Why I Like Being an Independent Consultant
Not to sound immodest, but one of my biggest flaws when it comes to the business world is that I’m too nice. Too many times I’ve been told “Gabi, you are too nice!” My clients over the years (including the “internal clients” I had at my old job) found that niceness to be in their favor. However on more than one occasion my “niceness” has been misinterpreted/misunderstood by folks who, while outwardly appearing very nice, apparently harbored deep insecurities about either their skills or job in general. Without going into any specifics let’s just say I’ve found myself on the receiving end of such insecurities by being manipulated and/or lied to, and on more than one occasion I found myself having to defend myself of false accusations. A few times I was out right fired due to such false accusations – all because someone felt threatened by nice little old me (many times the truths came out well after the fact, but as truths are wont to do, they do eventually come out).
At the end of the day, all I ever have tried to do is do my job, to the best of my abilities. I work hard, I enjoy what I do, and I try to make sure I do it well. That’s all. I am not busy scheming how to steal someone else’s job (even if that’s all they ever spend their time on, and somehow think that’s all I ever do as well). I guess some people just can’t understand it when some people act nice, they actually mean it.
So when I started to work independently, I finally found myself in a situation where I no longer had to “watch my back” for such silly machinations. For 2.5 years now I have worked in blissful peace – doing what I do best – and doing the best job I can doing it. My first priority are the needs of my clients, just as they always have been, and for the first time there is no one around to feel threatened by me. This makes for a much lower-stress existence for me and why I am extremely reluctant to even consider any potential full-time positions.
I’ll admit – I have turned down several very tempting potential full-time, senior positions over the past year. Each one would have been a great career opportunity. However I’ve played the company/corporate game once too often, and lost more often than I care to admit. I am in no hurry to play that political game again. Independence really has brought me a greater sense of peace than I ever imagined. Right now this gig is working for me just fine, and I plan to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.