Connecting...

Meet Harriet!

29 Mar 12:00 by Esmé James

Connect Careers - Life of a contractor series

Meet Harriet.

Harriet is a Marketing and Communications contractor, working for an organisation that helps disabled individuals improve their mobility, tech assess, employment opportunities and other vital life skills. 

Harriet’s jobs and responsibilities within the organisation are far reaching. “As I work for two separate departments,” she states, “I do a variety of things in any given week.” 

As part of her work with the marketing department, Harriet helps to brainstorm new ideas for the organisation, deal with collateral and research. With the communications department, Harriet runs a radio show, where she is able to create topics of conversation and find guests to volunteer.

However, the majority of her time is spent contributing to some of the organisations social media platforms. “This is also sort of a passion project, as the page is about dogs — my obsession!”

As Harriet works as a contractor, she is able to undertake this work whilst also working two other jobs and studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. Without the flexible structure of contract employment, it would not have been possible for Harriet to juggle these four commitments.

 It is not only Harriet’s professional life that has benefited from this level flexibility in the workplace; she has been able to “fund [her] personal projects and hobbies without as much commitment.” Many ambitious individuals utilise contract employment as a means to ensure their continued pursuit of individual goals, tailoring their work in order to improve certain skills and talents.  In Harriet’s case, her work with the organisation’s social media accounts has enabled her to continue developing her photography skills, and gain a greater understanding of how to reach and engage an audience on these social platforms. 

“It's great because this job means I’m getting practical skills and I’m resume building for a future career in marketing and communications.” 

The temporary nature of Harriet’s employment has been of great benefit to her young lifestyle. As her current contract only lasts for a year, the reality of entering into the workforce became far less daunting, as she was not locked into a long-term contract if she found the work unenjoyable. The option of leaving is always available to her, if her situation changes, without any negative pressure or consequences. 

“It means that, although I am happy in the work I do, if I'm not or I want to do something different, it can be amiable.”

Anything longer than her contracts current length would have interfered with her current commitments and immediate future plans. “It wouldn't necessarily be feasible for my employer to hire me ongoing,” Harriet states, “and I couldn't commit to many years, so it actually just enables me to so this job.”

As a result, Harriet is able to gain vital professional experience, whilst also maintaining her studies. As a student, Harriet believes that it is important to get a range of practical experience from outside of her degree. She feels extremely fortunate to have been able to work and gain pragmatic knowledge within her chosen field before she has even graduated. 

“The job makes my resume look so much better and gives me that competitive edge when applying for a graduate position which is exciting.”

Additionally, unlike other potential forms of employment, contracting will not prevent Harriet from also pressing her dreams of traveling. 

“I’ve left myself open to the possibility of moving around and travelling once I've finished [the contact]. It's not like I'm bound for some permanent role.”

At present, Harriet is hoping for her contract to be extending, as she is finding her work so fulfilling and enjoyable. Even if these hopes are satisfied, she recognises that her wishes to travel will still not be averted.

“It’s not a turn off for employers that I will go on holiday, unlike other forms of employment.” 

The flexibility inherent to contract employment means that it is possible for workers to decide when they will work and where they will work from. Often, it is possible for contractors to continue working from abroad, telecommunicating into workplace and independently completing assigned projects. Such options may be open to Harriet’s work managing the organisation’s social media accounts, enabling her to continue to earn a steady wage and gain professional experience, whilst also fulfilling her lifelong traveling dreams.

Ultimately, Harriet’s first experience with contracting has been highly positive. She is extremely satisfied with the doors it has opened up for her, both personally and professionally, and is eager to see where her accumulated experience will take her in the future.