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Think of Yourself as a Private Contractor

If you are an employee, take a moment and think on the following.

Picture yourself as a private contractor to your employer, you are your own business. You have overhead (personal bills), a lease (mortgage/rent), and other responsibilities in life beyond your client (your employer). Take a moment to figure out the complete cost of doing business for yourself, and then the compensation you receive from your client.

Let’s say you have a retainer agreement with your client, where they pay you X amount per month to do X amount of hours of work for them. Once in a while you might do some extra work for them without charging them for the hours over and above what they had allotted, for goodwill purposes. What would you say if your client told you he expected you to work extra hours all of the time, so now you’re doing X+10 hours for them each month? How about if you are expected to work through the weekend for that client, do you charge the same rate?

With this type of perspective on your position, how does it change the amount you seek in salary requirements? How about in overtime worked when in a salaried position? What will you say when your review comes around?

You are a private contractor. The company is paying you for your time. When they ask for extra time, it is not wrong for you to expect extra compensation for it.

This is a broad generalization, but food for thought none-the-less.


  1. So, just out of curiosity, what do you think of the “comp time” angle? My employer, a small consulting company, would like for us to track overtime and take it off at some point in the future, probably when things are a bit slow and projects are lacking. But I dunno – after a few trips to Australia (16 hour days) over the weekend and this week, I’m kind of wondering about that. Especially if they bill the client for our time hourly.

  2. Do you mean that you get comp-time off for those weekends and 16 hour days? Basically, are you able to take off a full 2 days at some later point in the year, if you worked through the weekend?

    If so, I think that’s legit. If not, then they are getting free labor out of you and making pure profit for using a resource that they are getting for nothing. I believe it’s okay to do this once in a while, I just don’t think it’s right for an employer to expect it.

    Another question you might ask: if your employer charges a higher rate for when you work over the weekend, do you get compensated more as well?

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