Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's In A Name (And Does It Matter)?

I chose the name for the blog that I did because I was looking for something that could serve as a catch-all for the types of workers I blog about. It's not something I would use in everyday discussion, of course. Mostly because, while I think it's a nice blog title, I think it would sound pretentious and dorky to seriously refer to oneself this way.

This does raise the question, though, of just what exactly you should call yourself. Obviously, if you do mostly freelance work, then "freelancer" works just fine. However, it gets muddier when you get your paycheck from a company that pays you to work at a client full-time. Are you a consultant, a contractor, a temp, a vendor, or what?

Honestly, I don't think it matters very much, if at all. One client I worked at referred to everyone who worked onsite but wasn't paid by them as contractors, another one called them all vendors. Meanwhile, the staffing firm I've worked at most recently calls us all consultants. "Temp" seems to have falled out of widespread use except for certain specific meanings (like a temp-to-hire employee). What about companies that call themselves consulting firms -- how are they different from a firm that calls itself a staffing company if they do the same thing? This all gets confusing very quickly if you let it.

So, don't let it. Odds are very good that you'll have an official title that addresses what you do anyway, so just use that and note on your resume that it was a contract or consulting position, whichever you think better reflects the nature of what you did.

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