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Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by dales, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

    Following on from the thread the other day, I am seriously considering going into contracting work. My new perm role is turning out to be a bad move I think office politicorama and the main reason they got me onboard was to help with their virtualisation project which keeps slipping backwards and I really dont want to lapse my skills in this area. At the moment I'm just a windows admin which is not quite how I thought it was going to turn out. Its making me really unhappy.

    So I'm seriously thinking of contracting as looking round the job boards its opening up a whole new world of opportunities for expanding my abilities reasonably quickly. Along with this I am really worried about biting the bullet and contracting as I've never been a contractor before and have no idea what it will be like. I've applied for a couple of contracting roles that would suit me down the the ground but I'm assuming that even if they were interested the fact that they would have to wait 4 weeks for my notice period would put them off straight away.

    I really dont want to chuck in the towel without a firm role to goto straight away with 4 mouths to feed at home I cannot really quit and hope for the best.

    I could phone up the main recruiters in my area and ask them how things are at the moment for contractors but of course a large pinch of salt would be required with anything they say in general.

    So how are you contractors finding work at the moment can you quite easily jump from the end of one contract into the start of another, and how do you find your contracts generally go, do you climb up the ladder a little with each one financially and experience wise or do you have to take that helpdesk contract once in a while when things are quiet.

    Work at the moment is doing my head in and my other half who is normally the voice of steadfast reason is telling me to do what makes me happy which isn't helping because that answer pushes me towards contracting or at least moving on somewhere else (I was expecting her to say the opposite and naturally I would do what Mrs Dales tells me too).

    Sorry for the long post but I couldn't think of anybody else to ask who would give honest answers to the questions.
    Certifications: vExpert 2014+2015+2016,VCP-DT,CCE-V, CCE-AD, CCP-AD, CCEE, CCAA XenApp, CCA Netscaler, XenApp 6.5, XenDesktop 5 & Xenserver 6,VCP3+5,VTSP,MCSA MCDST MCP A+ ITIL F
    WIP: Nothing
  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

    I have been a long term contractor (12+ years) and chances are that within the next 6 weeks I will be going perm (I was approached by my current employer last week, spoke to HR today and they are going to present a package to me in the not too distant future).

    At the moment however I am in two minds as to whether this is a good idea because like you I want to move into virtualisation and unfortunately this role isn't going to offer me that opportunity, what it is going to offer me tho is a decent package, paid holidays and potential training, things that obviously as a contractor I either don't get or have to pay myself.

    It's funny on the one hand I love the life of a contractor, I like the decent wage and the fact I can decide whether I want to do what I am doing with the people I am doing it with but on the other hand I don't like the time out of work and the loss of earnings if I go away (holiday, sick or training).

    Work isn't hard to find at the moment, I was approached yesterday about a 6 month contract back in Banking but again it's not virtualisation (SCCM which I can do but really want to move away from).

    Would I recommend contracting?? TBH I am not sure because it really doesn't suit everyone, I know people who simply can't do contracting because of the uncertainty whereas others love it (like me). One thing I do have to stress tho is that you're expected to be at the top of your game as a contractor, it's pretty unlikely that you will walk into a role that will allow you to learn on the job (that's what permie roles are for).
    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).
  3. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Any IT companies you could work for mate? Means you get the security of a full time job and also the variation of the contracts that come in.
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  4. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

    Yep good idea mate, if you go to a Managed Service company, you will get mega exposure on lots of different areas.
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  5. Apexes

    Apexes Gigabyte Poster

    Depending on where you are located, work can vary.

    When not in Berlin i live in the south west - and i get a few offers every now and again, i had two calls last month regarding contract work, one 6 month role in a local banking place, and a 9 month role at a university.

    However, i have no missus, no kids, no major commitments each month to pay for - all i pay for is pretty much my rent and motorbike plus usual bills. If you've got a family to look after then i guess it is a whole different ball game.

    Once you start getting into the flow of things, finding work is normally fairly easy, providing the work is out there - i have several agency's who call me every few months to see how i'm doing and if i'm looking for work (As i've worked with them previsouly they know of roles i'd be good for, and i've proved i can do the job - and obviously they get commission if they place me at a company)

    When i finished any role i'd always make sure the company gave me at least 4 weeks notice - usually within 2 weeks i'd have found another job to jump into. But i think i have been fairly lucky in that respect.

    As simon mentioned - the downside is the holiday's, if your ill & training etc. April & may alone this year i'll lose a weeks pay due to about 5 bank holidays!

    Some umbrella providers will make a sort of like "Pot" for any pay you want to put aside for holiday pay, and you don't pay tax on it either. - Each week i put 50 quid away into my pot, and i can take that out any time i like, if i've been ill for a day or so, or if im going on holiday, if i don't touch it, it just keeps piling up, and can be useful if i need it, they can pay it to me within 7 days notice, however much i require.

    Personally, i am looking to go permanent sometime soon, i've found a role which i absolutely love doing, and the company are looking to offer me a permanent role soon (hopefully) - I've got until November on my contract to work out, and then with any luck it'll be an offer for a permanent role then.

    I enjoy contracting, but i want the benefits now, i need to get my pension sorted properly, and i want holiday pay, and also on the company's profit share, everyone else got a fair bit last year, all i got was re-imbursement for bus travel :mrgreen:

    Either way, whatever you decide to do, i hope it goes well for you :)
    Certifications: 70-243 MCTS: ConfigMgr 2012 | MCSE: Private Cloud
  6. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

    Hadn't thought of working for an IT company, I'll have to look around and see whats about, I think because of where I live (berks/ox border) I've always know that getting the tasty jobs and compensation would involve alot of communiting which with a family is hard to swallow cause it obviously eats into the time I can spend with them. I've already applied for a contracting role which sounds right up my street but obviously the 4 week notice thing will put them off straight away i guess.

    I'll have a look round and see what IT companies are about, I've started adding recruiters on linkedin and and ringing around to see whats about. Theres a voice in my head that is saying to stay put and grit my teeth cause its a job, but theres another part thats missing the bigger vmware role I played at my last company and that I'll just be sat here (reasonably well paid) changing font sizes for users for the next few years otherwise.
    Certifications: vExpert 2014+2015+2016,VCP-DT,CCE-V, CCE-AD, CCP-AD, CCEE, CCAA XenApp, CCA Netscaler, XenApp 6.5, XenDesktop 5 & Xenserver 6,VCP3+5,VTSP,MCSA MCDST MCP A+ ITIL F
    WIP: Nothing
  7. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    I've been contracting for around 7 years and permanent for about 9 before that.

    Re-numeration wise contracting has been far better for me, however I do not have a wife and kids and often had to do 12 hour days and move around the country with large commutes or living in hotels. No pension, health care, company car, training, bonuses, share schemes, holiday pay, sick pay, re-redundancy etc.

    A good permanent job can be better than a contract job, but good permanent jobs that also pay well are hard to find.

    I came to the conclusion that a lot of permanent jobs perks are non-existent these days and in reality the promised job security does not exist so in reality you are pretty much a contractor anyway...

    Job wise its pretty similar in most respects.

    To me perm consultancy roles are generally worse than normal perm or contracting roles, you do not get the perks of a nice stable perm job nor of contract rates, yet you are still expected to move around a lot, do long hours, lose a lot of personal time in hotels / on the road and be top of your game.

    The consultancy company is generally just your 'umbrella comp' or middle man, they will expect to get an extra 20-25% at least on top of your salary in order to make money, they are little different from an agency in this regard. Generally you will get paid less than contracting but have a similar work life, you will however get paid holidays, mentoring, personal projects etc.

    I think its essential that you have some financial security or minimal outgoings or ideally both if you plan to go contracting, some contracts will wait 4 weeks, but again its better if you can afford to take the risk of months between contracts and are very confident in your abilities and skill set.

    You will have to perpetually look for work and market yourself and explain yourself to recruiters that call themselves market experts but in reality know nothing about your industry and often stand as an obstacle between you and your next contract.

    Its generally more likely that you will get given crappy jobs nobody else wants to do or can do as a contractor, that is why you're there, you're the 'hired gun', in most companies the permie's will fight for the nice projects and get them. In a good market you will be able to pick and choose gigs, in a bad market you will be fighting with other contractors for gig's you don't really want and dropping your rate. If you're lucky you'll have saved up enough money in the good times to sun yourself on a beach somewhere exotic for 6 months while you wait for the market to recover...

    One thing I notice from permanent jobs is how many people take time off to 'collect little billy from school' etc, permanent staff often get away with a lot. If you are a contractor its highly uncommon to get these perks. Poor time keeping / abstinence for contractors generally means immediate contract termination, and a bad reference. In some instances agencies will even keep 100% of your invoice for early termination.

    I would recommend reading around contractor.co.uk for a better idea of whats involved.

    As to myself I'm currently traveling in Asia and glad for the break, still undecided as to whether my next job will be permanent or contract, I expect the market will decide for me.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH

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