Prior to the Covid pandemic and the lockdowns that followed I had been contracting for around 9 years, securing 22 contracts numerous sectors - some lasting a couple of months and a few lasting around a year.

When the UK went into lockdown I was engaged with a startup company but with all the uncertainty at the time they decided to pull the pull on the project, leaving me looking for another contract just as the contracting market all but dried up.

I wasn’t that worried at the time, thinking I could use the time sharpening my skills and work on some pet projects. However as the months rolled on and with changes to the tax regulations for contractors looking to make it much less viable a decision had to be made.

When I reached out on LinkedIn saying that I was considering permanent roles I was flattered when a previous client contacted me and offered me a position working on the same project with the same team.

A little over a year later I was asked to take on the Technical Team Lead role, managing the developers, looking after their training requirements and progression within the company.

It’s now a little over a year since I took on that role and I’ve decided it’s time to move on and while I’m primarily considering a return to contracting I’m not ruling out another permanent role. So I’ve had to give two months notice and have offered to remain until the end of March - so 10 weeks in total. This means I’m unlikely to secure anything for a few weeks yet as clients normally want contractors to start within a few days, maybe a week. But this doesn’t mean that I going to be sitting around idle.

The thing about contracting is that you are normally working with the latest and greatest technologies and this keeps your skills up to date.

My experience of regular employment is that options for advancement are more limited. The technology stack is essentially locked and upgrading things like .NET is difficult to justify when everything is working as it is.

So that’s where I am now - I’ve fallen behind, or at least that’s what it feels like and I need to address that. It could just be a touch of Imposter Syndrome (or self doubt as we used to call it - it’s not a new thing) but I have a good track record and I’m driven to make it work.

Fortunately I have a Pluralsight subscription so I’m going to be hitting that pretty hard over the next few weeks - .NET 6/7 as well as C# 10/11 are all in the frame along with things like Razor Pages, Blazor and the Xamarin replacement, MAUI.

I also have to spin up another Limited Company and while that is a fairly straightforward process there are a lot of moving parts and I’m having a problem with one of the very early steps - coming up with a new company name (inability to name things is a developer trait).

So it looks like 2023 is going to be a challenging year - but you know what, after everything that’s gone on with lockdown and the frustrations that led me to hand in my notice, I’m ready for it.