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Where to go from here?

By mfishlock ·
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Time to evaluate once again. I am a Novell 4.x CNE (studying for 5.x update test) and have 3 tests completed toward MCSE. I have worked the past year as backup to a Microsoft SQL DBA, picking up more skills.

The problem is I am working for a VERY small company who just can't seem
to afford to pay me very much.

I want to make more money, without selling my soul. Particularly, I would
like to avoid:

Lots of travel.
Lots of overtime.

Is there such a setting? Should I be considering going independent as a contractor? Should I work for a bigger VAR? I am concerned if I get a job back in the corporate world, my skills will start to stagnate.

Opinions?

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Where to go from here?

by TECHIWOMAN In reply to Where to go from here?

The answer to this question depends on where you live. Here in the Northwest, companies are crying for the skills you have both as a contractor and as a full time employee. In my experience, contractors make more money. However, the benifits are scarce. If you want to keep your skills current, you might want to look into contract work with a company that will pay to upgrade your skills. I currently work for such a contract company and I love it. I highly recommend it. I opened my own consultant business and the contractor pays my company. Many of the companies like to do this, especially those who pay very well. As a contractor, I set my hours-my pay-and my travel. If I don't want to travel, I don't. If you can handle the short layoff periods (up to two months), then I highly recommend contract work.

Depending on where you work, you may have more or less work than we do here in Seattle.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this further.

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Where to go from here?

by mfishlock In reply to Where to go from here?

The question was auto-closed by TechRepublic

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Where to go from here?

by defaultuser In reply to Where to go from here?

I would sit tight and continue studying. Obviously you've found a way to keep your job and pass exams at the same time. It's not always that way. Some jobs are just too time-consuming and demanding to concentrate on studying. So...sit tight, complete your MCSE, and then "test the market". Dual certification goes a long way compared to 1 certification and 1 "working on it", trust me. Once the calls come in, make sure you take a position that will further your skills. You're looking for a Network Administrator/Server Engineer position with a company that is running both Novell and NT...which will probably be a larger company, which is fine since it'll be a good time to learn from other, more experienced Administrators.
Hold off on becoming an independent consultant. It's not easy studying for your next exam while selling yourself. Plus, you want to come off as an "expert" in your technologies before you go independent, or else you'll get killed by newer people billing at a lower rate. When the

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Where to go from here?

by mfishlock In reply to Where to go from here?

The question was auto-closed by TechRepublic

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Where to go from here?

by MCSE Lee In reply to Where to go from here?

You may want to consider a larger consulting firm (check out www.teksystems.com). Most have a full-time, permanent position option (I know Tek does) that offers little or no overtime, no travel, regular salary (including full pay while on "bench time"), and great benefits (I get medical, dental, vision, life, short and long-term disability, 401(k), profit-sharing, education allowance, vacation, personal days, and more). The pay is usually great, and you have almost unlimited opportunities for growth (both personal and financial).

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Where to go from here?

by mfishlock In reply to Where to go from here?

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Where to go from here?

by wmmonroe In reply to Where to go from here?

If you're considering contracting you need to be aware that you may end up with the travel and overtime that you're wanting to avoid.
During the time that I've been an independent contractor there was a nine month period when I was commuting 1 hourand 45 minutes to and from a client's site (spending two nights a week away from home). There was also a three month period when I commuted 2 hours and 20 minutes each way (three nights a week away). The point is, as a contractor you have to be prepared to go where the work is.
Another consideration in independent contracting is that you will be responsible for maintaining and furthering your skills on your own. Not only can this be expensive, but you have to predict what technologies and tools will be in vogue in the future in order to maintain your marketability.
Finally, if you choose to become a contractor, you need to decide whether or not to incorporate your business. There are pros and cons to either choice.
None of this is meant to discourage yo

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Where to go from here?

by mfishlock In reply to Where to go from here?

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Where to go from here?

by dumbjohn In reply to Where to go from here?

You raise some very valid concerns, especially stagnating skills in a typical corporate environment. You want to have more normalized hours and not a lot of travel, too, so it sounds like striking out on your own may not be the right thing, unless you happen to be in an area where you could be succesful enough while still limiting your hours and travel. Perhaps a corporate environment which includes fairly good technological growth (to prevent becoming stagnant), yet isn't putting you out on a limb, financially (avoiding one of those omnipresent, "we'll make it up to you in shares," deals). Another alternative is the one raised in proposed answer 1; contracting out your services, either to a single client, or a small number.

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Where to go from here?

by mfishlock In reply to Where to go from here?

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