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Am I crazy for considering leaving my FTE for a Short-Term Contract..?

rsxwithslicksrsxwithslicks Member Posts: 75 ■■■□□□□□□□
So I've been with my current company (small family owned business) for 3+ years. Started off as a System Admin and moved up to IT Team Lead. Lately work/life balance has gone from bad to what life..? Granted no one is pointing a gun at my head to stay but work just never really stops. Seems like any form of light at the end of the tunnel gets dimmer and dimmer as we progress further into the year.

Saw a job posting at a prestigious school as system admin. Unfortunately its a 6 month contract with a possibility of it becoming full time. Am I crazy for considering leaving my full-time position for a contract position?

Pros Staying FTE:
- Job Security
- 401k
- Benefits
-Close to current place of residence (Less than 5 miles)

Cons Staying FTE:
- Limited Advancement (IT Manager informed me he would like to have me become IT Manager when/if he gets title of Director of IT. Currently that position does not even exist at my company.. Lol)
- Feel like I'm almost at peak of what I'm going to learn at my company. Every time I suggest new projects/technologies, I am shot down.
- Management/Executives allow Users to run amok and expect IT to clean up/fix the issue instead of allowing procedures to be put in place.
- Only salaried IT employees are IT Manager and I. Which means we're essentially on call 24/7.
- Work/Life balance is more work than anything.


Pros Going Contract:
- Possibility of working for a better company. (They mention work/life balance in ad? Lol.)
- Possibility of better benefits/pay.
- Possibility for more advancement or at least a well recognized company on resume.
- Possibility of free education for myself or children. (Not college educated. Also no children.)
(I think all these Pros are really dependent on being able to turn the contract into a FTE.)

Cons Going Contract:
- No job security
- No benefits
- Daily commute is 60 miles each way into the heart of Socal's infamous traffic.
- Cost of living in that area is much higher.

I've never worked contract before so I don't fully understand the pros/cons. Any insight/advice that help me make a well rounded decision?

Comments

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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,050 Admin
    It's always a gamble when leaving a job. You need to plan ahead before you leave a job so you don't find yourself in a financial bind if things don't work out. If you can't come up with a sufficient Plan B to adequately sustain your financial obligations if you don't get the full-time position from the contract job then I would stay put until you do have a plan B.
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    EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,077 ■■■■■■■■□□
    What kind of contract? Are you working for a company that then contracts you out or are you contracting directly, aka 1099? What about health insurance, how will this change affect any Calif. requirements? If 1099, they are typically responsible for both sides of social security and medicare payments so you'll pay an extra 7.5% in taxes to cover those.
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    BlucodexBlucodex Member Posts: 430 ■■■■□□□□□□
    In your situation, I would leave. I've been in smaller environments and there just isn't much budget to grow IMO. If you truly want to advance and not just collect a family check you need to taste something larger. It doesn't help you're currently over-utilized and most likely under-compensated.
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    DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Member Posts: 2,753 ■■■■■■■■■■
    JDMurray wrote: »
    It's always a gamble when leaving a job. You need to plan ahead before you leave a job so you don't find yourself in a financial bind if things don't work out. If you can't come up with a sufficient Plan B to adequately sustain your financial obligations if you don't get the full-time position from the contract job then I would stay put until you do have a plan B.


    This is about the best advice you are going to find.
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    TechGromitTechGromit Member Posts: 2,156 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Well if your going to make the leap, now is the time to do it. The job market is good right now, if things don't work out, the chances of landing another job are favorable, at this time. Just so you know, the contract to perm bait is often used to make a job sound more attractive to candidates by staffing agencies. The conversion rate is somewhere in the 25% range.
    Lately work/life balance has gone from bad to what life..? Granted no one is pointing a gun at my head to stay but work just never really stops. Seems like any form of light at the end of the tunnel gets dimmer and dimmer as we progress further into the year.

    This is another issue entirely, if you allow an employer to work you to death, they will happily do it. You need to push back at some point and tell them they either need to hire more help or extend there deadlines to be more reasonable. Everyone has to put in more hours to complete some project or meet some deadline on occasion, but when the projects are all nonstop one after another and your working 10+ hours every day for months, it's time to start pushing back, and tell your employer enough is enough either they need to make changes are your walking. In my opinion, a project with a tight deadline should only last a few weeks with you working 10 or 12 hours a day, till things go back to normal 8 hour days. If you never had a 8 hour day, it's time to start evaluating it this the kind of life you want. 60k sounds great with a 40 hour work week, but with a typical 60 hour work week your really only making $19 a hour.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
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    volfkhatvolfkhat Member Posts: 1,060 ■■■■■■■■□□
    icon1.png Am I crazy for considering leaving my FTE for a Short-Term Contract..?


    Actually, the real question you should be asking:
    Am i crazy for staying at my current job.


    And based on what you have described... the answer would be: Absolutely.



    Cons Going Contract:
    - No job security
    - No benefits
    - Daily commute is 60 miles each way into the heart of Socal's infamous traffic.
    - Cost of living in that area is much higher.

    Job security is a Myth; you can get fired in an FTE position.

    No Benefits- not a dealbreaker for a single guy; just get your own ACA (Obamacare).

    Crazy Commute - thats a Dealbreaker for me. lol

    Higher Cost of Living- Whatever. Just make sure your next job pays enough to cover all these additional expenses.

    Get off your Duff & Start applying :]
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    DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Member Posts: 2,753 ■■■■■■■■■■
    volfkhat wrote: »
    Job security is a Myth; you can get fired in an FTE position.

    Sort of. It's annoying for management to build a case and get HR involved. Contractors are simple to remove, no HR hoopla.

    Most of the time they will unassign you work and put you off into a corner.... Anyone with pride or the willingness to move up, gets the message and moves on.... That IMO is a huge difference.
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    rsxwithslicksrsxwithslicks Member Posts: 75 ■■■□□□□□□□
    EANx wrote: »
    What kind of contract? Are you working for a company that then contracts you out or are you contracting directly, aka 1099? What about health insurance, how will this change affect any Calif. requirements? If 1099, they are typically responsible for both sides of social security and medicare payments so you'll pay an extra 7.5% in taxes to cover those.

    It looks like a couple job sites direct you to apply directly on the school's site, so I'm going to assume its a 1099 gig. I haven't looked into health insurance for myself according to CA requirements yet. I am aware that I would have to cover teh additional 7.5% in taxes. Anything else I should consider as a 1099?
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    rsxwithslicksrsxwithslicks Member Posts: 75 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Blucodex wrote: »
    In your situation, I would leave. I've been in smaller environments and there just isn't much budget to grow IMO. If you truly want to advance and not just collect a family check you need to taste something larger. It doesn't help you're currently over-utilized and most likely under-compensated.

    I think the company has the budget, they just don't understand how to properly utilize it to allow more growth. Instead of paying for higher quality workers who will efficiently get the job done, they go through temps left and right. They don't seem to understand/care that having to retrain temps every few weeks/months is wasting time/money in the long run. Especially when the person who's training the temp has only been there a couple weeks themselves.
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    Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,310 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I was 100% on taking the new job, until I saw the 60 miles each way in bad traffic part. I'm not from that area so what does that translate to in time, like 2 hours each way? You can probably forget any extra money you might be making with a commute like that.

    Now, with that said, your work environment now sounds bad, so if you don't take this job, look for something else. As the others said, nothing is a guarantee in life, all you can do is try harder and always keep your head up for more opportunities.
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    rsxwithslicksrsxwithslicks Member Posts: 75 ■■■□□□□□□□
    TechGromit wrote: »
    Well if your going to make the leap, now is the time to do it. The job market is good right now, if things don't work out, the chances of landing another job are favorable, at this time. Just so you know, the contract to perm bait is often used to make a job sound more attractive to candidates by staffing agencies. The conversion rate is somewhere in the 25% range.


    This is another issue entirely, if you allow an employer to work you to death, they will happily do it. You need to push back at some point and tell them they either need to hire more help or extend there deadlines to be more reasonable. Everyone has to put in more hours to complete some project or meet some deadline on occasion, but when the projects are all nonstop one after another and your working 10+ hours every day for months, it's time to start pushing back, and tell your employer enough is enough either they need to make changes are your walking. In my opinion, a project with a tight deadline should only last a few weeks with you working 10 or 12 hours a day, till things go back to normal 8 hour days. If you never had a 8 hour day, it's time to start evaluating it this the kind of life you want. 60k sounds great with a 40 hour work week, but with a typical 60 hour work week your really only making $19 a hour.


    Congrats on your recent move up!
    I don't think the job market is quite as good in CA at the moment. Lol. Even the amount of postings on job sites and recruiters seemed to have slimmed down the last 6 months or so. Well.. To be fair, I have been paying more attention to companies with higher employee reviews. Don't want to jump into a position similar to where I am now.. Lol. I was kind of worried about it just being a carrot to dangle in my face. Lol. I am a little worried it being a carrot especially since the reviews of that division of the school are good but seems its primarily soft funded. Then again I kind of wonder if having held a position at that school would help future employment opportunities even if only a contract..?


    I've tried pushing back but putting an ultimatum on the table will lead to my immediate dismissal. My company has a tendency to let people go immediately (within 30-45 minutes of receiving their notice) instead of using the 2 weeks to bring other people up to speed and tie loose ends. I think when I leave the company (whether for this job or another), I will exit gracefully as possible. Unless I win the lotto.. Then I'm leaving with 2 fingers in the air (totally kidding.. lol). 60k in California is a barely livable wage... but I understand what you're getting at. I explained that even with my promotion and raise, I'm still barely at what I was making per hour before I moved up.
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    rsxwithslicksrsxwithslicks Member Posts: 75 ■■■□□□□□□□
    volfkhat wrote: »
    Job security is a Myth; you can get fired in an FTE position.

    No Benefits- not a dealbreaker for a single guy; just get your own ACA (Obamacare).

    Crazy Commute - thats a Dealbreaker for me. lol

    Higher Cost of Living- Whatever. Just make sure your next job pays enough to cover all these additional expenses.

    Get off your Duff & Start applying :]

    While FTE isn't guaranteed anywhere, it's pretty safe to say that I won't be let go unless I do something specifically that deserves immediate termination. One of my issues with the company is that the bar is set too low on employees. Seems they care more about people showing up than how productive they are. I'm not a do minimum type of work person so I look rather stellar in comparison.. Lol.

    I've never not had benefits before so I'll have to look into it.

    I would hate the commute but I have considered just renting a small room to stay nearby during the week to minimize fuel/travel time. I would continue to rent where I am now until either the contract turns permanent/ends. It would roughly cost about the same as if I moved out that way and don't have to deal with first/last deposits or the actual process of moving.

    That's what I'm hoping for.. Lol.

    Thank you!
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    rsxwithslicksrsxwithslicks Member Posts: 75 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Danielm7 wrote: »
    I was 100% on taking the new job, until I saw the 60 miles each way in bad traffic part. I'm not from that area so what does that translate to in time, like 2 hours each way? You can probably forget any extra money you might be making with a commute like that.

    Now, with that said, your work environment now sounds bad, so if you don't take this job, look for something else. As the others said, nothing is a guarantee in life, all you can do is try harder and always keep your head up for more opportunities.
    Lol I would say that 2 hours each way would be light traffic. LA's bumper to bumper..? Probably closer to 3+ but I as mentioned above, I would look to rent a small room during the week to offset the gas/time at least until I find out if it works out or not.

    Thank you. I'm keeping my eyes open but reluctant to jump ship for the first seemingly ok company. I don't want to end up in the same position I am in now.
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    EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,077 ■■■■■■■■□□
    It looks like a couple job sites direct you to apply directly on the school's site, so I'm going to assume its a 1099 gig. I haven't looked into health insurance for myself according to CA requirements yet. I am aware that I would have to cover teh additional 7.5% in taxes. Anything else I should consider as a 1099?

    1099s should always have professional liability insurance. It's less likely to happen in education but in the corporate world, a 1099s mistake that causes an outage resulting in lost revenue could get them sued.
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    TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■■□□□□
    60 miles each way in Socal? Forget that...you are going to spend between 3-5 hours in traffic everyday (guesstimate). Although you might get more exposure to different things, schools and universities are known for paying less than regular companies and coupled with the traffic it doesn't seem anywhere near worth it. Maybe if the job was full time instead of contract but you could always get a job at a different company who has tuition reimbursement, which unfortunately for schools makes that benefit irrelevant. As an example, I would rather make $70k and have $10k of tuition reimbursement versus getting paid $50-60k and free (or nearly free) school.
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