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Quit a full time job for consulting?

By silvioandpauly ·
I may have a chance to leave a full time job with bene's, for a 12 month consultant w/hire option. The money is about 30% more, about 1/2 more commute.

Has anyone made the change? Was it worth it or did you leave a cushy secure job for a rat-race?

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where to from there?

by jeffersnet In reply to Quit a full time job for ...

I have thought about that too but it seemed to take a long time to get one solid offer for me so I turned it down. I'm afraid that if I take a one year job that I'll end up having to take a position that pays less than what I have now after the year is up. I have another offer for $35 an hour (W2) for a one year job but I'd give up a $22 an hour job (also, W2) that I don't think will end until I'm ready to leave.

I think the job market is OK but it isn't good enough to take a lot of chances unless you really want to leave.

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Contract employment isn't for everybody

by stress junkie In reply to Quit a full time job for ...

I worked as a contract employee for 15 years. I also worked for 5 years split between two "real" jobs. Now I'm self employed, which is different from contract work.

Let me tell you something about contract employment. First you never really have a vacation unless you get a contract job that is longer than 1 year. If you are in between jobs you have the stress of not having an income with no prospects of ever working again. When you are working people don't want you to take time off because they have a requirement for a temp to show up every day for a certain period of time. So vacations don't really exist.

Next is the ANNUAL income. It might seem like making 50% more money while you are employed is great but you may be unemployed for months between jobs. There have been good years and bad years financially for me but I had two periods of about 8 months between jobs. That can get on your nerves. If you are married it may become a problem for your spouse.

Your contract house may or may not offer health insurance. If it does it won't be cheap. If it doesn't you're SOL. My home state, Massachusetts, is just now deploying a program to make individual health insurance possible. Until this point I had gone without health insurance when I was contracting. Frankly, that puts everything that you own at risk if you have a dramatic hospital experience. I was lucky. The only time that I've had an expensive hospital stay was several years ago at my second "real" job. That hospital bill was $15,000 of which I had to pay $3,000 while my health insurance paid the balance. If this had happened when I was on a contract job I would have had to pay the whole cost. That would certainly have taken a nasty chunk out of my life savings.

The people that you work with, the "real" employees of your clients, will envy your hourly rate in comparison to theirs. They may be very hostile to you.

Don't EVER complain about the behavior of your client's direct employees. You are always an outsider. The direct employees are like the children of the management. If you complain about one of the client's direct employees the result will be exactly as if you had complained about a child to its mother. You will lose.

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Now let me tell you why I stayed with it. It is all about the kind of personality that you have. I happen to be one of the people who, when they have a "real" job, feels trapped in a situation where I am working with people who don't share my commitment to excellence and with management that are idiots. Briefly, I am one of those people who is a chronic malcontent. I find that I can put those issues out of my mind when I am working as an independent service provider rather than a direct employee. When I am a direct employee I feel that I have a responsibility to the business' shareholders and their customers to do everything possible to correct problems. In contrast, when I am an independent service provider I can just focus on doing my part of the job as well as I can while not looking at the structural problems in the business.

I would say that if you can be happy working as a direct employee for a business then you should probably do that. I would further say that anyone should only get into contract work or self employment if they are miserable working in a direct employment position. Direct employment is much easier. The difference in pay is not the reason to start contract work. You could end up making very little in any given year.

I hope this helps.

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Great Advice

by silvioandpauly In reply to Contract employment isn't ...

Thanks for your experienced advice. The main reason I'm considering is what you described "trapped in a situation where I am working with people who don't share my commitment to excellence and with management that are idiots"

The agency tried to explain that this is done to try me out, because it's hard to fire people (not where I work - ha ha). But it's a 2-way thing - they want me to have enough trust to leave my current job which pays well, and is fairly low pressure.

On top of that , I'm they type that worries about these things along with the anxiety......

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Financial planning for contractors

by stress junkie In reply to Great Advice

If you decide to go ahead with contracting then you may benefit from my financial planning strategy. This approach has made all the difference between success and failure for me.

First understand that the contract house that gives you a job may not have any work for you when this particular contract ends. When you first interview with them they all say that they want to be your best employment resource. Invariably you will have to look for work at several contract houses when this particular contract ends. There are several contract houses that got me more than one job but never two in a row.

The temp to hire situation can cause bad feelings if you decline their offer at the end of the contract. They usually take it personally.

OK. Now the financial planning stuff.

You absolutely must put a very large nestegg into savings. This will carry you when you are between jobs.

You should avoid credit and minimise your monthly bills. I have one credit card and I rarely carry a balance more than a month.

The flip side of that is to pay cash for almost everything. I financed my truck 7 years ago and paid it off early. Otherwise I have no debt. I own my house outright but it is nothing luxurious.

In summary, live well below your means, minimise your required monthly payments, and save money until it hurts.

Good luck.

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by silvioandpauly In reply to Financial planning for co ...

Sounds like you have great control - something alot of us could use.

I think I'm going to make the leap - it's a dead-end at my current job.

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I've been down that road

by jck In reply to Contract employment isn't ...

Silvio, my last job was a 2.5 year contract writing the software to do the work order entry and management for the 2nd largest power corp in Florida. I got lucky and actually got one vacation for 11 calendar days.

Stress, I'd love to talk with you about self-employment sometime. I'm looking at starting my own business within the next 6 months. My area of FL is booming and I want to get in now and establish myself while the market is growing like wildfire and maybe actually be able to setup a shop in 12-18 months if I can establish the client base. Otherwise, I'd just keep doing things out of my house and within law and regulation.

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I'd recommend oz_media for info on self employement

by stress junkie In reply to I've been down that road

I've found that many posts by oz_media have been very informative regarding self employment. He's been doing it a lot longer than me. I have a lot of experience in contract work. I only started my own business about six months ago so I've got a lot to learn. Nevertheless I'll send you a TR private message so we can talk. My own career success was greatly enhanced by other people helping me so I'm always happy to help others.

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Excellent Overview

by KimFrencho In reply to Contract employment isn't ...

12 years ago, I took the leap from the corporate world and started my own business. I did it primarily because I'm highly motivated, can work an communicate with just about anyone and had a true love for my field (IT consulting for Engineers).

I can tell you that if you are truly the best in your field, you will eventually seek out jobs that call you as often as you have time available. I never have a time when there are weeks without work. In fact, sometimes I have a hard time getting time off. Speaking of which, when you work for yourself, taxes, insurance and vacation time are all now really large expenses. So until you have a steady stream of known income, you will need to balance your rate against all those expenses, while trying to keep your rate cometitive.

Also, while on site, do not feel the need to talk to anyone about your rate. Play humble consultant. Don't drive up to a potential new customer in a Jaguar. You want to appear more professional than the staff you work with, but you don't want to be an outcast. And DO NOT MAKE FRIENDS. It's ok to chat, but don't get too involved with the staff. Remember, you want to stay under the radar. Do excellent work and work hard.

And to Stress Junkie's point, it is all about your personality. If you don't mind being alone (essentially you are an outcast) and you take great pride in your work and you work hard and don't mind passing on the "standing around the water cooler" talk, you will do fine.

Word of your good work will spread. I'm a female, selling IT consulting resources to engineering companies....If I can do that, there's no reason why anyone who is good in their field and can communicate with all others, can't be a success as a consultant.

Good luck!

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talk about this with your spouse

by PENGUINSRULE In reply to Quit a full time job for ...

contracting is a huge lifestyle change that you need to talk about with your spouse:
rewards- you work for you!!!
more money most likely
more autonomy
you will end up being more highly
skilled

cons - you'll work more
you have down times that you have to
factor in.
you mayhave to travel more
you have to constantly be looking for your next assignment..
they will never put you in authority..
you are responsible for your own training..
it may be hard on your spouse/family

personal experience...

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Risk Takers

by totalfaith2002 In reply to Quit a full time job for ...

The consulting business is for people who want to make as much money as possible and are willing to take the associated risk. The real question is do you prefer the so called "cushy secure job" or can you handle not being sure if your contract will be renewed at the end of its term. Keep in mind most companies are "at will" which means you can be let go at any time anyway. Just make sure you have enough money to pay your bills if you don't get hired.

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