The Way We Work
December 28, 2010 by Tamara Rice

A year of contract work is ending and another is about to begin. It’s the perfect time to think in detail about what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Ask yourself the following six questions, and write down your answers. These are designed to help you think through what you want from your contract work career. (We’ve even provided sample answers to help you out!) The key is to stay specific and stick with short, one-sentence or one-word answers.

1. How would you like your contracting career to be different at the end of 2011? (I’d like to add photoshop skills to my resume.)

2. How would you like to be perceived by your employers? (I want to be known as the SEO expert with the best writing skills around.)

3. What can you improve in your daily work routine? (It’s time to start keeping set office hours and keeping a calendar of deadlines.)

2011 mission statement4. What did you do really well in 2010? (I negotiated a rate increase with two employers.)

5. What do you like about your contracting career? (I love being able to give myself a raise!)

6. What is important to you in life? (It’s really important to me to spend time with my dad.)

So, you’ve answered these six questions about your work life, now what? Go back over your answers several times. Then try to summarize the things you’ve discovered about your year and about what you want – in just two or three sentences. Together, these sentences make up your mission statement for 2011.

For example, using the sample answers we gave above, our mission statement might look something like this:

2011 mission statement threeIn 2011, I will begin to keep office hours and will do whatever it takes to meet deadlines. I’ll negotiate a rate increase with at least two more employers based on the value I give them as an SEO and writing expert. I will take an online photoshop course in order to add this skill to my resume, and I will increase my overall sense of fulfillment by doing the thing I realize is most important to me in 2011: spending more time with my father.

How was your 2010 and how will you change things up for 2011? Let us know how your own mission statement shaped up in the comments below.

Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.