We chatted to Alex Laing about his thoughts on contracting and being the longest serving Grovelands contractor.
A few weeks ago, Laura Real and I travelled up to London to catch up with Alex Laing, our PPI expert and very first contractor with Grovelands. Alex started back in October of 2009, when Grovelands consisted of just four staff members.
Over a bowl of pasta, we questioned Alex about his thoughts on contracting and being the longest serving Grovelands Associate..
Hi Alex – congratulations on being the longest serving Grovelander! What initially drew you to contracting?
It wasn’t really a conscious decision in all honesty. I had been travelling for a while, and when I came back to England the job market was unstable and there didn’t seem to be much work about. Contracting seemed to be a smart option with good rates of pay so I decided to give it a go.
Good move! What do you see as the benefits of contracting?
There are a number of benefits to contracting, especially if you are adaptable. The job in itself is very flexible, you don’t have to be tied into anything for more than a few months if you don’t want to, but plenty of contracts also offer the stability of more long term placements too. The opportunities in contracting can be exciting, it’s a fast changing market so anything could come up in a variety of locations. It’s also great for meeting new faces, as well as catching up with some old ones from previous projects.
The aspects of contracting that some might find exciting, could be negative to others. Contracts can end at quite short notice, and you may then face the prospect of no guaranteed future work and income. There’s a lot of uncertainty in contracting, and for some [maybe those with family ties] the travelling or moving around to suit a certain project could be considered a drawback.
What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Obviously it’s always great a claim is successful and a customer receives their money back, I do find that rewarding.
You’re practically an old-timer now – any advice for contracting newbies?
It’s always important to work really hard and look to not only achieve, but exceed your targets. Contracting can often be based on getting work through referrals, so getting a good name for yourself in the industry can help to secure future work. It’s also vital that you remain flexible. Although people do like to plan ahead, contracting does mean you might have to move around quite last minute.
Would you say contracting is a sustainable career option?
It is in the short term yes, as it is financially very rewarding. It is possible for it to be sustainable in the slightly longer term, as long as you are constantly hitting and exceeding your targets there is usually work around. If you keep one step ahead and constantly work towards personal improvement, you can find yourself opening up new opportunities.
Very true. How do you find working in a constantly changing industry?
By choosing to be a contractor, you should really know what to expect from an industry that is variable by its very nature. Again, if you remain flexible and adaptable to change it’s easy to excel and feel comfortable in the business.
How do you feel your relationship with Grovelands has grown over the year you have been with us?
I’ve found everyone at Grovelands very approachable. Mark and David have been really friendly right from the start, and I haven’t noticed a change in that as the company has expanded. Everyone there is very straight talking and tell you everything you need to know, so I’d say you give fantastic customer service.
Good to hear! Any suggestions for future improvements Grovelands could make?
I’ve had no problems, and have full faith in the company. Mark and David seem personal and hands on with the company, so I hope that continues in full force.