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Contract or Perm

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by jk2447, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hi All

    I am currently wondering if I should venture into the contract wintel market later this year, or stay where I am. Pro's of where I am, 30 days leave, training, good company, private health, odd bit of euro travel to France, Germany. Pro's (as far as I can tell) salary increase (potentially), wide variety of work and roles for a multitude of employers.

    I'm just thinking about it right now. I appreciate I'm fortune to have a full time position but then that can go to someone else if I leave. Family all OK not seeing me Monday to Friday. Am I right in thinking you can usually get off early on a Friday if you've done your hours? Work permitting etc.

    I'd quite fancy a spell abroad but I think I would be best working in the UK until I got used to everything.

    Just wondering what you guys thought? Did you do something similar?

    Any advice would be much appreciated. I love the company I work for now and in an ideal world once I'd got this out of my system I would like to work for them again.

    Jim
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  2. danielno8

    danielno8 Gigabyte Poster

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    Hey Jim,

    Hope you are well! I chose to do it initially because once I had decided I wanted a new job, it only seemed to be contract positions going about at this time. I am very glad I did it! The benefits i have seen are:

    - better work opportunities
    - EXTREMELY flexible (this is a purely project position, so I can work my hours between home and the office. Also, it doesn't matter when they are done...to a degree, meetings/deadlines dependant).
    - better money
    - Paid for every hour I work (especially good when i am offshore, 12 hour days + nightly allowance). In comparison to my last position where we were only paid the allowance, no extra for the additional 4.5 hours!). As i can end up away quite a lot (but pretty much always able to say I am unavailable when I don't want to) then it's a good way to make extra money.

    So far not much negatives....however, you are of course never too far from being unemployed! Our contracts are renewed very last minute, and usually for 6 months or less. I have made sure I have 6 months money saved up, so it's never too much of a concern. Truth is though, staff positions are probably not too much different.

    My intention is to take some time off later this year and do a few months travelling. Something I wouldn't have been able to consider really in a staff position.

    Cheers,
    Daniel
     
    Certifications: CCENT, CCNA
    WIP: CCNP
    Sparky likes this.
  3. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Thanks for your input mate I do appreciate it.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  4. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Jim,

    I read this a couple of days ago and wanted to think about a response to you.

    I think that contracting is a great way of working if you can afford to do it, what do I mean by that? Well there are some people who just can't adjust to the contractor lifestyle (I am not talking better wages), they can't accept the uncertaintly factor that comes from not knowing how long the role will last, whether you will get paid on time, how fast you will get another role after the last one ends etc.

    Don't get me wrong, being a contractor worked really well for me (it must have done as I did it for 10+ years) but there are times in the market that being a contractor doesn't pay. For instance at the start of the recession I found myself in a position I had never experienced before and that was being out of work for over six months and nothing on the horizon, I nearly lost my house because all my money by this point had been spent.

    During the hey day of my contracting however life was really REALLY good, I earnt a decent wage, spent more and could pick and choose my roles based on where and when the role would last (allowing me to move to Luxembourg for a couple of years or work in the City for some time, you get the idea).

    I have had some pretty ****ty roles that I had to take for one reason or another and unlike permanent roles I never really had the backing of a HR rep or the like. There are some places where there really is a mentality of them and us and if you're a contractor in a place that dislikes contractors that can make working there quite difficult.

    Throw in the downsides of no paid holiday\training\sick days etc and perm roles can start to look interesting (one of the reasons why I took on this role at work on a permanent basis was the fact that I got paid holidays\training and sick days), add in the chance of career progression that you rarely find in a contract role and all of a sudden things on the perm side can look up.

    Don't get me wrong, I know that when this role ends (and it will end one day although I hope not too soon) I will go back contracting and that's because I like the whole change of it, my longest contract had been 21 months and at the end of that I needed to move on because of the mundane things I was doing where as my role here at the moment allows for exposure to cutting edge technology and things are forever moving forwards and it's never a dull day.

    If someone were to ask me if they should go contracting or perm I would ask the following, are you looking to be on a daily or hourly rate, the further up the chain you go the more likely it is that you will be expected to take on a daily rate and all of a sudden you don't find that working 14 hour days for that fixed rate is very nice but it can still be expected (I have colleagues here who have often done 60+ hour weeks on a fixed daily rate, no over time, no time off in lieu, just their daily rate. I would also ask how far they were expected to commute (believe it or not that's a ballache, having spent up to 6 hours a day commuting soon takes it out of you). I would ask whether they can accept that they could be out of a role tomorrow or the next week and whether they can afford that (do they have a buffer that would allow them 6months down time).

    There are so many factors to look at as to whether contracting works for you that no one person has the right answer, I have seen people grow hugely from the experiences of contracting but I have also seen people fail abysmally and go back in to a perm role the next time around.

    What ever you decide to do good luck with it mate.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
    Sparky likes this.
  5. millsie

    millsie Byte Poster

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    Hiya,
    I have just in the last 2 weeks started my very first contract role and to be honest I am not that keen so far.

    I suppose I haven't yet given it enough time to see if it is right for me but at the moment i'm thinking not.

    The bonuses for me so far are:
    1. Getting a job! (I was out of work for a month after relocating so just getting a job was great)
    2. Its the perfect job for the next step in my career (but I think I was just very lucky and hopefully it will lead onto something better, and more permanent!)
    3. You can claim expenses

    Negatives:
    1. I agree with what Simon D said that it can feel like a them and us situation, the guys where I'm working are lifers, been there ages and I get the feeling sometimes that i'm not accepted and/or they don't like contractors but are forced to accept them!
    2. Hassle with agencies and umbrella companies.
    3. No holiday pay.
    4. Feeling like you have no support from your peers.
    5. Uncertainty going forward.
    6. Having to pay out for everything upfront eg, parking at work etc which all mounts up especially after having to wait 6 weeks for the initial first salary to be paid!!

    Dont let this put you off but I just wanted to be honest about my early experiences contracting.

    I will give it the full 6 months on this contract but will most likely try and get back into a permanent role soon after.

    All the best.

    Millsie
     
    Certifications: N+, CCNA, MCDST
    WIP: CCNP route 642-902

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