will proactively partner with you as you begin interviewing for subsequent roles with other clients. And you don’t have to sneak away to interview! Since clients also know when your role is ending, they’re often understanding about you taking virtual or face-to-face interviews when your job is wrapping up.


Now Is a Great Time to Try Something New

Contracting can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never experienced it before. But there’s no need to be afraid of transitioning into a contract role, especially if you have an in-demand skillset. Most companies treat their contractors just like their internal employees. If there are company gatherings or team building activities, contractors are included in these events as valuable members of the team. If you’re on-site, you can expect perks like snacks, free lunches, happy hours, and all of the other amenities a direct hire employee at your company receives.


Contract work is a viable way to earn a great wage, have more time to do what you love in your free time, and gain experience working with different companies and in various positions. Look at contract work with an open mind; you might be surprised by all the exciting opportunities within your reach!


No matter what type of job you’re searching for, MindSpring can help. Reach out to our team today, and a MindSpring recruiter will match you with opportunities that fit your goals.