Canadian Contractor

Steve Maxwell   

The best reason to be a contractor: “The right kind of freedom”

Had a bad day? Wondering why you ever became a contractor? THIS is why.

Being a contractor is probably one of the most challenging ways a person can earn a living. Few ordinary people looking in from the outside realize the skills required and risks involved. There’s no built-in pension at the end of it all, and physical danger is always around the corner. So why do you it? Even if no one asks, having the right answer is important, and I think it comes down to one word. Freedom.

Contracting is the economic equivalent of being Indiana Jones. It’s a swashbuckling occupation where you live by your wits and succeed in direct proportion to how smart you work. If you think of some way to become more efficient, to deliver more value and to negotiate better, you pocket the benefits. That’s pretty attractive to a certain kind of person – just the kind of men and women Canada needs more then ever.

Have you ever thought of the parallels between farming and contracting? The day-to-day details are different, but the motivation is similar. It’s that freedom thing again. The ability to call your own shots in a varied, physical and challenging occupation is attractive in ways that few jobs can match. Some of us will put up with a lot to capture the right kind of freedom.

Of course the freedom you enjoy as a contractor is nothing like the freedom of winning the lottery and never having to work again. But in a world where you and I have to work, and given the way the nanny state is extending further and further beyond its legitimate boundary, life as a contractor is one of the few venues left for people who hate the 9 to 5. Being a contractor means being something of a rebel.

Understanding why you do something is often the necessary foundation for the satisfaction you feel doing it. As a contractor you will have bad days. Sometimes many in a row. You might even seriously regret your career choice from time to time. But in the end, could stepping into someone else’s corporate dream ever really compare to the freedom of being a contractor?


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