Categorized | alan's blog

Freelancers flex their muscles

Freelancers flex their muscles

I see PCG have launched an advertising campaign in the national press (well, bits of it anyway) promoting the value of the freelance worker to the business community.

Speaking as a freelance I would say that this is a case of stating the bleedin’ obvious, but if you look a little deeper, it may not be.

The problem is that most businesses still see people like me as temporary employees, a bum-on-seat who is there to fill in a role for a while then disappear. Well I hate to disillusion you but I’m not. I’m highly experienced in my field, I’ve worked for a range of companies and I can add real value, which is what you want and rightly expect me to provide, but I am not a “temp” in any sense of the word. I’m a supplier who just happens to sell knowledge instead of photocopiers.

This perception has largely come about from the way most agencies – and certainly the big corporate ones – sell me to their (and my) clients. Invariably I am represented as one of their resources who will work for them under an employee-like contract with a few nods to the IR35 rules. Equally invariably the engagement is managed through the dead hand of HR instead of Procurement, further reinforcing the impression of temp employee. Plus, of course, there isn’t an agency in the country that doesn’t sell my services in handy three months chunks, regardless of how long it will take me actually to do the job in hand (in the current case, around five months, but that doesn’t fit the agency model…)

So well done PCG for raising the issue. And it must have paid off because I saw their Deputy Chairman on the main news yesterday, talking about life as a freelance in the current economic climate.

Meanwhile, interesting times at my client as well. There’s a major new contract being finalised. We thought it was all sorted then at the last minute we get a call from the supplier saying some terms weren’t acceptable and shouldn’t have been offered so can we renegotiate please – like we had a lot of choice. Anyway we have got it back on track again, but I’m sitting in the bar last night with a large glass of Shiraz wondering just when did I sign up to having to make go/no-go decisions on multi-million pound contracts. After all, I’m only a temp…

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Image: My Sister Could Kick Your Butt! by HckySo

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