Lack of support - what should I do?

(7 Posts)
costumething Wed 24-Jul-13 22:54:56

Hi - sorry this is a bit long...

I was made redundant from my old job & retrained in a technical discipline. I was lucky enough to get a temporary role in a local firm just before finishing my retraining.
When I finished that contract they kept me on, but on the condition that I worked as a contractor through my own ltd company - so I have no employment rights. I agreed as at the moment there are few jobs about & I felt I could gain useful experience.

However, it is not going well. My immediate boss has left & the company is considering not replacing her due to cost. This means I have no mentor at work, as no-one else in the firm has much experience of my discipline.

I have been given project work which is really beyond my experience and left to sink or swim. I have never done any sort of project work before, but most projects don't seem well managed - cancelled meetings, people who don't turn up, unclear objectives, no agenda or minutes etc. I genuinely have no idea about how to proceed with most of the stuff I've been given and the result is that I do very little as I am gripped with indecision. What input I do give is largely ignored. As I have no manager this has gone un-noticed so far. The senior manager (my bosses boss) seems unconcerned - as long as he has someone in my role he has ticked the box, whether I perform or not. I am not even sure if he has any visibility of my work.

I am tempted to quit, but there are not many jobs out there & I need to earn. The job looks perfect convenience-wise - short commute, flexible hours (as a contractor I can work when I please & just bill for the time.) However it is really depressing being inactive & ineffective at work and it is affecting my confidence. I am not progressing or getting the training I need to become competent. I have been forced into a contractor role long before I am ready for it.

I will bring it up with the senior manager when I see him after his holiday, but I suspect if I state that I cannot work without a senior mentor and lay out how bad it is he will just terminate my contract.

I am so cross with myself for being pathetic & not rising to the challenge, but I do believe the firm is at fault for putting me in this position. Is there anything I can do to sort this out?

LegoCaltrops Wed 24-Jul-13 22:57:59

Sorry, not sure but bumping. Hope someone comes along soon with some advice!

costumething Wed 24-Jul-13 23:37:00

Cheers Lego

goodgrief54 Fri 26-Jul-13 07:02:03

If you have recently retrained is there anyone you were on your course with you could seek support from? sorry am unsure what you do.

Unexpected Fri 26-Jul-13 13:39:35

"I have been forced into a contractor role long before I am ready for it" I think this is the heart of your problem. As a contractor I would expect you to be self-sufficient and require neither training or mentoring. I use contractors to bring specific expertise to a project and am prepared to pay a high daily rate because I think it is going to improve the overall outcome of the project and probably shorten the timescale. However, I do listen to what the contractors have to say!

I don't think this sounds like a genuine contract role at all. The company are probably trying to get around a headcount freeze by contracting you in this way, You do need to meet with the senior manager but the conversation needs to go along the lines that you are being under-utilised because of internal disorganisation and that your expert input is being largely ignored. I unfortunately don't think that you can admit to needing training or managing in project work if you hope to hold on to this role.

Medium-term, I think you need get a new job. Even as an employee here, it will not solve your problems with the culture of the company which seems to be more concerned with ticking boxes than ensuring effective outcomes.

Bigwuss Fri 26-Jul-13 17:26:25

Have a look at 'prince 2 for dummies' this will talk you through aspects of project management in a structured way and break the job down into chunks. We use aspects of it, not the registers etc and it may help you get moving or frame what exactly you need to get going?
Is there a professional body that you may be able to find a mentor through or continuing development or training course you could attend? Or someone from you training course who might be willing to give you some advice to get you started.
But I agree, if things don't improve, then a new job may be to way to go.

costumething Fri 26-Jul-13 20:03:34

Thanks all. I agree I am not really a proper contractor - the firm know my level of experience but are unwilling to add to the headcount, hence my contract being what it is. I certainly don't get the high daily rate of a contractor - my salaried equivalent is about £24k per annum (allowing for the fact I don't get paid holidays etc.)
However getting an alternative role at the moment will not be easy so I think I will have to try and work out a solution here.
I have thought about swotting up on project management and it may help, but I am not the project manager on these projects, I provide technical info. I think the firm could benefit from project management training for the leaders, but this is beyond my remit to suggest.
My university where I trained and my professional institute recommend a period of mentoring and require evidence of this complete with a record of achievements for full institute membership. I can't see this happening here without a new senior.
I think the company see me as a cheap alternative to hiring a new senior person. I know this isn't a good solution for them or me, but without a new role I feel I have to stay as at least I'm earning money.
I am looking for something else, just wondering at what point I abandon the search for a related job & just look for anything available.

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