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Yet another ethical dilemma.  I've been consulting for a company (startup, 8-10 people) for almost 3 months.  They're about to put me on a 6 week project that is key to their success.  I was approached last friday by an old boss, who is at a company I would Really Like To Work For (tm).  Interview is Wednesday.  Need is immediate.

So.  First off, I'm currently paid by the hour, and I'm looking at 60+ hour workweeks for 6 weeks (deadline is a trade show).  I can deal with that, I'm paid by the hour and if my car was a cat 8 of it's lives would be history (and the car I need is about $18k, the G35 I want closer to $35k).  Not to mention my hourly rate is better than the salary/benefits I'll (probably) be offered.

Second, did I mention I really want to work for this company?  They make the 10 best places to work list every year.  I know several people there, they say it's great.  I've spent some time there myself, looks sweet.  I'd have my own office.  10 of us would share a secretary (they arrange offices in "pods", each pod has a secretary).  Considering half my documentation time is just fighting with MSWord over crap like indentation and "dammit, this drawing goes with this f'n text so keep em together", this is great for productivity.

Third, nothing is a given.  I could botch the interview, or something could come up such that I'm not offered the job.  Or they make an offer lower than I'm willing to take.

I finished my last project friday, I'm expecting the official "can we hire you for 6 more weeks" offer tomorrow (monday).  There  is no way I can put off my start date for the other company for 6 weeks. 

So, ahhh, what would you do?

Snotnose
Sunday, February 29, 2004

Have you talked to your old Boss and asked if he could move up the interview to Monday or Tues?

Have you talked to your old boss about this dilemma?
If you clearly communicate that you are NOT trying to pressure him, but rather, that you'd like to not leave starutp in the lurch, he will hopefully appreciate your honesty and try to move quickly.

If the old boss's need is immediate, you'd think they'd be motivated to interview you ASAP.

Can you delay the 6 week gig by a few days?

Could you take the 6 week gig then, after accepting the new job at the old company, give them 2 weeks notice?  Would your old boss be able to wait for 2 weeks.

BOTTOM LINE
You have to look out for YOU.  It's perfectly acceptable to give 2 weeks notice, especially as a contractor, and especially 3 days into the project.  THEY could do it to YOU in a heartbeat. If they could suddenly get someone twice as good for half the price and replace you with no ill effects on the project, they'd do it, and justifiably so.

And the chance of a full time permanent dream job vs. a 6 week grueling assignment seems like an easy choice.



Loyalty is a process, not a state. I.e., loyalty is not a promise to always bend over backwards, it's a commitment to work with the other party to BOTH party's benefit.

The real Entrepreneur
Sunday, February 29, 2004

The wed interview is my doing, ye old used-to-be-faithful steed needs to enter ye-old-open-wallet-turn-upsidedown garage monday morning,and I don't get the car back until Tues.  So I don't have a car monday/tuesday.  Not an emergency, just something I had scheduled before this whole mess came up (schedule mechanic, get ride home with friend, and ride to work tuesday with a different person).

I would love to postpone the job start for 6 weeks, but didn't want to mention it friday as I don't think things have gone that far.  If I don't take the 6 week job I don't think the other company has another job for me (e.g. I'm not working).  And they have been much too good to me for me to spend 2 weeks on this thing and say "toodles".

I figure the interview/negotiation/2 weeks notice will take up 3-4 weeks.  As I said, it's a hard deadline (trade show), so I only need 2 more.  But talking to my ex-boss, he needs me yesterday.  I need to do the interview, and talk to O.B., before I really know if I can wait 2 weeks.  But I don't want to ask for a 6 week delay only to find that botches the whole opportunity for me.

Sigh.  5 months, no work, nobody wanted me.  Now that I'm working everyone wants me.  Reminds me of when I was young.  No women wanted to date me.  Until I got a hot, and I mean hot, girlfriend.  Suddenly I had chix hitting on me everytime she went to the bathroom.  It was ego-boosting and pathetic at the same time.  Of course, when I got tired of the hot girlfriend then no women wanted to talk to me anymore.  grrrr.

Snotnose
Sunday, February 29, 2004

If it was really a good company to work for, I would think they could wait 6 weeks for you. 


Sunday, February 29, 2004

You could definitely get them to wait six weeks.  I was in the identical situation a couple years back.  The new company needed me IMMEDIATELY.  But I said, "look I'm 5 weeks from a major deadline and I don't want to leave them in a lurch, I'd give the same consideration to you if the situ was reversed".  They took a few days after the interview to ponder it, but rewrote my offer letter to give me 5 weeks.

A question for you: what's the name of this great company, where are they located, and do they need java programmers? (or programmers willing to learn anything for that matter)?

I'd love to have a secretary!

Especially if she's cute.

Ken Klose
Sunday, February 29, 2004

May I ask which "top 10" list is that?

Alex.ro
Sunday, February 29, 2004

You don't have dilemma until you have an offer letter. :)  Even if you do get an offer letter, you will only have a dilemma if you can't get them to delay for (what will probably closer to 4-5 weeks at that point) 6 weeks.  I would think you have a pretty good shot at getting the delayed start date.  But no reason to stress about it until the ball is really in your court.

Ray
Sunday, February 29, 2004

I agree with Ray. These things take time, so even if the new company made an offer, that will probably take them a few weeks. Even when they say immediate, it usually  isn't.

By the time an offer is looking like being made, tell them you have a current commitment that will take you another few weeks.

Most companies understand you have to finish up other jobs first.

Damian
Sunday, February 29, 2004

If the position was reversed, the company would sack you like that, or send your job overseas, or whatever.

If you are essential to the project, it is up to the company to provide payment that entices you to stay. Simple as that. The company derives the profit from you staying, not you.


Monday, March 01, 2004

I think everyone's advice about the "immediate" position not being that immediate, or to ask your boss for some time, is probably the best and most practical ideas so far.

This isn't so practical, and I have a feeling it doesn't apply to your situation, but another possibility is if you had a network of peers.  The successful freelancers I know maintain a network of peers who refer work too each other, when there's too much to handle. 

By chance, is the first letter of the company's name (the one you really want to work for) happen to be one of the last 10 letters in the alphabet?  If it is, I'd laugh my butt off at the possible irony.

VP
Monday, March 01, 2004

The "rains/pours" effect isn't that surprising if you think about it.

If you have a (hot girlfriend | job) then you act as if you don't NEED one (b/c you do NOT need one).

Others see this aloof coolness, without even needing to see that you HAVE said girlfriend/job and they ASSUME you must have them/it and that you must be valuable.

I.e.,... if you ACT like you are valuable, people will assume that you are. If you ACT confident, people assume there's a reason for that confidence because USUALLY, the two are correlated.

Oh, and if you have the thing then you're not waiting around for the thing, so it doesn't SEEM to take as long for another thing to come along.

Lesson?  Act confident. 

The real Entrepreneur
Monday, March 01, 2004

Where's the conflict?

"I figure the interview/negotiation/2 weeks notice will take up 3-4 weeks."

So there's possibly only two weeks of potential conflict with the dream job and your upcoming project? So get hired by the dream company and then ask for your start date to be at the end of your current project. It's simple and everyone wins.

David Fischer
Monday, March 01, 2004

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