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Contracting Basics: An Uncomfortable Discussion

While I'd hate to say this is long overdue, it is more indicative of a societal problem than an EMS problem. We're going to have a quick discussion about how the professional world works. 


Professionalism is defined as "the competence or skill expected of a professional". Competence is defined as "the ability to do something successfully or efficiently". Success is defined as "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose". Accomplishment is defined as "something that has been achieved successfully". Finally, achievement is defined as "a thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage, or skill". 


Through your actions, skills, effort, and/or courage, you are capable of achieving things. That is success. Success breeds competence, and competence makes one act with professionalism. 


So how does the professional world of contracting tie into all of this? Everyone wants to make fat stacks, grow a beard, go interesting places, do adventurous things, live a life of fulfillment, etc. The reason why contracting pays what it does, isn't generally an entry level position (although it absolutely can be), and operates in the realm of 'big boy rules', is because you are expected to be a professional. Not simply someone who gets paid for the job you perform. This requires things like effort, courage, skill, competence, the list goes on.


You'll notice effort is listed first in both the definitions, and further with expectations of a professional. Effort is defined as a "vigorous or determined attempt". An example of a professional putting forth effort, would be researching a topic or even a job position, and requirements one might be unfamiliar with are researched. The internet is an incredible tool. Not just for asking to be spoon-fed information, but to seek it out on your own, from a variety of sources. 


An amateur is defined with words like incompetent, inept, unprofessional or nonprofessional. Amateurs only read the headline, can't follow instructions, ask questions that are easily answered, fail to research, fail to understand the community, fail to understand expectations, I can go on. 


There is often talk and rumblings of dreaded 'black lists' in the contracting world. The best way to ensure you find yourself on one of these fabled things, is to fail to behave with professionalism. This can happen from the first email or phone call, just as quickly as it can happen from your actions while on contract. 


Read the posting. ALL OF IT. Read the job description. Do you qualify? Do you qualify entirely? Are they asking for a CA license but you have a FL license? You do not qualify. Do you have your EMT and they are asking for Paramedics? You should likely wait until they post up needing EMT's. Do they ask for a qualification you do not have? You should find out, through your own effort and the wonders of the internet, if you can get that qualification easily. Are they asking for a cert or credential that you do not know what it is? You probably don't have it, you definitely don't qualify. Google it


Take this advice, or don't. There are dozens of applicants, if not more, for any decent paying contract position these days. If you clog up inboxes for specific job postings with specific requirements, while lacking those requirements, your chances decrease substantially when the time comes that you do qualify for a posting. Not because of being annoying, which isn't a good personality trait - but because of an inability to follow instructions, pay attention to detail, or carry yourself in a professional manner. 


Thank you for your time

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