I am hoping to find some contract work to fill my time while I am working on job applications/waiting for the economy to improve (ha!). This still seems like a vague aspiration to me. I still have to find someone who needs me to do work and convince them to pay me for it, which is the central struggle of the job hunter. But there is a lower standard, contractors are less expensive (yup, because they make less, either in hourly rate or because there are no benefits), and aren't so long term. I am just trying to color my CV with more industry-experience before I eventually crack and get a post-doc, so my standards are lower too.
I've got this one lingering lead for an equity based contract, and the nature of the small start-up means that for all our big plans to get things going, a contract has never actually appeared. I was complaining to my brother about how I WANT to start this work, but I feel like I should wait until there is a real contract, but bringing it up hasn't seemed to help. He suggested I write my own contract- which to me gets at the heart of why I want to take this contract even though there is no economic benefit; I have never seen a contract before. Like most things in business, I am a complete novice, and need some immersion school. Well, he sent me a link to a site with contract templates ( I used Rocket Lawyer, you can use them for a week free and create as many legal documents as you might forsee very easily, but there are other services out there). I created a quick contract to formalize the nature of the "we work together" relationship that was left open broadly to renew or terminate in a couple months. It made me feel really empowered to send off the email. "I look forward to working with you once you have signed my contract."
However, this does bring up a lot of other issues I have about this intermediate type of work. Should I form my own business (for legal/tax reasons)? If I actually make any money, how will I figure out who to pay my taxes too? I formerly thought I would never want to deal with those things, and thought I would pursue a job where taxes and business entities were more clear cut, but I think having some professional independence may give me some flexibility in the types of positions I can accept and work I'll be able to do. But will it make me more appealing as a candidate? Investigation to continue.