How to Assess Your Career Goals as a Contractor or a Full-Time Employee

At any point in your career, you may want to evaluate your career goals. This helps you to keep where you want to be in your profession in perspective and plan how you want to get there. Whether you are a contractor or a full-time employee, assessing your career goals takes some thought and vision.


As a contractor, you are working on a short-term basis for an employer who cannot or does not want to hire a full-time employee. You may or may not want to continue working as a contractor, however. Take these ideas into consideration as you think about your career goals:

  • Do you enjoy working for employers on a short-term basis?
  • Are full-time benefits and perks important to you?
  • Do you want the relative security of a full-time position?
  • How do you feel about the social – work position of working as a contractor? It can be hard to be on the “inside” when you are a contractor.
  • Do you like the flexibility to choose who you work for and to choose the projects that you want?
  • Do you work for an employment agency that provides steady work?
  • Do you work for an employment agency that provides benefits?
  • Do you want to work for yourself as a consultant/contractor?
  • How do you feel about not being able to “climb the corporate ladder” as a contractor?

Full-Time Employee

Full-time employees are in a different boat than contractors in a number of ways. They have relative security in their positions, typically get paid a higher annual salary, have benefits and perks more often than contractors, and have more opportunities for professional development and to rise through the ranks of their organization and industry. Here are some points you may want to consider, however, as you think about your career goals.

  • Have you gained enough experience and training in your field to strike out on your own as a contractor?
  • Do you have the knowledge, training, experience, and contacts to make a go of working for yourself as a consultant/contractor?
  • Are you okay with breaking out of the mold of a traditional corporate career?
  • How do you feel about not getting training opportunities paid for by your employer?
  • What are your thoughts on the idea of not having work from time to time? Can you save your money for those lean times? Can you live cheaply to prepare for those times?
  • Do you want more flexibility to work when, how, and where you want?
  • Are you okay with moving from employer to employer and having to learn different ways of operating in various organizational cultures and structures?
  • How do you feel about not being promoted? Do you feel like you’ve not attained your career goals by not rising through the ranks?

As you think through each of these questions, other questions may arise. Write down your answers for each question, and then carefully analyze where you want to be based on your answers. This will help you figure out where you want your career to go and the path that you need to take get there.