I have 14 years of experience with SAP, mainly in FI/CO but also ABAP skills, strong integration knowledge with SD and MM and project management skills. For the last 11 years, I have been working as an independent consultant, generally with clients I have found through my own contacts, hence my need to continue to expand my skill set.

I now feel I am at a critical crossroad and I need to reconsider my approach for the next 10 years (I am currently 50 years old). Should I consider permanent positions with an SAP consulting partner to take me into other areas -- e.g., product development or maybe even SAP themselves -- or continue with contracting but try to expand the business to ensure that I have some backup security in a few years' time in case the contract market dries up? I would very much appreciate your view.

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I don't see the SAP contract market drying up. I think your decision should be based more on personal factors. It sounds to me like you are ready to make a career/lifestyle change. After a number of years as a contractor, this is a natural thing to want to do. I do see this as a good time in your age/life to make that move and make another push into challenging full-time leadership roles with a consulting practice.

I would think of your decision less in terms of financial security and more in terms of chasing your professional passion. I think you'll do fine financially either way as long as you continue to work hard in SAP and follow a well-thought strategy that you adjust with the market.

This was first published in December 2006

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