On the job, six months as an independent

Through an interesting series of events over the past several months I’ve slowly transformed myself from an employee to an independent contractor, so to speak. I suppose I’ve officially become a consultant of sorts, but I’m not thrilled with the term “consultant”. My dislike for the term comes from my experience with consultants over the years. I’ve worked with many, but found few that were actually helpful. It’s obviously not fair to lump them all into the same basket, but those are the breaks.

Immediately after losing my job in July 2013 I tried to jump back into pharmacy, quickly realizing that it wasn’t going to happen. Fortunately I was able to piece together “full-time work” by combining some per diem hours at a local hospital and some ad hoc product management work for a small company working on a new pharmacy application. The hospital work was good, but limited to 10-20 hours per week for about three months. As luck would have it as the hospital job was coming to an end another small company building pharmacy software reached out and just like that I had a second job as an ad hoc product manager. Then a few hours helping a group with strategic planning, then a few hours on a marketing campaign, then some time analyzing state specific pharmacy laws, and so on.

I’ve had a fair number of inquiries from various companies covering a host of projects. Some turned into work, while others were nothing more than discussions. I’ve had to turn down two jobs due to various circumstances. Hopefully those circumstances will clear up later this year, which means I’ll be able to open myself up to another group of potential opportunities.

Truth be told I’ve entered the world of consulting completely by accident, and it turns out that I like it. I like it a lot. My schedule is flexible and within my control, and the variety of work prevents me from getting bored. I’ve also discovered that the companies that engage me have a desire to do good work. They’re looking for a fresh perspective and aren’t afraid to hear a different opinion. They’re motivated to build some really great products. I’ve been impressed with all the groups I’ve had the privilege to work with. They make rapid, decisive choices and move swiftly to make things happen. I respect that.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There are new things to worry about like paying my own taxes and getting health insurance for me and my family, but the positives clearly outweigh the negatives. Overall I’m enjoying the ride.

4 thoughts on “On the job, six months as an independent”

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience Jerry. I suspect your success will be an encouragement to others thinking along the same lines but unsure of what to expect. The profession definitely needs creative thinkers like yourself right now. Keep up the great work.

  2. Hi Jason – Always nice to hear from you. I’ve had a couple people reach out and ask how to get started. Unfortunately I don’t know what to tell them. As I mentioned it’s one of those times when I meant to go right, went left instead and turns out going right would have been a mistake. I usually chalk those moments in my life up to divine intervention. Take care – Jerry

  3. Hi Jerry, Thank you for sharing your experience. No doubt that you will be providing your extensive/in-depth pharmacy IT knowledge with your future clients. Traveling would be a bit challenging in the beginning but I think you will be fine. It would be super nice if you can post your experience as you explore your journey with consulting as some of us may seek the same road in the future.

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