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MQSeries.net Forum IndexGeneral DiscussionMoving from full term employment to contract work

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GheorgheDragos
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:10 am Post subject: Moving from full term employment to contract work Reply with quote

Acolyte

Joined: 28 Jun 2018
Posts: 51

Dear MQ colleagues,

For a while now I have been stagnating, both technically and professionally. Having been around with my current employer for more than 5 years, I ended up in some auto satisfaction bubble, where I don't strive to make any progress any more. The bureaucracy, peer negativity and desire not to change anything out of fear that a problem might arise that one cannot solve, and the ever stagnating financial gain along with increased expenses has left me with a bitter taste and for a while I have been pondering with the idea of leaving my current job and being open to work as a contractor, travelling all over Europe and earning ( what I feel ) is a more adequate pay for my hard earned skills and creativity ( i hope ).
The problem is the following. I need to give my current firm a 3 months notice period. Nobody until now was willing to wait for me this long ( except one firm who did not even invite me for an interview because I do not hold a university diploma ). So I am thinking, very carefully, to quit my job, and start searching for contract work.
As a father and a husband, and the main provider, I am anxious to do so. I feel however that this step must be taken sooner or later, otherwise I am stuck in long term employment ( with all its benefits of course, I am not saying it is a bad thing ).
My question is, has anyone felt like this before ? Has someone made the step from long term employment to contract work and if yes, how did you make the move ? Have you had a lump sum sitting around as buffer while waiting for the 1st opportunity ? Was it worth the move ? Pro/cons ?

Thank you for your time and I hope I am posting in the right section.

Dragos
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Vitor
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:12 am Post subject: Re: Moving from full term employment to contract work Reply with quote

Grand High Poobah

Joined: 11 Nov 2005
Posts: 26093
Location: Texas, USA

GheorgheDragos wrote:
I hope I am posting in the right section


This is the General Discussion section; we accept a wide range of topics here

GheorgheDragos wrote:
Has someone made the step from long term employment to contract work and if yes, how did you make the move ?


I have, and have made the move back to full time employment.

Disclaimer: Everything that follows is either my personal experience, or my personal opinion. Other people may have had different experiences or may hold different, equally valid opinions.


GheorgheDragos wrote:
I need to give my current firm a 3 months notice period.


That's a long notice period, and I think you will find that very few employers will wait, especially one trying to fill a contract position (where typically an urgent need has been identified and they're trying to back fill).

GheorgheDragos wrote:
one firm who did not even invite me for an interview because I do not hold a university diploma


I share your pain. I was in the same position and had a very tortured conversation with the teenage wage slave that was trying to input me into their candidates system. She accepted that, at the time, I'd been working in the IT arena longer than she'd been alive but without putting my university details onto the screen:

Quote:
the next button stays grey and I can't click it


We parted friends, I didn't get an interview but I did get a BSc to forestall future similar issues.

GheorgheDragos wrote:
how did you make the move ?


My then employer cancelled the project I was working on. In accordance with their standard practice, they terminated the employment of everyone associated with the project, deleted all the source code, compiled object & design documents and scattered the server hardware through the organization.

They didn't like evidence of failure.

GheorgheDragos wrote:
Have you had a lump sum sitting around as buffer while waiting for the 1st opportunity ?


I had a nice redundancy settlement that paid the bills for a few months plus some savings. It's also worth pointing out that 2 years later I was flat broke, living on credit cards & ramen noodles scratching for work.

GheorgheDragos wrote:
Was it worth the move ? Pro/cons ?


For me, yes. To be clear I was between wives at the time & my bils did not include alimony / child support / elder support so during the period I mention above, it was only me starving. After that little dip (and with a diploma to satisfy the HR system) things went well. I learned to make proper provision in my rate for living & travel expenses, save properly for the lean times and I also got to travel a lot. I met a lot of very good people (as well as @mqjeff & @exerk!), made a contact admin amount of money and saw a lot of interesting places.

On the downside, I'm now allergic to hotel rooms with that beige color scheme and cookie cutter art. I owned a house for 6 years which by my calculation I actually lived in for a total of 4 weeks (made up of weekends and odd nights). To get married again, I took full time employment so I could be home every night.

That's my experience for what it's worth. You have to do what's best in your personal situation. I understand the satisfaction bubble you mention, recognize the bureaucracy you rail against as well as the fear of change - all hallmarks of any organization past a certain size. But only you can do what's best for you, and I wish you well in whatever you elect to do.
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bruce2359
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:59 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Poobah

Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 9287
Location: US: west coast, almost. Otherwise, enroute.

with Vitor. You must find your own way. (voice of Yoda.)

Road warrior life has its rewards. In these times of political unrest (riots) and COVID-19, travel seems to be more liability.

What can your current employer do if you give them only 2 weeks notice? Can you negotiate a shorter notice period?

When I was a manager, anyone who gave notice was immediately barred from the physical site, and had all system access revoked. I can't imagine why an organization would want to have an unhappy employee remain on staff.

I read somewhere, a bumper sticker possibly, that for each day you work at a job (or are in a relationship) you hate, two days are gone from your life.
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Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live.
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tczielke
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:51 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Guardian

Joined: 08 Jul 2010
Posts: 939
Location: Illinois, USA

My two cents is that if you have a wife and kids and are the main provider, error on the side of caution. One thing I do to make my job more enjoyable is look for ways to expand my technical skills (e.g. write an MQ monitor, read a technical book, etc.).

I was just watching the Chicago Cubs a few nights ago and lamenting to my wife how I wish I could play professional baseball. Unfortunately, I am 47 years old, can not hit, throw or field, and could barely start on my little league baseball team in rural Illinois.

I am not saying you don't have the ability to be a contractor. Just that there will always be things you want to do in life but can't for various reasons.
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exerk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:44 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Jedi Council

Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 6311

Vitor wrote:
...I met a lot of very good people (as well as @mqjeff & @exerk!)...

Oi! I resemble that remark!

GheorgheDragos, I agree with all that Vitor said and also endorse tczielke's advice.

I made the jump from employment to contracting 13 years ago, but all the kids were grown and gone leaving just me and sweetness to worry about. I had a minimum of mortgage remaining, a redundancy pay-out to pad out the bank account until the first invoice was paid, so had little to lose if contracting did not work out - a job stacking shelves in Tesco might not have been the best career but...

My tuppence-worth? Let the dust settle on the chaos of the pandemic and then review, but if you do decide to make the jump then you have my best wishes and hopes for a success.
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It's puzzling, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before...and it's hard to soar like an eagle when you're surrounded by turkeys.

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GheorgheDragos
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:31 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Acolyte

Joined: 28 Jun 2018
Posts: 51

Good morning,

I have read the replies and I am grateful for sharing your thoughts.


The main motivations are financial 1 ( because I work for money ) and 2 because I am stagnating. Unused knowledge is lost over time - for example all my hard studying for the 9.1 certification knowledge has faded away somewhere. I am no longer motivated to improve the installation and there's so many things to improve. Nobody is expecting this from me. Nobody is pushing me, nobody is asking me what can the client benefit from the new version, how can we decrease cost due to CPU usage, how can we make it faster, how can we improve security, high availability etc......

@Bruce - nothing will happen really, if I decide to burn that bridge, and leave before the legal deadline. I just don't want to do it because it will not be fair, both parties have agreed to a contract. The main reason why this specific entity hangs on so tight to its employees is simply because Mainframe people are hard to find, and they want to show to the client that they are properly staffed. Plus, if it happens and I leave on bad terms, and then I need them again, I would lose my face showing up asking for a job.

I believe that working as a contractor someone would want their moneys worth and I would be used to my fullest extent.
It is very frustrating for me.
So far I've seen advices to hang on tight , at least for the moment... I wrote this post, because, I am receiving job offers, quite often ,some highly paid as contract work and I keep missing out on them, but I am afraid to make the step because of the "what if". I don't fancy being away from my family either, and miss out on the boys first steps, first words , etc. But he would benefit greatly from my work.

Dilemmas

Dragos
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exerk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:07 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Jedi Council

Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 6311

GheorgheDragos wrote:
...I believe that working as a contractor someone would want their moneys worth and I would be used to my fullest extent...

Bear in mind that most places are firmly rooted in the status quo, view any improvement as expensive/risky/untested/etc., so don't be too disillusioned if you end up in one those places.

My contracting outlook has always been: they are paying you for your expertise, but they are not obligated to use it!
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It's puzzling, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before...and it's hard to soar like an eagle when you're surrounded by turkeys.

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bruce2359
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:09 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Poobah

Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 9287
Location: US: west coast, almost. Otherwise, enroute.

GheorgheDragos wrote:
I believe that working as a contractor someone would want their moneys worth and I would be used to my fullest extent.
It is very frustrating for me.

Stay or leave? Stay for financial security, but boredom. Leave for potential fulfillment, but risk. There is no easy answer, as you have discovered.

I left full-time employment feeling, as you do, bored, unappreciated and unmotivated. The organization was no longer meeting me wants and needs. Development had reached its plateau. I wanted more. I was fortunate that my family fully supported my decision to leave.

With broadband, remote login and video-conference, you may not need to travel as much as you might expect. As a contractor, you get to pick you clients.

From what you have told us, it seems that you have reasoned this decision well. There is room for at least one more consultant, especially one with m/f skills.
_________________
I like deadlines. I like to wave as they pass by.
ב''ה
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live.
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Vitor
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:14 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Grand High Poobah

Joined: 11 Nov 2005
Posts: 26093
Location: Texas, USA

GheorgheDragos wrote:
I believe that working as a contractor someone would want their moneys worth and I would be used to my fullest extent.


Oh dear. I feel like I'm telling a child Santa Claus doesn't exist.

No, they wouldn't. They want:
- a warm body to do work that the full time people don't have time to or can't be bothered to (like defining queue managers and local queues 8 hours a day);
- someone to blame because they've backed themselves into a corner ("we wanted to be certain not to miss the deadline so we hired this really expensive contractor and he just contract admin'd the whole thing");
- someone to offer suggestions so they can prove they did proper due diligence before going off and doing the stupid thing they'd already decided on.

These are not abstract examples; all 3 of those are contract positions I held and the first one was awesome - 3 very lucrative months & I figured out how to auto-generate the objects from the requests 2 weeks in with some script! To further highlight my point, I offered to productionize the script for them but they declined:

Quote:
it's another component to maintain, we can't be sure we'd have to needed skills after you've gone and the manual system's been working for years


Now you do get the contracts where they're trying to rationialize their MQ topology, integrate 1000 systems in near real time through IIB & other exciting stuff. But you need to bear 2 things in mind:

- sometimes it's grunt work
- until you establish some credibility in the contract market (with no disrespect to your skills or CV), no-one is going to trust you with the exciting stuff. Typically there's too much annual bonus on the line for them to risk it on a unproven player.

GheorgheDragos wrote:
So far I've seen advices to hang on tight , at least for the moment...


I repeat my advice, which is only you can decide what you think is best. I'm trying to offer insights with as little bias as I can.

GheorgheDragos wrote:
I wrote this post, because, I am receiving job offers, quite often ,some highly paid as contract work and I keep missing out on them, but I am afraid to make the step because of the "what if". I don't fancy being away from my family either, and miss out on the boys first steps, first words , etc.


One of my favorite literary aliens was created by an author called Larry Niven. Rather than evolving from apes, they evolved from plain cats (lions, tigers and so forth). Their ethos (and battle strategy) translated into English as "Scream And Leap". My point is that every major decision you make, changing jobs, getting married, moving house, is to some extend a jump into the unknown. That "what if" will always be there.

You do, of course, have to balance family & family events against the advantages of the road warrior lifestyle.

GheorgheDragos wrote:
Dilemmas


You said it.
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Insanity is the best defence.
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bruce2359
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:29 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Poobah

Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 9287
Location: US: west coast, almost. Otherwise, enroute.

GheorgheDragos wrote:
I believe that working as a contractor someone would want their moneys worth and I would be used to my fullest extent.

A job-hopping friend and co-worker philosophized that he will find happiness in his next job. Your job satisfaction (worth) should come internally, and NOT be based on what others (externally) think of you.

If you are unhappy in your current job, then do something - don't wait for others to do something for you. You don't "find" happiness, you make it for yourself. Happiness is not a place. As you point out, you work for money; and as you have discovered, money doesn't buy happiness.

You should be having this conversation with your spouse, and not total strangers.
_________________
I like deadlines. I like to wave as they pass by.
ב''ה
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live.
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mounika380
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2021 8:17 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Newbie

Joined: 18 May 2021
Posts: 3

I like contracts only. Because, in contracts only we have freedom to change work. Working on same thing for years gets bored. So I like contracts only. Now I'm working for plots in shadnagar project. Enjoying my work. Learning new stuff.
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