Tuesday 11 June 2024

Riding the fixed-term gig economy...

Today marks nine months into the one-year contract that I'm in. At this stage, it's an entirely fixed-term contract - though these things often including the phrase 'with the possibility of extension' to their job listings.

I used to only apply for ongoing positions - there are definitely perks to it. Banks are more inclined to give you a loan, secondment opportunities are often only available to those with ongoing roles, and of course there's a feeling of financial security (though it's important to note that 'ongoing' doesn't mean 'permanent' - just ask anybody who's been through a organisational restructure).

I'm currently in my fourth fixed-term contract - each in a different workplace. It's definitely been an interesting time - in all senses of the phrase. And yes, there are also perks to it. Often, these kinds of roles are created by people taking on temporary promotions, and so there's often somebody around to actually hand over the job and stick around to ask questions. Fixed term roles can also be created by special projects, and I quite enjoy project work - especially that feeling of progress toward a goal. It can be so much more satisfying than day-in, day-out operational work. They're also a great opportunity to take a risk and try something that I'm not 100% sure about; if it's not working for me, then I can stick it out for the short term and if a future employer asks me why I left then I can truthfully say that it was a fixed-term contract. And finally, it keeps me honest about my work - I need to keep building and maintaining skills in the knowledge that I'll have to apply for jobs in the near future.

That time has come for me. I generally allow 2-3 months to apply and secure a job (of course, assuming that I'm successful!). Many public service agencies have a requirement that recruitment decisions be made within four weeks of the closing date of applications. However, my experience has been that it takes 6-8 weeks from sending the application to receiving an offer. Then there's 2-4 weeks of notice and preparing a handover for the role.

So, that's 10-12 weeks that it takes to get a new job. With three months until unemployment, it's time to get cracking!

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