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ThomserveBAS
13th May 2012, 21:04
Hi all

I've been lurking for a while but have just registered to get your take on my situation. I've read a couple of threads about moving from permanent to contract roles but wanted to just air my situation - apologies if its a repetition of something that went before it;

I am currently employed by an insurance company as a Business Analyst in the North West. I have five years experience and am getting paid peanuts (£25k). I have been thinking for a long time about moving into contracting but have been putting it off for various reasons but just recently I have the bit between my teeth and really want to go for it - but it's a massive decision for me.

Rather than go into loads of details, I'll bullet my circumstances and ask some questions later on.

So;

I'm 30, am married but have no kids (the other half is willing to move)
I've been doing business analysis for 5 years with my current company
I'm tied into a 3 month notice period (!!) and haven't handed my notice in yet
I don't have much in the way of savings, probably 2 months at most but could rely on family to help out if needs be
I specialise in an insurance CMS which seems to be growing at the moment (Guidewire).

Here's what I've done so far;
Got my LinkedIn profile sparkling
Ripped up my CV and produced a new one following all manor of "best CV" type guides from various contractor sites
Signed up to CWJobs and Jobsite and get jobs by email
Registered my limited company and got my website/social media presence sorted

And the response I've got;
Discussions and a telephone interview done with ...... in Fareham
Early discussions with ...... for a role in Manchester/York
Been contacted by an agency that specialises in Guidewire resource and had my details sent on to two insurance comapnies
Had various other email/LinkedIn contact

So nothing firm yet, but the noises sound right (especially from .../... as the contacts were from within the company and not an agency, and they contacted me directly).

So - here's the difficult bit;

My notice period is stupid - yes I know, I signed the contract. I don't really know how to play this, or if there is even a choice. I am all set for handing my notice in, but I'm not sure if it is a sensible thing to do.

I have about 5 days of holiday left, so that knocks a week off, but I am currently assigned to a project where I am the BA and SME which basically could not continue (unless they scrapped the "old" system and got a new one - thus removing the requirement for the knowledge in my head) without me :(

Sorry for the long post. If anybody has any advice, on the points raised or indeed anything that a permie needs to know moving into contracting, then I'm all ears.

Thanks in advance!

Mod Note: Removed client details. You have much to learn young Padawan...

cojak
14th May 2012, 06:57
Welcome to CUK! :wave:

First of all - DO NOT place client details on here, it may well bite you on the bum if you do. Agents have been known to call contractors just to find out these kind of juicy details so don't give them out on a plate.

(See http://forums.contractoruk.com/business-contracts/31505-i-just-need-get-two-references.html)

Next, take a look on the right and read the First-Timers guide, I can see that you made a start by choosing to go Ltd so You're getting somewhere.

And you've checked out the market so that's good.

So now we come to the 3 months notice. Where if think the wheels will come off your wagon.

You must hand in your notice. You can try and ask your employer to reduce the 3 months notice period but if you're as valued as you say you are, the chances are they'll say 'No'.

And the clients won't hang around for 3 months waiting for you. So you'll just have to jump off that cliff and hope that something will turn up.

That's what I did.

And as for moving, where are you more likely to get contracts? Manchester? London? I'd stay where you are for the moment until you have a better idea where you want to be based. Wherever it will be it's a good idea to be not too far away from decent road and rail links.

ThomserveBAS
14th May 2012, 17:08
Thank you cojak (and apologies for my school boy error of posting those details :emb )

Took a big step today and handed my notice in, I don't think my manager thinks I'm serious so followed it up with a letter of resignation which I intend to post to both him and HR.

The wheels are already in motion about my exit - I can see people who depend on me starting to run round like headless chickens - this might sound a little blase but the project to which I am key has been looming for 3 years. I currently operate a function which should be owned by the business, but has sat with me as a BA in the IS department since its inception, hence my lack of sympathy that they are now bricking themselves. Don't get me wrong, I'll go out of my way to ensure a smooth transition, but if they want me to feel bad it ain't gonna happen.

The location thing is interesting, there is a spread of contracts in the South, Manchester and Yorkshire, so I plan to stay where I am for now, living in hotels or renting as the need arises. Once I'm confident contracting is for me (say after 2-3 contracts or a couple of years) then I'll consider relocation - but for now, I am smack bang in the middle of Manchester and Leeds, but a million miles away from the south :D

SimonMac
14th May 2012, 20:35
Welcome :wave:

There are a few who do the trip for the NW to London and beyond for contracting, depending on how the missus feels it might be possible to Monday-Friday it away and get back at the weekend, you might even be lucky and get WFH on Fridays which is not totally uncommon so its something to thing about dropping into a conversation if an interview is going well.

PS Do you like gladiators?

oscarose
15th May 2012, 07:46
Good Luck Tom,

:wave:

ThomserveBAS
15th May 2012, 08:10
So yesterday was a pretty stressful day, I handed in my notice to my current employers and am just waiting to go through the motions with them. I think I will be able to get out of my full notice period as there are so many mistakes in my contract (all previously raised and backed up by email audit trail) that they can't possibly hold me to it.

So I am now hammering the job boards, making sure everything is up to date in preparation for me exit.

oscarose
15th May 2012, 08:23
So I am now hammering the job boards...

I was slow getting my profile sorted out on LinkedIn (and was a bit sceptical), but the effort was worthwhile as yielded a number of contracts over the last year or so.

HTH

Wanderer
15th May 2012, 08:27
So yesterday was a pretty stressful day, I handed in my notice to my current employers and am just waiting to go through the motions with them. I think I will be able to get out of my full notice period as there are so many mistakes in my contract (all previously raised and backed up by email audit trail) that they can't possibly hold me to it.

I don't think they can reasonably hold you to 3 months notice at the best of times and especially not if they are paying a 30 year old £25k (no disrespect intended).

The ideal situation may be that you agree to work out a minimum of 4 weeks and maximum of 12 weeks notice but if you get a job lined up during that time then they will have to let you go with a week's notice. If you don't get a job then you will do the full 12 weeks. That way they can keep you for as long as you are available and you are still working while you are job hunting. I don't know if they will allow it though. Good luck.

SimonMac
15th May 2012, 08:33
I don't think they can reasonably hold you to 3 months notice at the best of times and especially not if they are paying a 30 year old £25k (no disrespect intended).

The ideal situation may be that you agree to work out a minimum of 4 weeks and maximum of 12 weeks notice but if you get a job lined up during that time then they will have to let you go with a week's notice. If you don't get a job then you will do the full 12 weeks. That way they can keep you for as long as you are available and you are still working while you are job hunting. I don't know if they will allow it though. Good luck.

WHS

ThomserveBAS
15th May 2012, 08:35
I was slow getting my profile sorted out on LinkedIn (and was a bit sceptical), but the effort was worthwhile as yielded a number of contracts over the last year or so.

HTH

Yeah my LinkedIn profile is getting a lot of attention at the moment so I am making sure that is kept up to date.

ThomserveBAS
15th May 2012, 09:19
I don't think they can reasonably hold you to 3 months notice at the best of times and especially not if they are paying a 30 year old £25k (no disrespect intended).

Hey no offense taken - I know they have been getting me cheap for many years, they had me on secondment for almost 2 years on my call center salary :mad

CodeCobbler
15th May 2012, 09:33
Sounds like you are being taken advantage of.
I'd give 2 weeks notice and just walk...

ThomserveBAS
15th May 2012, 13:24
After a quiet morning, there has been a lot of activity this afternoon. My old Project Manager (for whom I have a lot of respect) asked if I could join her and one of the directors for a meeting as the news had just hit them.

It was a good discussion and allowed me to convey why I was thinking of moving away from my current role, and it allowed them to understand that it was not based on me being unhappy (that is a driver but not the main reason).

We then got down to business and I was asked directly what they could do to keep me - to which I replied "I have made the decision to move into contracting, if the company wishes to offer me a contract then I would certainly consider it".

I've left them thinking about it, but certain more than ever that they cannot (unless commercial suicide is on their list of objectives) allow me to walk away just yet.

A stint as a contractor in my comfy pair of slippers will at least allow me to build up the warchest you talk of...

On the job hunting side, I've been put in touch with a recruiter who deals with my skillset by a contractor friend so that is looking hopeful too - will not stop looking.

SimonMac
15th May 2012, 13:29
Sounds like you have the right approach

Bunk
15th May 2012, 13:37
After a quiet morning, there has been a lot of activity this afternoon. My old Project Manager (for whom I have a lot of respect) asked if I could join her and one of the directors for a meeting as the news had just hit them.

It was a good discussion and allowed me to convey why I was thinking of moving away from my current role, and it allowed them to understand that it was not based on me being unhappy (that is a driver but not the main reason).

We then got down to business and I was asked directly what they could do to keep me - to which I replied "I have made the decision to move into contracting, if the company wishes to offer me a contract then I would certainly consider it".

I've left them thinking about it, but certain more than ever that they cannot (unless commercial suicide is on their list of objectives) allow me to walk away just yet.

A stint as a contractor in my comfy pair of slippers will at least allow me to build up the warchest you talk of...

On the job hunting side, I've been put in touch with a recruiter who deals with my skillset by a contractor friend so that is looking hopeful too - will not stop looking.

I can see 2 things you're going to have to watch out for. One is that you're going to find it very difficult to stay outside IR35 if they offer you a contract. The other is that they might balk at the idea of paying you contracting money compared to the 25k they were paying before. Even if they double that, that only works out about £200 a day and you don't get holidays or sick leave. You'd have to decide if that was actually worth it, (I'd suggest it isn't). This is all hypothetical until you hear what they offer though.

ThomserveBAS
15th May 2012, 13:45
Yeah Simon pointed out the IR35 thing - any pointers on how to avoid this, or is it inevitable?

As for my rate, the way I see it, they pay about £350/day for a contractor off the street, I have a wealth of business knowledge plus ALL of the knowledge with the project I am currently assigned to - they can't afford not to pay me.

I need to have a think about what rate I would accept if/when they start negotiations.

I'm glad I had the discussion with the director because he knows me, knows what I bring to the business, and plus he is a major stakeholder in the project I am walking away from :smokin

BrilloPad
15th May 2012, 13:47
If you do accept a contract with the company be careful what notice period is in there!

ThomserveBAS
15th May 2012, 13:53
If you do accept a contract with the company be careful what notice period is in there!

If they do offer me a contract I will probably get a legal expert to look over it with a fine tooth comb.

Bunk
15th May 2012, 13:53
If you do accept a contract with the company be careful what notice period is in there!

It doesn't sound like he needs to watch out for the classic "switch them to a contract, then sack them without notice" since they're trying to keep him. Or do you mean he should make sure he doesn't keep the 3 month notice in his new contract?