"In the ediscovery space, there are vendors and law firms large enough to bring on full-time, salaried employees to form the core of their document review team. On the one hand, benefits! and stability! seem to call out like a Siren's song, but I know there is a downside." - Alex Rich, Abovethelaw.com, April 1, 2015. Here is the article.
But, given the current glut of legal talent, lawyers such as Alex Rich find it one way of paying the bills. The analogy in my field of communications might be doing contract work for a "content factory."
And, just about anything can be endured when it is assumed the work is merely a temporary stop while hustling for more rewarding, status-filled and higher-paying kinds of work in one's field.
Then, a full-time job in document review becomes available. Taking it, which Rich admits is a temptation, sends powerful signals to oneself and the world. That would be like my being presented a full-time permanent position in a content factory.
Those signals can include:
This is it, Baby. This is where you have landed in your career and it's in this niche that you're going to stay. Mobility could mean being able to land a better quality document review position in another setting. But don't even think about breaking out of this category of work.
The little bit of freedom once enjoyed is over. Being an employee locks one into being treated as an employee. The trade-off for the security and benefits is being required to comply with the employer's ongoing specific demands. Those might include late nights, not eligible for overtime. In contract work, if the assignment becomes unreasonable, the hunt starts for a better fit.
Co-workers pigeon-hole you. No longer is this a temp assignment. This is your career. Those with more prestigious positions at the firm, who have garlic in their souls, can make it their emotional hobby to treat you as less-than. Over and over again, some contract workers who are hired as staff lament, "It's very different than temping here."
On the other hand, once in a full-time position, document reviewers can showcase attitudes and abilities which attract the attention of higher-ups and those in other departments. However, this requires a strong sense of a professional self to develop a game plan for in-house mobility. The force field in traditional organizations is usually "Know your place."
As a long-term contract worker, I had found it difficult to adjust to full-time positions. Those were the days, though, when both freelance and full-time work was plentiful. So, I really did have a choice. Currently, when work is available, the tendency is to grab it, whether it's packaged as temporary or full-time permanent, with benefits.