Orange Badges: Contracting at Microsoft: "Let's face it, most folks do not have what it takes to be a contractor.
Do you have 6 months income saved?
Are you a member of professional organizations?
Do you regularly keep in touch with recruiters?
Do you have the necessary space and equipment to work at home?
Do you keep accurate, complete, and up-to-date records?
Does everyone you ever worked with know you are a contractor and what you do?
Do you know the going rate for full-time, agency temp (a-), and vendor (v-) work in your field?
Do you know who else in your area also hires/contracts folks in your field?
Can you juggle multiple contracts at the same time?
Can you get your rear in gear and find another contract before your current contract is over?
Do you continuously update your skill set?
Do you keep your resume and references up to date?
Do you seek honest feedback from your agency and manager?
Do you show up early, stay late, volunteer for additional work outside your area?
Do you help folks without asking?
Do you avoid the "that's not my job" response?
Are you always available?
Do you talk to others on your team?
Can you work with minimal supervision?
Can you swallow your pride and say "I don't know"?
Can you do due diligence and dig up information on your own?
Do you know when to give up and ask for help (hint: it's not until you've done due diligence)?
Can you take being embarrassed, insulted, talked down to, ignored?
Can you speak up when needed, keep your mouth shut otherwise?
Can you disagree when the time is right, acquiesce when the decision is final?
I've been doing the contract thing for over 20 years. I have violated every one of these tenets at various times, much to my regret. "