I’m here today applying to Toptal.com because a great contractor who I respect told me that I’m a great contractor (thanks JL ;). He told me to stop mucking around with those “other agencies and web sites” and to get myself on Toptal.
So here I go…. If I get in I’ll know I’ll be joining the best. It’s obvious from the screening process and the questions I’ve been asked so far. I’ve had to put some effort in (hey, I always do!), but compared to the generic broad spectrum questions I get from the run-of-the-mill-recruitment-agencies, there’s little comparison. For most of them, recruitment feels like a numbers game where meeting quotas and having the biggest candidate list to show off to employers takes priority over matching talent to opportunities. And in the end, at least in my experience having been involved on both sides of the contracting process, we all lose. As a contractor, the job pool gets murky with irrelevant opportunities, whilst to the employer, the quality of the talent pool gets diluted and the task of filtering out the best candidates becomes time-consuming.
Why I Contract
Years of corporate employment equated to years of pigeonholing. I found myself getting stuck as the ‘server guy, the ‘UI guy’, and so on. It’s as if any expertise I had outside of my job description meant nothing. Sure, hang around long enough and you might get promoted – and welcomed to a new level of corporate politics! – but in the end, you’re still just your job description. However, with freelancing and contracting – well that’s when I discovered a whole new world of working! You get hired as the solution expert. Your opinion is valued. And you get the latitude to delight and wow your clients. And…. they even express appreciation for your work, recommend you, and get you back for more! That alone is pure gold for personal growth, confidence building, and setting yourself up for future success.
But for me, it’s even more personal. I live in a regional area, hundreds of miles away from a big city. It’s a lifestyle choice, a choice to bring my kids up in serene surroundings, where they can explore and be free. It’s great for living and relaxing, but not for well paid professional work, which traditionally demands that I be in a big city. For my family and I, contracting and remote work arrangements allow us to live this way, with my absence from home somewhat predictable, whilst tipping work-life-balance in our favour! It wasn’t easy to achieve in the beginning, but it’s been well worth it.
So Why Me? Why Toptal?
I’m good at what I do. But it’s not just what I do, it’s how I do it. It’s how I leave a project. It’s how I leave others. You see, I pride myself on leaving a project better than I found it. And I aim to leave personally better myself, having acquired new knowledge, wisdom, and friendships. And similarly, I hope too that I leave my clients and colleagues feeling better for having met me.
Toptal is also a numbers game. But I see it as being stacked in my favour, in the game of contracting that I prefer to play. Entry to the Toptal web developers community (https://www.toptal.com/web) puts me at the top with fellow elite professionals who know their value and who can demonstrate their skills. Plus Toptal grants me access to opportunities with clients who know what they are looking for – the best. Who wouldn’t want to be at the top!
Toptal, here I come. I look forward to the Journey!