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  1. #11

    Still gathering requirements...


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    Quote Originally Posted by ChimpMaster View Post
    To enjoy those kind of results you need to have a life outside of work/career.
    I did before I went contracting - I play Ice Hockey at a good level and have done for 7 years. However 6 weeks before making the jump to this gig I took a godalmighty blow to the head and suffered a concussion; haven't been back since. I will go back, but I need a bit more financial security first.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice, I appreciate it. Had pretty much figured it was a case of "suck it up, pumpkin". I had to get out of my last place when I did or I would've had a 3 month notice period to contend with if I had stayed another few weeks, and god knows they weren't perfect either. I spent around 2 months hunting for the this gig, lost two due to my 2.5 week notice period after successful interview. Figured once I had my feet wet and was in the market i'd be able to be a bit more flexible.

    Re the war-chest Lance - I know, but the role was a lot more local than most (<20 miles away) so my travel expenses are minimal. If i'd have taken a role +100 a day in London that would've just been wiped out in expense suffered getting there anyway.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't regret my decision at all, it's still moving forward. I guess I was just hoping for a little more excitement and a bit more of a challenge.

    So in terms of what "looks" good or not... Should I stay if I am offered an extension? I know all the time I am here I am losing skills, not enhancing them. Or if I have a solid offer at the end of the contract, should I look to jump ship?

    Edit: Just read some of the other comments which came up as I was writing this - general consensus seems to be to move on once the contract is done!
    Last edited by mattfx; 24th August 2017 at 09:31. Reason: Hadn't read all posts

  2. #12

    Contractor Among Contractors


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    Chaos equals cash, you have hit the motherload.
    Give it a few weeks then write a detailed assessment of the issues you can see in the existing setup and what it would take to resolve them, costed if possible.
    Use PPT deck if you can get the level of detail on there, works well for exec summary.
    Deliver to Client manager and his boss if possible at same time so no noses are put out of joint.
    It will help if they have had outages/DR recently as budgets are freed up.
    Don't moan to colleagues or go on about how the last place did things miles better, they will hate you and get you sacked.
    Probably you will get little feedback but there is a chance you will be asked to implement and this is the point you ask for a rate that reflects that level of work.

    Good luck.

  3. #13

    Should post faster

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    Don't get me wrong, I don't regret my decision at all, it's still moving forward. I guess I was just hoping for a little more excitement and a bit more of a challenge.
    The excitement will come when you start looking for the next one :P Anyway, remember this is a lot shorter term than a permie role, you'll be on to the next one before you know it, which may or may not be more exciting.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    So in terms of what "looks" good or not... Should I stay if I am offered an extension? I know all the time I am here I am losing skills, not enhancing them. Or if I have a solid offer at the end of the contract, should I look to jump ship?

    Personally, I think leaving your first contract after 3 months doesn't look great on a CV. At least I'd be asking if he couldn't cut it at his first attempt. But thats just my opinion. Honestly, I would stick it out for the duration, take the pay and build up a warchest. And try to pick up any new skills/experience you can. << This is what I'd doing atm.

    About losing skills, are you really losing skills after 3 months? Is there nothing you can take away from this contract other than the money? What about how to deal with the situation? That's a good learning opportunity maybe?

  4. #14

    My post count is Majestic

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    I've just moved from a 10 year long career in perm jobs climbing the greasy pole over to being a contractor. My last position was at a global food distributor with 2000 odd employees as the global IT team leads right hand man for the infrastructure, this included pretty much everything and was semi architectural and about 70% project work. My contract role was for an organisation of a similar size but in aviation, with a claimed 70/30 split of project/BAU work, so I naturally had very high aspirations for the kind of work i'd be doing, things i'd be exposed to, etc...
    Sounds like you are a jack of all trades with a bit of an over inflated ego to me. Right hand man in a company of 2000 employees? Wait till you get a gig where the IT team is 2000+ let alone the whole company. What exactly are you specialist in? Having an aspirations of a gig is permie mentality which you'll have to drop quick.

    70/30 project/BAU? IR35 problems much?

    Well - sadly nothing has really lived up to my expectations. Turns out the place i've moved to has literally an 8th of the servers to look after when compared to my last place and the same number of us to look after them. Nothing is fault tolerant, the DR plan is "flap your arms and panic" and change control is "run it by the manager but don't expect an answer, you'll just have to make a call on it".
    Sounds great. Open season to flex your 'right hand man' muscles and make a different. A chance to roll your sleeves up and get on with it. Every day is different with a chance to deliver real change.. or did you want a nice easy gig like it was another job? Not enough cotton wool there for you?

    I knew from the day rate on offer that this role would be slightly more junior than my prior one,
    Not a safe assumption that one.

    but Jesus, it just feels like i've stepped back about 4 years in my career! What have I done!? I thought that receiving my first payment from the agency would help, and it did, but for about 5 minutes, but unfortunately due to being a perm in my last role I took a cut in my desired rate in order to get my first gig.
    Forget your career. You are a contractor selling your skills for cash. Do you think a builder worries about it every time he's asked to built a single wall rather than a full house etc?

    Fortunately it's only a three month affair.
    Can't think like that as a contractor. After the 3 months is bench time with no income.

    Has anyone else experienced this with their first contract? Or any of their contracts? What did you do to try and rectify it? I put a remediation plan together in my own time for restructuring the entire infrastructure here to try and be proactive about things, but the guy in charge just said "yeah, we know it's not ideal but it probably won't change. Nice diagram though."
    The experience of been disappointed that contracting isn't as nice and fluffy as permie land? No. Crap gigs? Plenty.
    'CUK forum personality of 2011' - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  5. #15

    Old Greg is my bitch's bitch

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    Quote Originally Posted by l35kee View Post
    A comment was made to me by one of the permies recently. "that guy over there is 5 years younger than you at look at what position he is in, what happened to you?"

    I didn't tell him that I left a more senior permie position than that guy to take this contract which more than doubled my monthly take home (and I settled on a lower than desired, but decent rate for contract 1), for significantly less stress and hours, whist also giving me a wider breadth of experience.

    The permie who made the comment went back to his budget hotel that night and spend the evening doing some "mandatory security training".
    I usually drop a bit of spare change in their hand for a can of beer in their hotel room.
    Where there's muck there's brass.

  6. #16

    Still gathering requirements...


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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    Sounds like you are a jack of all trades with a bit of an over inflated ego to me. Right hand man in a company of 2000 employees? Wait till you get a gig where the IT team is 2000+ let alone the whole company. What exactly are you specialist in? Having an aspirations of a gig is permie mentality which you'll have to drop quick.

    70/30 project/BAU? IR35 problems much?



    Sounds great. Open season to flex your 'right hand man' muscles and make a different. A chance to roll your sleeves up and get on with it. Every day is different with a chance to deliver real change.. or did you want a nice easy gig like it was another job? Not enough cotton wool there for you?



    Not a safe assumption that one.



    Forget your career. You are a contractor selling your skills for cash. Do you think a builder worries about it every time he's asked to built a single wall rather than a full house etc?



    Can't think like that as a contractor. After the 3 months is bench time with no income.



    The experience of been disappointed that contracting isn't as nice and fluffy as permie land? No. Crap gigs? Plenty.

    I definitely don't have an over inflated ego - I'm the first person to say I am merely only maybe above average at what I do, but I have an aptitude for picking things up quickly and that seems to have served me well. In terms of specialism, you're probably right I am a bit broad in my range of subject matters, however I am highly skilled in Active Directory and Virtualisation. I did 5 years delivering professional services and pre-sales tech for a reseller, which I've found to be very helpful in terms of thinking about things in a business like manner.

    I think you may have got me all wrong; I didn't get into contracting because I wanted something cushty - I was after new challenge every day, a chance to use the skills i've learnt and an opportunity to make some very decent money, whilst adding value to my clients. Did I go into this blind? Absolutely not. Did I build it up into thinking it was going to be something bigger than it was? Probably. I am merely citing my frustrations that this particular assignment does not have a particularly healthy appetite toward change and prefers a "band aid" approach to problems, and preventative maintenance well.. Forget it.

    In terms of IR35 I had the contract reviewed and it was deemed outside. The agents also have their own IR35 vetting service which advised the same, so I think i'm okay on that front.

    @lukemg I was kind of hoping the high level plan I had put together for them in my own time would whet their appetite, but it was so eagerly dismissed I was a little disheartened. I am going to try again but with some smaller areas of the infrastructure, focusing on measurable improvements with a more detailed cost/benefit analysis.

    Thanks everyone for your advice!

  7. #17

    My post count is Majestic

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post

    In terms of IR35 I had the contract reviewed and it was deemed outside. The agents also have their own IR35 vetting service which advised the same, so I think i'm okay on that front.

    @lukemg I was kind of hoping the high level plan I had put together for them in my own time would whet their appetite, but it was so eagerly dismissed I was a little disheartened. I am going to try again but with some smaller areas of the infrastructure, focusing on measurable improvements with a more detailed cost/benefit analysis.

    Thanks everyone for your advice!
    Working practices trump the contract. We've next to no information but describing a role as xx/xx% project/BAU sounds like there will be a lot of D&C. Do this, drop that and do X and Y. All this being controlled by the client is very bad. It sounds like a broad remit of work more like a job spec which is also bad. You should have a detailed schedule of work saying you'll work on this project and work on that service. Being a Operations Manager with 75/25 project/BAU is a permie role not a contract for work.

    Offering to do work out of scope of the contract that will end up being a task is just shooting yourself in the foot as well, unless you can get the contract to reflect this as a deliverable or new schedule for the new work.

    Might want to have a look at that now you are on the ground.
    'CUK forum personality of 2011' - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  8. #18

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    Thanks - Like I said quite openly this is my first gig and I am new to this. I'll try and get some more predefined deliverables from the client, but at the moment the work is just being spoon fed mini-assignment by mini-assignment.

    For example I was given a "project" to migrate 4 VM's from one host to another, rebuild the host, migrate back, then rebuild the other. Personally in my eyes that's a task not a project, but they see things very much differently here. A project in my mind is a storage forklift upgrade, cluster refresh, new VLAN design for a network, migrate to a different backup platform / technology, something like that.

  9. #19

    Contractor Among Contractors

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    For example I was given a "project" to .......

  10. #20

    Fingers like lightning

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    Quote Originally Posted by l35kee View Post
    to take this contract which more than doubled my monthly take home.
    I'd be careful. That sounds suspicious.

    A lot more cash comes your way as a contractor but a lot more gets taken away. I hope you are fully recognizing all the financial obligations you didn't have before.

    A very very rough indicator is take your hourly rate and multiply it by one thousand. If that is twice your previous salary then maybe you are on to a good thing but if not, don't chuck your money around until you're sure how it's going to work out.
    "The only thing standing between me and greatness is ... me "

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