I am a software developer contractor for a certain company. This is my second time around with them with the same team. On both my times with the company I have got no feedback on whether they will extend my contract or end it. So the first time with the company when it got near the end I found a new position with a different company. And when I told them that I found a new position they were surprised that I was leaving and then told me they were planning on extending me.

Now on the second time around here I have talked to my manager about a extension or a full time position and he was non-committal on if I would be extended this time. I got a negative vibe about my situation....so I have been looking for a new position. I actually applied for a position in the same company and it happened to be under my manager's team. The recruiter I went through got back to me and said I wasn't able to apply for the position because they were trying to extend my contract. I am not sure if I believe that or not....

I have contacted the agency that I am working with and they have tried to get more details on if I will be extended or not. But they haven't gotten a single response back and it has been over a week.

Does anyone know what I should think about the whole situation? Does this happen alot to other people who are contractors as well?

  • 2
    Possibly a lot of red tape and they just don't know
    – paparazzo
    Nov 4 '16 at 17:17
  • 2
    In many companies, a week is not very much time. Nov 4 '16 at 17:44
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    Can't say how frequently this happens at other companies, but as the manger in this case, I often find myself to be the last to know. I have had my contractors come to me and thank me for extending them, when I wasn't informed that they were extended yet. Typical HR red-tape. Often not a decision in the immediate manager's hands. If they don't want to keep you, you'll be gone. If they want to keep you, someone else gets to decide whether or not the budget is/will be there.
    – cdkMoose
    Nov 4 '16 at 18:17
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    I had a good friend have their contract go unrenewed because her boss was on vacation during the renewal window and had forgotten that he needed to take care of it before he left. By the time he went through all the red tape to get her rehired she had found another job. Uncertainty around end dates is the worst part of contract employment.
    – Myles
    Nov 4 '16 at 19:52
  • Coincidentalluy, my contract ends today. I am still needed, and have been told that the extension is underway. The company loses lots of very good people who just walk away when not extended about a month ahead of expiry. I will keep coming in and invoicing them until they explicitly tell me not to. YMMV Nov 9 '16 at 17:14

If you are a contractor, it is sensible to always operate on the assumption that your contract ends at its end date or even sooner. You should have this assumption regardless of what anyone tells you at the company. I mean, what are they going to say? "You're job isn't secure"? No, they won't tell you that!

So... there is really little to be gained by quizzing management on this. You job is always "secure" (or budget is forthcoming). Until ... suddenly ... it isn't. That means you should practically always be looking for a job, especially as a contractor. Contractors are usually the first to be let go, and not infrequently before the promised (but not contractual) end date. That doesn't mean that you should wave your job search in their face though. Just keep your options sensibly open.


He could have been avoiding commitment if he was trying to get you prolonged but hasn't succeeded yet. Depending on the company culture, it may not be wise for him to tell you that he's trying to prolong you, but cannot decide this alone. I personally prefer company cultures that are more open, but not all of them are comfortable discussing how such decisions are made. It could also be the case that he is trying to prolong your contract but has ran up against opposition in doing so. In this case, it is even more likely that he would not involve you in such a power struggle.

You have complicated things inadvertently by applying to another position under the same manager.


DISCLAIMER: Your mileage may vary

I worked as a software development contractor for several years at the company in which I now have full-time employment. During that entire period, I never got a single piece of feedback, and was constantly worried that my performance wasn't good enough, or that my contract wouldn't be renewed, and was always on the market for new jobs. Talks with my contracting company were always vague, similar to your issues with the extension, and I never believed a word they said.

After two years of contract work, and completely out of nowhere, I was offered a full time position and told I was a really valued member of the team.

I think a lot of companies don't really put a lot of thought into how they treat their contractors, and sometimes no news isn't bad news. I think especially lower-level functional managers think that dealing with the day-to-day management of contractors is "someone else's job". That said, don't discount your instincts. As a contractor, it is a lot better to switch jobs unnecessarily than to be laid off.

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