I am a consultant who has been working on a project since January. It ends in a few months, but there is some indication in the office that it will continue after this time. As of yet, I have not been approached by the project manager or the vendor regarding the renewal of my contract. And recently, I have received an interesting offer from a reputable company to work on an important contract that will enhance my career. I feel a responsibility to complete my current assignment right to the end of my contract. Also, I really like the project manager to whom I report. I’m afraid of burning my bridges with her.
What should I do?
Signed, Feeling Guilty
Congratulations on the great career opportunity! Thank you for the great question. Let’s talk about responsibilities. And boundaries.
1. Remember what you are NOT responsible for:
Unless stated in the contract agreement that you signed when you were outsourced by this current organization, you are NOT responsible for the project. You are NOT responsible for its success. You are NOT responsible for its completion. You are NOT responsible for its failures. You are NOT responsible for the hires and training. You must be clear about this. As you know, especially as a contractor, that organizations and projects are complicated with many complex stakeholders involved, lots of politics and power and plenty of overt and covert agendas.
2. Focus on what you ARE responsible for:
From my observations and experiences, your focus should always be on what you are responsible for, and what you can control in your current and future workplace. At your current project, you are responsible for being a responsible contractor, doing the best job you can, being a top performer who strives for excellence, being accountable to your co-workers and supervisor(s), being a helpful, collaborative team member, as well as ensuring that you always meet your deadlines, and deliverables.
You are also responsible for being transparent about your work and contributing YOUR PART to the success of the bigger project. You are responsible for resigning in a professional manner by giving the required two weeks’ notice by law, unless your contract agreement states otherwise. You can consider sharing the reasons for your early resignation with the manager you like.
3. An opportunity to expand your professional network:
Invite the Project Manager to connect with you on LinkedIn and be in touch with her as you can never have enough people in your professional network! If you want to go the extra mile for her, you can always refer a qualified candidate to fill your role. Again, unless stated in the agreement, it’s optional.
4. WIFM (what’s in it for me?) evaluation:
Just as your employer always does, make sure that in your role as a consultant or employee, you always remember to consider “WIFM” – what is in it for me? Ultimately, the most important area that you are responsible for is your own career, professional and financial development. It is also your responsibility to research and do your due diligence regarding the current offer on the table to confirm it meets your needs. Regarding your current assignment, unless it fills your professional, career and financial needs, it’s time to move on.
Hope this helps with your decision.