NPR devoted a week’s reporting to the rise of contract work. I totally nerded out and listening to EVERY podcast in the series. One significant finding woven in each report is 1 in 5 Americans are contract workers. This trend is predicted to grow within the next few years. In my opinion, contract work is an excellent way for stay-at-home moms to balance their home responsibilities and dip their foot back into the working world. There is a myriad of opportunities that range in the industry, contract length, and location. Contract work is literally the ONLY work type that I haven’t tried as a mom, so I asked my friend Dawn a few questions regarding her experience in contract work. She is a contract counselor at a local non-profit.
In our interview, she recalls the most appealing aspect of the contract position was the flexibility. She remarks, “It feels like the best of both worlds sometimes. I get to see staff at the office, and we get to know each other, so there are rapport and support, but I don’t need to go to staff meetings, and I can pretty much stay on the periphery of workplace drama.” On the parenting front, the flexibility is good too. Dawn says she would recommend this type of contract work to a stay-at-home mom because “it does allow me to be there for my son. I can drop him off and generally pick him up after school. And since I make my own schedule, I am able to volunteer at his school too.” So clearly the flexibility is a huge benefit, but an issue raised in the NPR reports and my conversation with Dawn was the lack of benefits. Dawn states as one of the only dampers on the deal, “...if a client doesn’t show I don’t get paid. If I’m sick, I don’t have paid sick days or paid vacation days. But if I want to take a month off, I can, and I have.” I believe this is a crucial point to consider because, in a mom’s world, sick days happen frequently. Additionally, health benefits are usually not included in contract positions, so if that is a deal breaker for you, I recommend asking about the benefits during the initial correspondence regarding the position. While considering benefits, if you think the contract position is a good fit but they only offer benefits to full-time employers, you could voice your interest in a full-time position and work toward a more consistent schedule and benefits.
If contract work seems appealing to you, popular search engines such as Indeed and Simply Hired have integrated contract toggles under the ‘Job Type’ search. Along with the ease of a focused search, there’s a ton of contract work articles such as which inform you of the highest paying while others can inform you of contract jobs within your field. Look out for more articles about contract work options in the future. If you have more information about contract work and would like to share it with your fellow readers, please use the comments feature below to tell us your story.
HUGE THANKS to Dawn Stary for her contribution to this article.