I have many friends who started working as contractors long before Dana The Trainer was even an idea in my mind. Some have been with the same client and even on the same project for many months, in some cases even years – working alongside permanent employees on their client teams. In a few cases they’ve even been there longer than many of the current permanent members of staff. For me that makes them a part of the team. But sadly, clients don’t always see it that way. There have been exclusions from Team Days, celebrations and even the Christmas party in some cases with varying degrees of hurt feelings. In most cases we can summarise and say that there is definitely a very clear difference between the treatment of permanent employees and contractors, even where those contractors are long-term.

Armed with the knowledge of my friends’ experiences, when I started my own business I steeled myself for more of the same especially since my time spent with clients is even less than the norm in the contracting industry. While in a given month I may work with a client for several days, those days are typically spread across the month and sometimes not even in consecutive weeks. Suffice to say, I definitely don’t expect to get invited to Team Days or even to be considered as part of the team.

And so, when I returned to the UK in January after an extended trip home to Trinidad I was stunned to find a ginormous box waiting for me at my neighbour’s. It was a hamper filled with delicious things from a team I started working with in August of last year and worked with multiple times to year end.

I was completely bowled over. And not just because it was from Fortnum & Mason. It was just so unexpected. I give clients gifts – clients don’t give me gifts! Even when I was permanently employed I don’t think I ever got a gift quite like this.

But I’d like to think I would have had the same reaction no matter what it was because its not about the gift. It’s about the meaning behind the gesture.

To me it said that they consider me part of the team and value me & my work.  I just cannot believe that they included me and took the time to do this. It told me so much about who they are and how they work and treat people and  I am thrilled to be partnering with them in 2017. ]

It’s a reminder to me that I also want to make the people I work with feel the same – and I hope it reminds you too! It’s like Maya Angelou said “People never forget how you make them feel”.