Re: transition from contract to full-time

Subject: Re: transition from contract to full-time
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 14:37:10 -0800

Mike wrote:
> I have done some research regarding contract vs.
> full-time tech writing; however, I have not come up
> with much info.
> For those of you who have gone from contract to
> full-time, what sort of advice could you give me as
> far as pros/cons of each, negotiating contract vs.
> salaried pay, benefits, and so on.
> Thanks for any advice you can offer.

In the past, contract work has paid more while being just as
available and as secure as full-time work (that is to say, not at
all secure). However, with the collapse of the dot-com mania and the
resulting widespread layoffs, this situation may no longer be true.

I've done both, and, right now, I'm somewhere in the middle, in a
long-term contract that is a mixture of contract and full-time (no
health benefits, but I get them elsewhere, and have lots of free
trips). In most cases, I prefer being a consultant, since I'm not
expected to donate free hours to the company and find that, in
general, I'm treated with more respect (my present position being a
notable exception). Consulting is often more varied, too.

But the choice is strictly a personal preference. If you like
independence and variety, contracting is for you. If you like a
settled life, then go for full-time. Part of your choice may be
dependent on whether you have family, but I suspect that the way
that that affects you is determined largely by your existing
preferences. Certainly, with a family on the way, I don't feel any
great urge for full-time work. That may change, but I don't think
so. I know that full time work isn't as secure as it appears.

If you do make the transition while staying with the same employer,
you're usually in a strong position. After all, as a contractor, you
can move on. If the company wants you, it needs to make staying
worth your while.

Some random thoughts:

-You can argue that, if the company is willing to pay you so much as
a contractor, it should be willing to pay a similar amount in salary
and benefits when you're full-time. Better yet, argue for the same
amount in salary, and only accept the same amount in salary and
benefits as a fallback position.

-You might also be able to argue that your seniority should start
from the time you started as a consultant, especially if you've
played an important role in the company or were with it from early

-If you telecommute any distance, you might try to argue that the
company should add the amount paid in travel expenses to your
salary. I've heard of several companies doing this anyway.

Bruce Byfield 317.833.0313 bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com
Director of Marketing and Communications,
Progeny Linux Systems

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