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Contracting Spotlight: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

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We all have our fears. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. But what it's really all about is what comes next…how we overcome them, chase our passions and really push ourselves outside our comfort zone. Before I get into it, let’s start with one of mine. Last year, I began going on some walks with one goal in mind: completing a hike! The thought of not being able to do it scared me a bit – it’s safe to say that a hike was way outside my comfort zone. Now, the photo is a bit of a giveaway but I did it. A 10-hour long hike up Mount Taranaki…these views being the reward for challenging myself and giving it a go. 

This whole experience really got me thinking about the people I chat with every day (for those that don’t know, I work in the contracting space). Of course, we all know that contracting comes with a bit of risk and for a lot of people, especially those who haven’t been a contractor before, it involves taking a chance on yourself for potentially much larger rewards. The most common fear people talk to me about is job security. Fair enough...we all have bills to pay and families to look after. But if Covid-19 has taught us anything, there isn’t really such a thing as a permanent job anymore. After all, we're only one pandemic away from being out of a job. 

Maybe you’re struggling with the mindset shift. Or perhaps you just can’t get out of your comfort zone. Either way, here’s what you can do as you enter the world of contracting:

Trust your gut 

There might not be any science behind it, but we’ve all been there. Maybe it’s a job offer that doesn’t sit right, but you can’t put your finger on why. Whatever the situation, you’ve got to trust your gut. It often only comes when you meet the people, rather than the domain or project. If I think back to before I joined Potentia, I had no plans of working in agency recruitment again but after meeting Guy, Sam and the team, my gut told me that it was the right call. 

It’s all about relationships

New Zealand’s markets are small and everyone seems to know everyone. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 3, 6 or 12 month contract, think about the mark you are leaving. What I’m getting at is the relationships you develop along the way are a massive factor in the contracting space. Have you hit the ground running? Have you left the organisation in a better place than you started? Have you over-delivered? It’s these sorts of things that will leave a lasting impression with people. 

Realising your capabilities

When provided with the right tools and information, and insight into our real capabilities, we can achieve amazing things. For contractors, it’s all about capability…the expectations are high because your job is to come in and hit the ground running. It’s part of the reason why contract rates are what they are. I was chatting to someone last week (a Lead BA), who had become the ‘go-to’ person in several domains outside of his wheelhouse. That’s the thing about contracting. The nature of it means you work in diverse environments, regularly being exposed to new interfaces, applications and other tech. Over time, the different challenges and domains you’re exposed to all add up – driving you to do more and multitask across a number of different areas.

Whether it’s climbing a mountain, taking on the switch to contracting or anything else you are looking to tackle in 2022, the message is the same. If you’re passionate about it, you will find a way. Embrace your fears, rise above them and the rest will take care of itself. And of course, if you’re keen to have a more in-depth chat about Auckland’s tech contracting space, drop me a message.