Monday, June 18, 2012

A New Relationship - Part 5 (epilogue)

Hi all,

Here's the ending, and thank you for your patience getting to this part. This is my favourite entry, where I answer some of the questions people have asked, and some that may be floating around too. After this bit, if you're still pining for information on my transition, feel free to ask. I'm an open book, and happy about what has happened.

Epilogue - How's it going in the new job after 2 weeks?

Right off the bat, I should mention that I made the decision I made entirely without any knowledge of what was about to be in the media about layoffs at my previous company (which haven't happened, as far as I know). When a company is as under the microscope as that company is, having their name in the media is kind of a given, and only 1/10 of the time it ends up being based on facts. I heard the news when everyone else did, and my move had already been made.

That being said - living under the cloud of "Your company isn't doing well" wasn't fun, and it contributed abstractly to my overall decision.  The only concrete reason I left was because of the new opportunity.

To start this new gig, I was given the option to become incorporated (which most contract workers do), or to become a sole proprietor. I did the latter, because it meant a bit of a safety net if things turn sour. Part of my pay will be given to EI, and if I become redundant before my contract ends (June 2013), I can collect it while I get my next contract in line. I got to choose a company name (Positive I.T.), and that's kind of the end of it. Unless things change a lot, the entire purpose of this company will be for me to work for the current client. Although the idea of contract work is exciting, it's more of a backup to my Plan A of getting to work for this client full time. 88% of the people in my department started as contract workers, and are now working full time, so I'd like to keep up the statistic.

It's been a rollercoaster of a 2 weeks, with more good than bad. The bad parts have been more boring than anything, and I don't think there will be much of that. I've gone from not knowing anything about what I was doing, to knowing more than the people who I was looking to for guidance. I went from making work for myself by colour coding spreadsheets, to not having enough time to eat. It's been great. That being said, there are cons so far, which are:

1 - I don't like telling people "it's not my job", but I have to a lot.

2 - I work for a month before I see my first pay day.

The pros far outweigh them. I'm working with great people, I'm working awesome hours (Mon-Fri 8:30-5, no overtime, no on-call), when I leave work I leave work (no work email on my BlackBerry), and there's a LOT of flexibility. In my previous gig, there was no flexibility, but I thought that was a fine thing. Now, there's nothing but flexibility. I make my own schedule, and as long as my work gets done, no one bats an eye. Awesome.

Thanks for sticking through my blathering. Now back to... more blathering? :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A New Relationship - Part 4

Hi all!

This is the second last entry in the series - I've written them all, now it's just to add some pictures, and they'll all be up.

Day 22 - Rebuttal

The next day, my recruiter called me up very confused.  After all, I had accepted the offer.  I told him it was the contents of the contract, which I didn't see yet.  He asked for specifics, and I gave him some sections I didn't like.

He offered to fix the contract, and gave me a new one. All my concerns were addressed, but I felt bullyed into it, so I didn't want to make the change. I got so stressed out, I needed closure, so I emailed the client and told him that I wouldn't be joining.

Day 23 - A Kind Hand

The next morning, I had a modified contract with everything I wanted, and a frantic recruiter asking why I was done with the deal, but I was 99% sure I wasn't going to change.

An email from the client directly to me made me re-think.  He was kind, he genuinely understood my concerns, addressed them honestly, and didn't make me feel crazy for having concerns.   He provided information on his team, and shared some details he didn't need to in order to make me feel comfortable, and to cap it off, he told me to take my time in my decision.  The recruiter kept asking me when I'd have an answer, but here was the client telling me to take all the time I needed. Amazing.

The client also advised that a member of his team would be in HRM next week, and that it might be beneficial to meet with him to get some more information before making my decision. Great idea, and one I wanted to do. It was a bit of a struggle to tell the recruiter that I was taking my time, but I was coming from a good place, and was up to the challenge.

Day 30 - Confirmation

That week was very enlightening.  I read a lot of stuff on the web about contract employees, what they liked and what they disliked. I read about the client, and how people loved working for them. I felt kind of excited, but I wanted to meet the team member from the client with an open mind.

The day of the meeting came, and I was impressed. The guy was awesome, and gave me the absolute impression that this was the right move to make. I waited for a bit, just to let it sink in, and then emailed my boss at RIM asking if we could talk.  I figured I'd talk to him about notice before making it official, but I was confident things were going right.  I drove to the office, and everything went great - no hard feelings, and I'd keep working up until the day before I switched. Everything was cool.

The next entry has to do with my feelings after the first 2 weeks at the new gig. Sneak peek - I'm happy with my decision.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A New Relationship - Part 3

Hi all,

Part 3 comin' straaaaaaaight atcha!

Day 20 - Video Conference

Heather was gracious enough to take the boys to visit their Grammy, so I had the house all to myself for my video conference. I was prepped over the weekend by my recruiter, who told me that this was like an interview, and provided some tips and things to speak on.

I mis-judged the timing because of the difference of time zones, but that gave me an hour to work out some technical kinks, so it worked out quite well.

The call itself was more the client talking than me - lots about the position and about the company, and he only asked me one question - describe yourself in 3 words.

We ended the call with the plan that the successful candidates would receive a face-to-face interview the next week.
Day 21 - Really?

The day after my video conference, the recruiter called back and asked how it went, and the ever so sly question "If you were to receive an offer today, would you take it?". I said that yes I would, thinking that a negative answer would halt the process, and I wouldn't learn more.  After all, I thought the next step was a face to face interview.

About an hour later, he called back and offered me the job. I was flabergasted, but accepted, and awaited the contract via email.

The contract was an excellent reality check, and gave me a ton of questions that I would have asked in the face-to-face interview, and I realized that I didn't want to make this move.

I confirmed that I had received the contract, but that I needed time to mull it over.  I used the time I bought myself to solidify my feelings, and get some wording for it.  Once that was done, I wrote the recruiter that I would not be accepting the contract, but thanking him and the client for their time.

I thought that was the end, but I was very wrong.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A New Relationship - Part 2

Hi all!

I'm relying heavily on my trail of emails, which justifies my "never delete anything" mentality when it comes to email:

Day 3 - A Lie (from my point of view)

It's very important that this next day was a Thursday - near the end of the week. The recruiter calls to keep me up to date, and he tells me he has enough information to take to the client. I may have mis-heard him, but I have the distinct impression that I heard, "You should be hearing from them this week, or at the latest, Monday."

When Monday came and went, and I didn't hear anything, I thought, "Oh well, I guess I wasn't what they were looking for". I waited until Tuesday, and then casually emailed the recruiter, asking if there was any feedback. He wrote back all confused, and advised that my next communication should be directly with the client. I read and re-read that email, trying to find my mistake. Sadly, I didn't have the ability to refer to a paper trail about our call the previous Thursday, but felt lied to. Regardless, I didn't have any news, so I let it be. The recruiter advised me to sit tight, as I would be hearing from the client "any moment now". I didn't know that a moment could last a week, but...

Day 10 - Video Conference Invitation

After having abandoned hope of feedback (even though I didn't want the job, I masochistically wanted to know why they didn't want me), I proceeded with the day-to day awesomeness of family and working for RIM. Then, out of the blue, the same recruiter is calling me and is asking if I can have a video conference with the client, as they weren't able to make it out to Halifax, but that they'd like to "meet" me.  I was cool with that, and soon received an invitation from the client. I thought it was pretty nice of them to give me my feedback over video chat, but I was mistaken.

Next days - my video "interview" and it's my turn to lie

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A new relationship - Part 1

Hi all,

Thank you for your patience!  I hope to get this blog up to date soon - here's part 1:

April 18th - Day 1 - Courtship (telemarketing style)

Around 11am, I got a call asking me if I were interested in a job. Based on my previous experience where jobs I'm qualified to do pay very little compared to what I did at RIM, I blew it off. Besides, it sounded like the dude was reading from my resume, not from actual qualifications. A+ and MCP are excellent assets? Those are just initials I haven't looked at or cared about in almost 10 years.

However, I'm me, and I avoid confrontation like the plague, so I agree to be sent information - expecting to see something like "must be willing to sell children" and take my easy out.

I got the email, and it was pretty generic - just saying that it was a "long-term contract position". That phrase was a warning to me, but I thought I could use it to my advantage when weaseling out of this malarkey. No statement about who the company was, or what the role was other than support.

*edit - reading the email now, there are all kinds of clues to who the company was, but I guess I wasn't looking hard enough.

I responded advising that I had the information, and to get myself some more information, I asked some questions about hours of work and the all-important salary (bound to be pitiful).

I had my answer in just over an hour, and was mildly surprised. I talked to my wife, and I figured I'd find out where this was going and talk to the recruiter the next day.

April 19th - Day 2 - 2nd date

Armed with my "easy-out" of talking about how contract work isn't for me if things start to go south, I get a call back from the recruiter the next day.  Right away, he asks if contract work is a concern. I was taken aback, because that was supposed to be my topic to bring up, but the gentleman was now telling me some drawbacks of contract work, and now able to tell me the company name that the role was for.  He also didn't scoff at my salary question, and asked what my minimum would be. Huh.  This was taking a turn for the weird.

The recruiter said that he would get in touch with the client if I was interested in pursuing the role further, and I let him know that was cool.

I hung up the phone feeling absolutely sure that this wouldn't lead anywhere, but I would follow up with some people just in case...

Next part includes what every relationship has to have - it could be either a deception or a misunderstanding, all depending on your point of view.