Jumping Ship… or Walking the Plank?

Posted on June 2017 By Chris Oughton
Jumping Ship… or Walking the Plank?

​Picture it. You’ve landed the ideal contract. It pays a good daily rate, and the project seems to be a fairly stable, long term one. It even looks like the role will upskill you. Happy days, right?

After a month or so, you begin to hear whispers within your network that the market is ‘pretty busy’ out there. Companies are looking for people like you!! But you pay these whispers no heed. Why would you? You have a great role paying market rate with months left to go on your current contract. Happy days!

But then, the phone rings. It’s someone wanting to speak with you regarding a role… a role that is MADE for you, they say. It’s paying ABOVE the daily market rate. It’s an anticipated 2-3 year project that will give you exposure to the latest and most sought-after modules…

So you take the plunge. You jump ship on your current contract. And happy days… right?

Bigger, better… and bitter.

Let’s stop just here and reflect on what the potential repercussions of taking this approach might be. Let’s look at it from the client’s point of view for just one moment. All those hours, the days and months spent working together with you and coming up with strategies… it all appears in vain now, and the project has a ‘you-shaped’ hole in it.

As a contractor, sure, you’ve moved onto ‘bigger and better’ things. But for the client, there is a bitter taste left. They now need to go through the process of rehiring someone, and taking the time to get them up to speed. What’s more, they have a long memory. Perhaps you’ve left them feeling like contractors simply aren’t trustworthy, now they’ve been burned.

In fact, you may have just made it more difficult for your peers and your network to find work, as the client’s message spreads across the market.

It’s a small world after all

Think about the market and the network. SAP is an incredibly small world. Many people know each other. What might be shared around about you with your network if you jumped ship on your contract? And however great your new contract might be, it’s not going to last forever.

Remember – that client you burned has a long memory. The time will come where you need to cast your net out to your market once more to help you secure that next gig. What if, suddenly, you find the people you’re reaching out to reluctant to help?

And there’s the agency too. Again, picture it: a client has two perfectly suitable candidates to choose from. Both interviewed really well, and the client is finding it hard to differentiate between them. Understandably, the client turns to the agency for advice. Who do you think the agency is going to back 100%?

To market to market…

It’s really about making a choice. And sure, it’s not always an easy one to make when that dream project comes around half-way through your current role. But do you want to be known as a candidate that finishes their contracts no matter what, or someone who is prone to jump ship on a contract the moment something better on paper comes along?

Because it’s much easier for an agency to ‘sell’ candidates that they trust. Bear that in mind. While it’s tempting to bail out on a contract, there will come a time when you need to go back out to market. And then what? Who’ll have your back?

At the end of it all, it’s your career. These are your choices to make. Just remember – there are others in this industry making choices that can and will affect you. And in a competitive market, it doesn’t pay to give clients a reason not to hire you.