Life as an engineering contractor comes with its ups and downs. For every stretch away from your family there is a degree of flexibility and a sense of teamwork and camaraderie, all combining to make the life of a contractor particularly unique. It’s a rocky terrain, with many peaks and troughs that only fellow contractors can really understand.
In honour of that most special of bonds, we’ve compiled a list of the 4 things every contractor knows to be true
1. Everyone thinks you have just LOADS of free time
Okay, so you may not necessarily work 9 to 5 and maybe you get two weeks of rest time if you’re working on a rig, and that certainly has its bonuses. That’s what the majority of non-contractors focus on all the time, but it isn’t where the story ends.
Anyone who has worked on an oil and gas rig or on a major construction site knows what a 12 hour shift feels like, or the tedium of not seeing your friends and family for a number of weeks at a time. So yeah, a longer run of time off has its distinct benefits, but hard work and long hours pay for that flexibility.
2. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork
And what do people imagine you’re doing with all that fictional free time you have on your hands? Relaxing with a spot of gardening? Cracking in to that book you’ve been dying to read? Yeah, maybe not. Try a stack of paperwork instead!
If you’re a freelancer you’ll know that there is always paperwork in which significant time must be invested. Whether it’s at the start of a new project, or some nice tax forms to sift through, there are always contracts to be reviewed and assessed. Who would have thought the difference between ‘of services’ and ‘for services’ would become such a key preoccupation?
3. Friends are the family you choose
The experience of freelancing or working as a contractor has the benefit of being able to meet and work with lots of people. The bonus of project based work is the camaraderie that is often established when a group of different personalities are thrown together with one common goal.
If you’re working away on a project, it’s likely you’re going to spend the best part of 24 hours a day, every day, for 2-3 weeks at a time with the same group of people. Meal times, time spent working and leisure time – you’re going to get to know the people around you pretty fast. Sometimes this can highlight annoying habits, but it can also lead to a bond of shared experience that’s hard to break.
4. There’s nothing like a pint at the end of a tough shift
When it comes to the crunch and there’s a looming deadline, a tight turnaround or an emergency task, noses get to the grindstone and the work gets done. That’s what contractors are hired for, to bring their expert skills and specialist knowledge to tough and demanding work.
But one thing all contractors know is that a crisp, cool pint after the hard work is over, whether you’re coming back onshore or you’ve put the finishing touches to a construction job, is a fine reward. There really is nothing like a pint at the end of a tough shift.
Do you agree with our list of list of contracting truths? What parts of your life as a contractor do you absolutely love? And what do you find is often misunderstood? Tell us in the comments below!
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