6 months contract/save £, 6 months holidays/travelling, repeat - do you do it? 6 months contract/save £, 6 months holidays/travelling, repeat - do you do it?
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  1. #1

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    Default 6 months contract/save £, 6 months holidays/travelling, repeat - do you do it?

    Stumbled across this forum last night. I’m 6 weeks into my first 6 month contract as a (non-IT) Project Manager. Im from Australia, moved to UK and contracting friends were encouraging me for years to get into the contracting game. I’ve heard these magical stories from several different people in London about friends who work 6 months on a contract then take 6 months off to travel each year and I cant think of a much better lifestyle than that!

    Managed to negotiate a ‘too good to be true’ daily rate (I pulled a number out of the air, the recruiter went even higher and somehow they agreed). Would not be surprised if any day I get a tap on the shoulder to say ‘sorry, you’re just too expensive to keep’ but until then I’m loving it. The work is fine – not particularly interesting and I’m not passionate about it but conditions and hours are very good and its quite cruisey. Compared with a similar permanent role I’m taking home about 45% more, both with the higher pay and lower tax. Setting everything up was time consuming and a bit of a headache but as I wasn’t working at the time I slowly and methodically just did everything over the course of a week.

    My place of employment has already been hinting at a permanent role at the end of the project and while there is plenty of work to do (the nature of the project is uncovering so many things to do and fix that I could pretty much create a job for myself at the end of this if I wanted) I’m hoping they don’t extend/offer perm because I’ve been doing some sums, and assuming I am kept on for most or all of the contract term I will be able to save well over 50% of my income/dividends (no kids/mortgage/car/debt etc). As I would be finishing up right in the middle of summer I’m already thinking about the travel possibilities. For the first time in my life I would have the money, time and motivation to travel for an extended period of time. I’m being conservative and thinking of 2 months of travelling and a further month to find another contract is very doable, provided Im kept on for the bulk of the 6 months. In reality, provided I spent some time in cheap destinations (i.e. Eastern Europe/North Africa) and was careful with my money, I could last up to 6 months until I needed to work again.

    Does anyone actually do this? Is there a magic number you’ve needed to earn/save in order to have extended tim off? It seems to good to be true but I’ve done my sums very carefully!

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by smit0847 View Post
    Stumbled across this forum last night. I’m 6 weeks into my first 6 month contract as a (non-IT) Project Manager. Im from Australia, moved to UK and contracting friends were encouraging me for years to get into the contracting game. I’ve heard these magical stories from several different people in London about friends who work 6 months on a contract then take 6 months off to travel each year and I cant think of a much better lifestyle than that!

    Managed to negotiate a ‘too good to be true’ daily rate (I pulled a number out of the air, the recruiter went even higher and somehow they agreed). Would not be surprised if any day I get a tap on the shoulder to say ‘sorry, you’re just too expensive to keep’ but until then I’m loving it. The work is fine – not particularly interesting and I’m not passionate about it but conditions and hours are very good and its quite cruisey. Compared with a similar permanent role I’m taking home about 45% more, both with the higher pay and lower tax. Setting everything up was time consuming and a bit of a headache but as I wasn’t working at the time I slowly and methodically just did everything over the course of a week.

    My place of employment has already been hinting at a permanent role at the end of the project and while there is plenty of work to do (the nature of the project is uncovering so many things to do and fix that I could pretty much create a job for myself at the end of this if I wanted) I’m hoping they don’t extend/offer perm because I’ve been doing some sums, and assuming I am kept on for most or all of the contract term I will be able to save well over 50% of my income/dividends (no kids/mortgage/car/debt etc). As I would be finishing up right in the middle of summer I’m already thinking about the travel possibilities. For the first time in my life I would have the money, time and motivation to travel for an extended period of time. I’m being conservative and thinking of 2 months of travelling and a further month to find another contract is very doable, provided Im kept on for the bulk of the 6 months. In reality, provided I spent some time in cheap destinations (i.e. Eastern Europe/North Africa) and was careful with my money, I could last up to 6 months until I needed to work again.

    Does anyone actually do this? Is there a magic number you’ve needed to earn/save in order to have extended tim off? It seems to good to be true but I’ve done my sums very carefully!
    1. If you do such long breaks you might struggle to find work
    2. Consider retirement. Spending all the income and not saving for 50+ ?

  3. #3

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    Of course it can be done, but can be quite a challenge.

    I used to do a lot of this when I was younger, have probably travelled for around 3 years total and have been contracting since early 2000's.

    I took 6 months off, just last year actually, was bloody fantastic

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by smit0847 View Post

    Does anyone actually do this? Is there a magic number you’ve needed to earn/save in order to have extended tim off? It seems to good to be true but I’ve done my sums very carefully!
    I've done this three or four times. Just take six months or a year off after a contract. I can recommend it, also took time off to laze around getting a Masters degree.

    My experience: nobody minds if you take a holiday, but recruiters hate the degree.

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    Have you ever seen a fat lazy contractor naked?
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    I used to do 6 months on / 2 months travelling back in my younger days in the mid 2000s. Now it is 12 months on / zero months travelling to fund nappies, babygrows etc!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by diseasex View Post
    1. If you do such long breaks you might struggle to find work
    2. Consider retirement. Spending all the income and not saving for 50+ ?
    I don't think I would actually ever want as long as 6 months off to travel - it would be too long and I'd get sick of it. 3 months is far more realistic for me.
    I do worry a little bit about regular, extended gaps in the resume - if I was a recruiter it would just say to me 'they don't seem to like working'.

    I'm only going to be in the UK for another 2-3 years then back to Australia to settle down/save for retirement etc. I just turned 33 years old. I have a cash flow positive investment property in Australia.

  9. #9

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    It's doable but it's hard to chuck an offer of another 6 months wedge back on the table.
    You have to be disciplined to just say no thanks I am off.
    SOME people are in very high demand and have brilliant contacts, they can pick and choose and there will always be work for when they want to get back to it but they are very rare and you can use up the goodwill by bailing when an offer has been made. Yes, I know there should be no bad feeling at the end of a contract, I am talking about human nature being affected by the renewal rejection/maybe even jealousy that you are off travelling.
    I had a summer off a couple of years ago after one ended, I had an offer (not a renewal) which I turned down and I really enjoyed the time off.
    I was hoping for the same this year because the whole dept is toast but another 6 months has turned up out of nowhere. I have negotiated a 4 day week (maybe 3 at a push) which I think I can live with but it is nothing like being fully off.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukemg View Post
    It's doable but it's hard to chuck an offer of another 6 months wedge back on the table.
    You have to be disciplined to just say no thanks I am off.
    SOME people are in very high demand and have brilliant contacts, they can pick and choose and there will always be work for when they want to get back to it but they are very rare and you can use up the goodwill by bailing when an offer has been made. Yes, I know there should be no bad feeling at the end of a contract, I am talking about human nature being affected by the renewal rejection/maybe even jealousy that you are off travelling.
    I had a summer off a couple of years ago after one ended, I had an offer (not a renewal) which I turned down and I really enjoyed the time off.
    I was hoping for the same this year because the whole dept is toast but another 6 months has turned up out of nowhere. I have negotiated a 4 day week (maybe 3 at a push) which I think I can live with but it is nothing like being fully off.
    Managed very carefully it can be done and can work out well. I made my intension very clear in advance to the client that I was going travelling and when.
    They had something waiting for when I was supposed to come back. I had to turn it down as I decided to go to Mexico for 2 months instead

    The same client then took me on a couple of months after my return, a nice extra 2 years work there in the end

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