Tag Archives: employment

Trouble at Work… Again.

My biggest problem in the workplace is that I’m incapable of estimating how long projects will take — especially when they involve delegating work to others and/or finding outside vendors for that project. My new job requires lots of this, and it’s becoming more and more apparent but the day that this has the potential to  put a significant wrench in my plan to stay in this role for at least four years.

I have the opportunity to be successful in this role. I have a supportive boss who believes in my general ability. But he has big goals and my role in achieving those goals is not a small one – which is great – I have an important position that can really move the needle. I have a chance to make a difference for the whole team, and to maybe, finally, contribute consistent quality work. Continue reading

Contemplating a Serious Career Change

Maybe it’s because I’m an INFP with ADHD, but I always feel the need for a career shift every couple of years. I get bored at jobs but that’s not the only reason I look for a change. There is something missing at every job I’ve had so far and what that thing is becomes clearer as I get older. That thing is feeling like I’m helping people.

Of all the jobs I’ve had so far, the moments I’ve liked most were when I felt most connected to my “NF” side. Admin? Hated data entry. Liked answering questions when people needed help. Retail? Hated “selling.” Loved helping people shop for something that fit what they wanted. PR? Hated “pitching.” Liked helping journalists get the information they need. Journalism? Liked when I got to write articles to give a voice to people in the local newspaper who otherwise wouldn’t be heard. Disliked when my whole job was getting stories first about corporate drama. Marketing? Well, it’s hard to find a lot to like here in this sense. I do enjoy the strategy end of things, but I’m lacking motivation to promote something that doesn’t benefit people in any way. Notice a trend?
This has me sitting here, wondering if I have gone the entirely wrong direction with my life. I’m “only” 26 but some jobs out there require years of training… a high GPA… and a whole lot of commitment. The worst thing is that now I am making really good money. That would be great if I loved my job, but it’s hard to stop everything and go into debt for another x number of years of school to ultimately learn less money. My secret TJ side is screaming “that’s stupid!”
One of the fields I’m tossing around is nursing. If I like helping people so much, and I like jobs that are fairly high paced, why not be a nurse? I always wanted to have a job where I could be special and different. Being a nurse is not about you at all. It’s a job just like any other job. But where I’d never get recognized by the masses, I’d be recognized for helping people every single day. Would that be enough to make me happy? Maybe.
The only thing I know is that if i keep on the route I’m on now, well, I’m looking at doing what I do best… getting fired, or laid off, or quitting, and being depressed, but too scared to change my track, and then managing to find something else that is “better” in theory (better pay, more reasonability) but worse in getting me closer to career happiness. If that exists.
There are other things I’m interested in… especially psychology… and if I’m going to be a nurse why not just go for the PsyD? Or, heck, get a postbac in premed and go to school for 12 years to become a psychiatrist? It feels too late for all of that. And I don’t want to kid myself. I’m definitely interested in psychology, but I’m also not a good test taker and I’m of average or only slightly above average intelligence and below average focus and motivation. I’m on a roll right now faking it in the field I’m in, why change? — and, granted, I don’t totally fake it – but I feel like a big phony. But… if I have one life… why give up a chance to feel like I’m helping people every day? Wouldn’t that be worth more than any salary?

W2 Contract Negotiation Questions

After two months of unemployment I feel like I’ve gotten to a good place where I’m in solid running for two positions. One, which was fairly difficult to be offered — is the one I’m leaning towards. Not just because it was hard to be offered it, but it has by far the most growth potential of the two positions.

However, the “better” position is a W2 Contract role. That basically means full-time without any benefits (paid days off, health, etc) except the employer’s part of SS insurance, Medicare, and unemployment insurance. So, ultimately, the W2 position needs to pay a lot more to equal what a salaried position would pay, and at this point I have no idea what they’re planning to offer, or how to go about this negotiation.

Now, normally a W2 Contract position would start with an Agency and they’d farm you out to a company. Most of what I’ve read about W2 Contracts has to do with programmers who have specialized skills that these agencies can sell for short-term contracts with high hourly rates. The agency then basically gets the programmer their job, and in exchange they make 35 – 50% on top of whatever hourly fee the contractor is making, all paid by the client. And it sounds like the client has no idea how much the contractor is making and what the agency makes of the fee they pay… which just seems like an uncomfortable client-contractor relationship. Or — does the client (ie the person who would be your boss) never find out what you make? And if that’s the case, how do you ever get promoted?

W2 Contracts often have non-compete clauses, from what I’ve read, which means you can’t get hired by the company you’re working for within x number of days after the contract is considered complete. So does that mean you screw yourself out of a potential full-time job if you chose to leave the contract? It really isn’t clear from the Internets.

The thing is, the W2 Contract makes sense for a programmer. They go in, they do their job, get a project done, move on, and have many other companies willing to hire them for short-term gigs. My position is very different, it’s in marketing, and I don’t really view it as a contract role, other than the fact it is because that’s the way big companies hire around here.

I’ve spent some time working the numbers to figure out what my last job was worth with benefits for the year, and it really is a lot on top of the salary. Getting paid holidays is nice too.

The thing is, I figure to make approx what I made at my last job on W2 contract I’d have to make at least $45 per hour (equiv in my calculations to about $60k with full benefits). But because of the responsibilities that go with the potential role, I believe the position (regardless of who is hired in it) deserves more than that. It’s a little hard to figure out my full compensation at my last gig because it was at a startup where in theory a good amount of my pay was in stock options which, if the company succeeded, would be worth a lot. Not sure how to value those in determining my pay at my last job. Additionally, this job will require a much longer commute and basically take over my life. So what is fair compensation for this? Taking myself out of the picture and just looking at the role itself, the dollar figure I come up with is a lot higher than $45/hour. Additionally, I’ve been signing short-term clients for projects and they’re paying anywhere from $50/hr to $100/hr depending on the assignment. And that’s more the range I’m looking for. I’d think the higher end of that makes sense for this company, but again, I have no idea what they are paying for this role. I managed to avoid the salary talk all through my many interviews so I’m going into these negotiations blind.

I’m speaking with a representative from the hiring agency early next week to discuss fees over the phone. I prefer salary negotiations in person. Additionally, I didn’t interview with the hiring firm, nor did they find me for the job. I was referred internally by someone within the company and have interviewed with people in the company. The agency has, thus far, just scheduled the interviews. And now I have to negotiate my rate over the phone with someone I’ve never met. Normally in negotiations I’d have a good idea of what the other person wants. In a startup it was very clear because basically ever dollar saved was another second the startup could survive, so it was about more than just salary. Here, though, what does the hiring manager want? Are they given a range to negotiate with? Do they negotiate?

Also, I’m not clear I’m offered the job yet. I am the top choice, clearly, and was told by the agent that my interviews went very well and everyone likes me. So now it’s time to talk fees. I’m nervous about what this means. I normally would let my employer put out a range first if possible, but I’m not sure if doing that this time around would hurt my chances of getting a good rate. If I understood what the agency wanted… (ie — if they get 35% of what I make on top of what I make, isn’t it in their best interest to negotiate a higher hourly fee that the client is willing to pay for — or does the agent get paid more if they are able to negotiate a lower fee? Or is there no negotiation at all?)

Anyway, if you have any insight into the W2 Contract Negotiation situation, please do let me know what you think about all this.

Well, the other potential job is

More Thoughts on Job Hunting, The Lay Off, Life

Here I am, at a major cross roads in my life. One path ahead of me, however difficult to get a solid footing on, is one that leads to a six-figure career, possibly as soon as I sign on the dotted line of my next full-time contract. This road considers my employment history in an area that’s highly desired right now yet not clearly understood, one that important and big companies are seeking to hire expertise in that I now have, if not the knowledge, the employment history to back up. At least more than I did before my last job when my entire employment history was 1.5 years as a journalist, which only got me a foot in the door at some PR firms for a very entry-level position.

The other road, however, is one even more unclear. It’s one filled with $15 per hour jobs sans health insurance, part-time and/or contract work, minimally paid internships, graduate school, going back to the start. And it seems like such a waste of the opportunity I have to make something really “good” come from this layoff (at least in terms of my bank account and professional growth) to jump into an entirely different field that may lead me to a spot with the same “I’m not meant to be here” surroundings on a different path, just two years from now.
There are some opportunities in the first version of this scenerio. Well, to be honest, right now there is one possibility, but others may exist, especially if I’m willing to move. I don’t know if it’s really a six-figure job, but I assume I’ll make at least what I made at my last gig ($60k) and likely more because it’s for a bigger company with a lot more responsibility. There’s a chance they expect to pay $90k or more. I don’t know. I’m in the process of interviewing for the position. It sounds like an amazing opportunity. But I’m terrified of failing. I’m scared of failing when the stakes are higher. I’m scared of not knowing what to do, how to make up the tasks of the job, set measurable goals, and meet or exceed them. Sometimes results related to this role are difficult to quantify, but without the numbers success means nothing in these types of companies. So what do I do?
It is a luxury to get to “choose” but… in reality, I haven’t secured a job offer yet for #1 and I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes in the last three weeks, only to receive a few “you don’t have what we’re looking for” or to just be ignored. I’m onto the second interview stage with the “really good opportunity” job but that means very little other than I have a shot at this gig. I’ll get to interview in person instead of over the phone. They’ll decide if they like me. I’ll decide if I think I can really do this job without falling on my face.
In the meantime, I daydream about things I’d really love to do. Design. User research. Product management. Heck, maybe I’d even enjoy…. teaching? Retail? Being a waitress (I have a friend who loves it.) I don’t know. I’m an INTP. I like solving problems. I like helping people. I do well with the big picture, but not so much the details. I know what type of job I want to have (design research) but I don’t have the experience or skills for that type of job. My resume is schizophrenic. I don’t want to get my hopes up about the opportunity because it may not be right for me. Or I might not get it. And beyond this, I haven’t had any other biters on potential employment. So it’s difficult to compare this opportunity to another, since there currently isn’t another.