As an employee working as a contractor, you know the end of your contract is coming. You are unsure of your future, so you look for signs your contract will not be renewed.
This can be a difficult time, filled with anxiety and uncertainty. But don’t lose hope that you do not have options. There are signs your contract will not be renewed that you can act on.
Remember that there has been significant job turnover since 2021, when one in four people changed jobs, according to U.S. labor statistics.
It is better to know your fate and to take action to change it if you can. In some cases, it is best to accept your fate and act professionally. Consider these signals and ways that you can avoid getting fired.
1. Your contract end date nears without word
It is that time, just weeks before your contract is supposed to end and you haven’t heard a word. This is one of those signs your contract will not be renewed. Look for ways to discuss your past contributions and your future goals with supervisors.
You can address this by reaching out to your main client contact to ask if they have news. Do not wait to learn the day before the end of your contract that you will not receive a renewal. Find out your status so you can take action, which includes looking for other clients.
Another option is to arrange a meeting with a supervisor. Develop a brief presentation that outlines your accomplishments and ways you can continue contributing. Make the option available and express your interest, but respect there may not be an interest in renewing a contract.
2. Your contract supervisor avoids talking to you
If you try to schedule meetings with your contract supervisor and they are not available, this could be among the signs your contract will not be renewed. Perhaps the supervisor avoids contact with you at the office. There are ways you can bring up the subject of contract renewal without making the conversation uncomfortable.
You can use meetings already scheduled with the supervisor to add a discussion about your contract’s future. Make sure to outline progress of past work and goals for future work. You can explain how you can build on that success in a future contract.
Ask for feedback about the work you have performed under contract so far. Use this opportunity to look for signs in your supervisor’s answers that there is not interest in renewing the contract. Remain professional and upbeat, and ask outright about renewal if the supervisor doesn’t bring it up.
3. You are asked to help train a new contractor
Another sign your contract won’t be renewed is when someone with your background is hired. You are asked to train them in most of the tasks that you do. This feels like there was someone else hired to do your work, but do not react negatively.
You want to work as a team player, so you help the new worker learn the job. Talk to your supervisor about your interest in expanding your duties in other areas. Ask what new projects they have planned and how you can help with those.
It is possible there is another project in a different area of the company that is a good fit for you. Offer your thanks for the opportunity you had with your current contract. Make it clear that you enjoyed working with the team and would appreciate other projects, now or in the future.
4. Your work colleagues appear to avoid you
Others you work with may know your contract’s status, but they aren’t comfortable discussing it. If you bring up renewal and they don’t answer, this could be a sign. You don’t want to press the issue or appear agitated to your colleagues.
Ask your colleagues what they are working on and what projects they have plans to begin. Learn about other initiatives that are underway in the company that might be a good fit. You may find a way to pitch another contract idea to work on another project.
But remember, you do not want to come across as a confrontational or pushy colleague. Respect that your colleagues probably were asked to keep information confidential. You do not want to put them in an awkward position.
5. Your supervisor reduces your responsibilities
You may find that you receive less work than is typical or your responsibilities are reduced. It makes sense that if your contract is not renewed, you will receive fewer assignments.
You can discuss your availability with your supervisor or with other supervisors. Make it clear that you want to help in any way you can, even if only briefly. Your collaboration and eagerness may help you land another contract.
It helps if you already know about planned initiatives and offer ways you can help. This further shows your eagerness to serve the company and your knowledge about its mission.
6. Signs your contract will not be renewed: meetings cancelled
You notice your supervisor canceled your weekly meetings. You are no longer invited to team meetings. This is a telling signal that your days may be numbered with this company.
Stay positive and communicate with colleagues, who may be able to shed some light. Discuss with your colleagues and supervisor how you can continue to serve the team. It is a good idea to discreetly search for other clients, but continued collaboration shows your professionalism.
7. You are asked to share assignments
A sign that your contact may not be renewed is if you are asked to share an assignment you have worked on alone since you started. Even if your work was excellent and you received praise for it, someone decided not to renew your contract.
You can ask the supervisor or your colleagues if there is other work you can do. But it is best not to come across too aggressively, as if you are desperate. Get a sense of what type of role, if any, you could continue providing the company.
Remember never to view these developments personally. You must think about these decisions as a company would consider them. It’s a business call that you have to be willing to handle gracefully so you can be considered for future work.
8. The company is experiencing financial problems
News from colleagues, emails and outside sources point to the company’s financial troubles. It’s possible your contract can’t be renewed for financial reasons. Your work is appreciated and praised, but there is no money to renew your contract.
You should remain professional and helpful. Some of your colleagues may move into other companies and remember your professionalism. The company may improve its financial condition later and give you another opportunity.
9. New management takes over
New management taking over sometimes leads to a clean sweep of all contracts. The new leaders, either from an acquisition or merger, want to evaluate what contracts the company needs. This is an opportunity to give the new managers space, but also to learn what they want.
Learn what you can about the vision new managers have for the work. Find out how comfortable they are with contractors and how they typically use them. Define a role for yourself within the new structure based on your understanding of their needs.
You can make a pitch at the appropriate time to serve the new managers. But you should be patient while they take time to evaluate their situation.
10. Everyone is looking for an answer
You are getting questions from everyone more frequently. Supervisors, colleagues and other contractors want answers and details about your project. This could be a sign that they are developing a better understanding of how to do your job without you.
It is important to be as helpful and accommodating as possible, even if you feel under attack. Don’t be defensive or uncooperative, which would only make you seem unprofessional. Offer any help you can and keep communicating with everyone involved so you can pitch your services again later.
11. Mistakes and criticism increase in writing
You may experience more frequent correspondence from your supervisor, perhaps emails, that call out mistakes. This can feel like there is an effort to document some issues you may have had. It is also possible that any explanation you offer goes unanswered.
This can be an effort to document concerns about your work as part of the strategy to not renew your contract. It usually is not a good idea to respond negatively to this. Your fate likely already has been decided, so it is best to stay calm and professional.
If no other sign prompted you to start looking for other clients, this one should. Not every contract is a perfect match, so it is better to handle this exit gracefully. Any defensive or combative response you provide may be used as further evidence that you are not a good fit.
Related Article: How Do I Politely Ask Whether My Contract Will Be Extended?