If I change the calendar to look at a week in the future, then look at mail or contacts, when I come back to the calendar, the view reverts back to this week. Is there a way to make Outlook calendar stay in the week I am working in until I am finished?
No. When you switch modules and come back to the calendar, it always resets to Today. It's worked like this for close to 20 years and I'm not expecting any changes in this area. While it can be annoying, there is a good reason for it: too many users would make appointments on the wrong date because they forget to reset the calendar to Today, because Outlook has always reset the calendar.
You do have a couple of options. If you use Outlook 2013 or 2016, you can dock the Calendar Peek (that is the annoying little calendar that pops up in the navigation pane when you move over the Calendar icon or the word Calendar at the bottom of Outlook's window.)
The selected date in the peek is persistent as long as you don't switch modules, and it lists the appointments scheduled for the selected day and the next six days, giving you a good overview of your schedule.
If you prefer working in the big calendar, right click on the calendar and choose Open in New Window. You can change folders in the other window and not affect the selection in the calendar window.