28th March April 2014

Written by Simon Clements

Sometimes, we have to take things in life as they come and turn some not-so-nice situations into opportunities.

In October 2013 I was made redundant from a senior management position in the NHS. I used to head up an Informatics Shared Service supporting 4 customer NHS organisations by the end of my role. It would have been very easy to be bitter however the reality was that the dis-establishment of the three existing Informatics Shared Services in Staffordshire and the establishment of a single service was absolutely the correct thing to do for a variety of reasons. Three into one just doesn’t go for some job roles and so I found myself redundant and actually feeling relief that I now had the opportunity to go out and do something that I had been thinking about for a long time – becoming an informatics contractor.

This opportunity was exciting on many levels as I had always believed that I could be a contractor either doing project/programme management, IT Service Management or anything else that my skills would lend themselves to and believe me, after working in IT in the NHS for quite a number of years I had developed a wide range of skills and experiences even though I may not have realised it at the time.

The beginning of the journey to becoming a contractor was to decide whether to start up my own company or to use an umbrella company. Once this decision had been made it was full steam ahead and my journey began.

I won’t go into all the details of setting up my own company, suffice to say that there is a great deal of information and help on the internet and this should be fully exploited. Suffice to say, setting up a company and getting your own VAT number, business cards and office (home of course) is very exciting and satisfying; it is also very easy and relatively quick to do.

The next and perhaps most worrying part was to secure that first contract however an Agency came to my rescue with a phone call on a Monday afternoon about a possible job role. Long story short… phone call Monday, interview Tuesday, started Friday! For once, everything fell into place so quickly.

I love the role that I’m in and I am meeting some fantastic people and going to places I have never seen before which makes the role very interesting and is something that I would never had the pleasure of doing previously.

There are so many benefits to contracting that I have experienced so far however I’m not so naïve to think that it will always be this easy but long may it last at the moment.

The hardest thing that I have found is not getting involved in the politics of the organisation that I am working in and to keep within the boundaries of the job role rather than bringing the remit of my previous full-time role to contracting. By operating as I would in my previous role I have possibly brought complications to the role but I hope not (this is a whole other story…).

I can fully and completely recommend contracting over working in a permanent position as it really works for me.


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