In an earlier article, I wrote about what I wished I’d known about government contracting before I began my first contracting position – things like timekeeping rules, supervisory structures, and the ups and downs of budget shortfalls and congressional stalemates. This is a follow up, with more of the ups and downs and lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Government contracting has been my life for more than 15 years, and through it all I have learned some valuable lessons I would like to share.
STAY INFORMED AND PLAN AHEAD
Government contracting is the only way non-federal workers can work for government agencies, so there are excellent rewards in being able to do this kind of work. Government contractors are able to work with military (in the case of Department of Defense) and other federal workers and learn from the inside how to support those organizations. For some it can even lead to a government job, but contractors must always be prepared, especially during the option year and recompete of the contract, to find another position in the event their job is eliminated. Having a good relationship with your program manager is one way to keep the discussion open, and also asking questions and making sure you fully understand what is happening. A reputable company may be able to place contractors on another contract, but unfortunately, this is not always the case for smaller firms who don’t have as many contracts to fall back on.
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