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Leave my full time job for temp / contract jobs?

Serus 259 September 6, 2012 at 10:34 AM
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So here's the deal. I am currently way underpaid in my current position. I was just told that there would be no raises this year, and I've been here almost 2 years without a raise. I make about $42k in a position I should be making no less than $65-85k. I have the duties and responsibilities of a position 3 positions higher than my current title. I'm hourly, but I was told if I want to work overtime I can, but I can't claim it.

I was told I am "on the list" for a promotion, but in my mind that doesn't mean jack. It's a small company owned by a gigantic corporation. We've grown 200% in the last two years, with no additional administrative staff besides myself and the office manager, who just put in her notice due to workload and pay issues as well.

SO. I'm considering contract positions, likely through a staffing agency rather than a 1099. I do not need my company benefits, and the 401k contributions are "meh" to begin with. Sure, no PTO, but if I can make 50 to 100% more than what I am currently making, I'll take unpaid time off.

I'm looking at Project / Program Management or Business Analyst positions in IT / Software Development / Semiconductor industry (which are plentiful in my area). I've been getting headhunters asking me if I'm looking, and their starting hourly wages are double what I currently make.

What is the consensus on this? My wife has a solid job that pays extremely well with very good health benefits that covers us both.

In addition, if I do leave my "permanent" position (no job is permanent) for a temporary position that lasts, say, 3-6 months and expires, will I be eligible for unemployment or not? I assume if I'm paying taxes through a staffing agency that I will be eligible for unemployment until I find another temporary / contract position?

What about a 1099? Can I still contribute to unemployment in case the contract expires?

Thanks for the advice!

12 Comments

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#2
What do you do for your work? What is your education? How long have you been in the workforce post education? If you are administrative, I don't think $65-85k is an accurate understanding of what your pay should be.
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#3
I've done it and it worked out well.
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L5: Journeyman
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#4
Quote from crazygrow View Post :
What do you do for your work? What is your education? How long have you been in the workforce post education? If you are administrative, I don't think $65-85k is an accurate understanding of what your pay should be.
I have a background in IT, with an AAS in network administration, I have a BS in Project Management. I'm doing the job of a program manager, but I'm classified as a project coordinator II (which I am still underpaid in), and I have 8 years of professional experience, but only a few years of direct project / program management experience.

$85k is for a contract / temp position, $65k is for full time with benefits as an "employee". I have a friend who is contracting right now at $90k, similar background with a little more experience and same education (we went to college together).

I am confident that I can seek employment elsewhere and make $65k easily. However, since I am not in need of the benefits of a "full time" employee, I am considering temporary and contract positions that typically pay substantially more in my field. Companies run projects all the time for 3, 6, 9, 12 months or more, and would rather temp hire someone for the job than have a regular employee with benefits, PTO, retirement, etc. It's also an excellent way of gaining additional experience.
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#5
Ive known guys to do it and go back to full time. Honestly in this economy I'd keep the full time job and when things get better then look at doing contract positions.
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#6
I would def go contract, especially since you said your wife does well.
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#7
The big stumbling block in going to contracting is generally the lost benefits. But if your insurance is already covered by your wife, then go for it. It's not as stable as full time, but it's absolutely more lucratuve.
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#8
Glad you brought this up, OP. I'm in a very similar boat as well, but I'm not married. *subbed.
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#9
Quote from Serus View Post :
I've been getting headhunters asking me if I'm looking, and their starting hourly wages are double what I currently make.
So if you are getting offers for jobs that are double your current pay, why not interview for those? I don't see how this is so complicated. Your salary won't grow in leaps and bounds UNLESS you switch companies.
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Simply Red, standing by..
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#10
Do the temp/contract work. If benefits are handled on your wife's side, then this leaves you with leverage to look elsewhere. Gives you some elbow room to maneuver in the job realm without considering medical/dental which in these days are very important.

These temp/contract positions could build up and lead to an alleged permanent position that suits you and pays you appropriately. Be careful of small companies as they just do not have the capital to cover the talent of their employees so you will find no raises, extras, perks more common in smaller companies. Your situation doesn't shock me but you can get out of it.

One thing though is that with these temp/contract positions you'll always have to have your head on a swivel and be looking for that next gig otherwise you may stall without work for a bit. But if there are plenty of gigs like this all over your city then you should be fine. Thumbup
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#11
I work 40 hours a week in a bank sales job making a base of $30,000 and commissions somewhere in the $15,000-20,000 range. So $45,000-50,000/year. I feel very undervalued and I don't enjoy the work.

I also work 20 hours a week in a private company I own
I've been running the thing for four years and make quite a bit more (lets say $40,000 for those hours) installing commercial A/V, integration systems, and home theater, etc. I enjoy this work, but it isn't regular. A year ago, I made three times my income from FT employment doing my part time installation job. I'm tempted every day to leave the FT gig and make my business into a full time deal.

I'm buying a house now (which would be tremendously more difficult if based on self employment income alone). Once we're into the house, I'm leaving the FT line of work. I haven't decided if it will be accepting an offer for FT position with one of my installation clients or simply running my own business full time - but it will be done and it will be by the end of the year.

Our situations are similar, but not identical. I am leaving for the pay, sure - but I'm also leaving because I enjoy the freedom of working for myself and am driven to do so. I'm concerned about health insurance, etc, but it isn't enough to hold me back. After marrying my fiancee I will get onto her state benefits package, but its all still expensive.
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#12
I would go ahead and do the contract stuff for now, but look for a better paying FT position anyway.
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L5: Journeyman
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Original Poster
#13
Thanks for all the different points of view! It's time for me to move on.

I'll look for a full time job between contracts rather than relying on one of our jobs providing benefits. Sure, there's a bit of "risk" but it will be offset with the increase in salary.

Time to move out to move up!
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