(So much for good intentions. This sat in my Drafts folder on here for almost six weeks!)
I’m a self-employed contractor. I don’t have an “Employer”, I have a “Client”. Today I decided to leave that client and take on a new one.
I’m not an employee. I don’t have to do all that tiresome “performance management” stuff that employees have to do, because I’m a contractor. I don’t get holiday days or sick days or employment benefits of any kind unless I pay them to myself from my own company.
So why do I feel so guilty?
My current client is a large, high-street brand name with a significant digital presence. They’re probably not the best at what they do, but they’re good. Customers seem to love our work. The client looks good on my CV (contractors still need CVs, just like employees).
So why am I leaving?
I’m leaving because, in my current client’s organisation, everything is hard. I’m not one for whining. I’m not having a go. It’s not that the team, the department, the project or any of the things that cause many people to become disgruntled and leave organisations.
It’s because Everything is hard.
Not “some things are harder than they should be.” Not “this thing I’ve been trying to do for ages has continued to be impossible because of stupid reason X.” Everything I’ve set out to deliver over the past two years, I’ve delivered. More than half of it on time. More than half of it with quality far higher than the norm for the environment. But every little thing, every step of the way, is hard.
Everything you want to achieve requires significant effort, buy-in from stakeholders, process, paperwork, approvals galore, obscure regulations that you didn’t follow because nobody ever mentioned they exist, entire processes that have remained undocumented for YEARS, including “Deployment into production”, which run differently every release cycle because there is literally NOTHING written down and the “right” way to do something depends on which member of the deployment team you ask, a separate entire function called “DevOps”, who are neither developers (with the power to change or test code) or Ops (with the power to investigate and correct operational issues), I could type all night.
I come from an Agile background. I’ve had years of experience Inspecting and Adapting. On my CV, right near the top, it says “I like to fix broken stuff.” I’ve spent two years mashing my face against the bare brick walls of “because that’s how we’ve always done it” or my favourite from a divisional COO recently “do as I say, not as I do” and it’s time to stop.
Time to walk away. Time to remind myself that they’re not my Employer. They’re my client. They pay me money to do stuff for them, and if I don’t want to put up with this, I don’t have to. They don’t own me. I don’t have to give three months’ notice and slog on to the bitter end. I’m a contractor. My notice period is twenty-eight days. Four short weeks.
On Monday, I have an appointment to tell my Assignment Manager that the clock has started ticking.