Life Of A Interim Consultant, Part Two

I talked about a few things concerning the life of a traveling interim consultant a couple of days ago. Here’s a few more things concerning the life.

First, I want to follow up on the eating thing I left off with. It’s easy to get into some pretty bad habits while on the road.What you have to hope for is to have a room that at least has a refrigerator. If that’s the case, stock up with bottles of water, some bread, and some lunch meat. Even if you have a restaurant in the hotel, it shuts down at least by 11PM if not sooner, and isn’t always open. So, it helps to have something to eat in the room, and lunch meat is healthier than eating chips and dessert types of things.

Second, shutting down the mind can be tough. I know very few consultants who can leave the work at the job site, so they’ll put in extra hours in the hotel. We love that, as it’s billable hours, but if you don’t find some time when you can wind down, you’ll drive yourself nuts.

Third, you always have to remind yourself that, though you may start feeling pretty comfortable after awhile, you’re always only an invited guest into a job site. Don’t get caught up in the drama that working at companies on a daily basis can bring. You always want to watch out for the types of personal relationship stuff that naturally comes about if you’re a full time employee. You’re there to do a job, and it might be a tough job. You may have to do things you don’t like, and it’s always easier to do those things if you remember why you’re there.

Being an interim consultant can be fun, and you will see things that you would never have had the opportunity to see by working in your hometown for the rest of your life. But you can get caught up in it also, so always remember to keep at least some distance between yourself and the people you work with, take care of your health, and you’ll be fine.


Life Of A Interim Consultant, Part One

As some of you know, I was a consultant for many, many years. I traveled all over the country doing assignments. Some of them were long, while others short. I’d like to give you an idea of what type of thing you might be in for if you’re considering working with a staffing company.

You first have to get used to the idea of travel, and lots of it. If you get a 3-month assignment, for instance, you might have to fly in to cities, pick up a rental car, and go directly to the work site. You might end up flying in on a Sunday so that you can work your time, then either go home that weekend or stay in that town for two or three weeks at a time. Flying isn’t all that bad, but sometimes making long trips across the country can be tiring, and you have to get used to new time zones.

Second, you have to get used to different cultures on the fly. You’ll find that terminology you thought was standard in your industry really is only standard in your area. You have to learn a lot of it quickly, otherwise you’ll be confused for a long time.

Third, you have to learn how to eat. That’s not as easy as you’d think. You get put up in hotels, sometimes good ones, other times not so good. Some hotels have restaurants, some don’t. You get money for meals, but you don’t get enough to eat at five star restaurants every night. And truthfully, you don’t want to, because if it’s not something you’re used to, you’ll get sick often, and you won’t like how that feels.

I’ll talk about more things in the next post; stay tuned.

Benefits Or Not?

A question that sometimes comes up are what kind of benefits do people who sign up with staffing companies get. They’re not talking benefits as in how it will improve their lives. The questions concern medical benefits, unemployment benefits, etc.

The easiest answer is that it depends on the company and the state. For instance, in New Jersey, we’re required to cover anyone who works for us that’s not considered an independent business contractor under both unemployment and worker’s compensation. So, if someone works more than 20 weeks under us, they can put in for unemployment in this state, whether they live here or not. And while they’re working for us, they’ve covered under workers compensation.

There are some employees who we provide health insurance for. Those are long term employees, not short term interim staffing. Those employees also accrue vacation benefits, as well as sick time. They’re not considered as much as interim staff, but actual employees. This subjects them to some other rules. For instance, if they drive to assignments, they get the lesser of mileage between the distance from home to the assignment or our location to the job site.

So, the long answer is that it depends on where you work, who you work for, and the conditions of employment that determines whether benefits are given or not.

Unemployment Reaches 9.8%

Last week the government released more figures showing that the unemployment rate has jumped to 9.8% Also, there were more jobless claims in September than had been expected, which caused the Dow to drop around 200 points.

It’s a volatile job market, and that’s scary for a lot of people. Economists keep hoping that the economy is going to turn around and that jobs are going to come back, but I keep wondering where they think these jobs are going to come from. Manufacturing is leaving the country and many other services seem to be leaving as well.

One of the benefits of hooking up with a staffing company is that someone is always looking for people to help them out. It’s not like every day we have thousands of opportunities for everyone. After all, though our industry have done better that many other industries, we have also seen that there are fewer extraneous jobs out there. When companies leave, they take away many of those jobs that we could have helped people fill.

It does work a little differently in hospitals, though, which helps us. For the most part, hospitals will always be around. There have been some closings and mergers, but hospitals can’t leave the country, though they can send some work out of the country. One of the things we’re thinking about is expanding the types of medical staffing we can do. We have concentrated on the revenue side of things, and that will always be our focus, but we do occasionaly get requests for other types of personnel.

If you’ve been downsized and you’re unsure of what you’d like to do, you should consider looking into a staffing company. It just might be what you need to hold you over until full time employment comes again, and you might find that you enjoy it more and have more freedom and end up creating a new career for yourself.

Staffing Companies Are Great For Independent Consultants

Are you an independent consultant? If so, hooking up with a staffing company could be a way to help you out when times are a little bit tough.

No one is great at marketing all the time. At least staffing companies have, hopefully, established relationships with other companies that have need of interim staff from time to time. Expeditive is one of those companies. We have relationships with hospitals and medical facilities across the country, and they’re always looking for some kind of help.

Some of the help hospitals are looking for is highly skilled and trained personnel who know how to do things that not everyone knows how to do. For instance, we know that not everyone knows how to do medical records coding. Not everyone knows how to do things with charge masters. And not all everyone in health care knows how to do cost reports.

Consultants bring special skills into the mix. Yet, sometimes they aren’t sure who to market their services to. That’s where a company like ours comes in. We work to get contracts with businesses everywhere. We like knowing as many consultants as possible, so that when someone has a specific need, we have a list of people we can call and make these offers to.

So, if you’re a health care consultant, we’d love to have the opportunity to work with you. Why not contact Expeditive and see if we can find a way to work together.

What Clients Need To Know When Negotiating With A Staffing Company

Many businesses work with staffing companies, while many others may feel the need to work with one. The two reasons companies usually need to work with staffing agencies is because they’re short on staff or because they’re looking for ways to save on expenses.

When it’s time to think about working with a staffing company, there are some things that need to be considered before calling up a staffing company. The first one is not the cost, although that’s important. The first thing to think about is why you need the staffing company. Are you looking for temporary help, “work to hire” help, or outsourcing. What level of help do you require? Are you looking for special skills? And how many people do you need to hire?

The second thing to look at is how much it’s going to cost you. What you don’t have to deal with is paying for benefits, such as insurance and vacations. You will have to pay for transportation, meals and lodging in some instances. The costs will also depend on the level of the position you need. For any interim position, you’re going to be paying the company more per hour than you would be paying your own staff; that’s just the reality.

You also get what you pay for. If you need an interim director and are only willing to pay the staffing company $30 an hour, you’re probably not getting a top quality person; that, plus an interim staffing company might not be able to find you anyone who will work for a rate that low. For permanent positions, that may not be considered bad pay. For interim staffing it is. Interim workers at all levels have to worry about making a good living at what they do. They also still have to pay for things like insurance, plus they often work shorter gigs, then have, at times, long down periods while waiting for the next assignment. Good people charge more, especially if what they do is more exclusive. It may cost more to get them, but we’ve seen that the clients end up getting greater benefits from someone with great skills than they might have expected.

And finally, the company you negotiate with has to make money also. So, the amount you say you need to pay gets weighed with how the company will do based on the price you’re willing to spend. If the company can’t get you what you want for what you want to spend, it’s just not going to work.

In any case, staffing agencies are always willing to try to accommodate their clients. It never hurts to pick up the phone and talk to someone.