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What would you do?

May 1st, 2012 at 07:54 am

There's an opportunity for me to do a roughly 4 month contract job for a large employer in my area. The job would gross about $6,066 a month, or $24,266 for the 4 months. Then, presumably, I'd be done, and back to looking for a job.

If I took that job, I'd have to quit my part-time job at 25 hours a week for $375 gross a week (or $1,625 a month or $6,500 for the same 4 months).

I think I should take the full-time job, but I'd have to let go of my lifeline, the p/t job. It's not a slam dunk decision, but here are my thoughts why I should take the f/t job:

1. Having worked for a big company looks good on a resume and could open up more doors down the road.

2. Possibility it could lead to longer term work. (One can hope.)

3. I would switch to recruiter's health insurance plan so that when the job ended it would reset the COBRA clock that determines how many months I can continue on COBRA.

4. While my current p/t job is supposedly permanent, not temporary, a recent conversation i had with manager indicates the company is on shaky ground and barely breaking even. Building is up for sale and owners could choose to retire at any time. For all I know, that's their plan, to close down the business when the buidling sells.

Even though the pay is much less, I'm a little nervous about giving up what APPEARS now to be something that would last much longer than 4 months, but I can't really count on that.

I'd be giving up a p/t job with partial work at home and easy, back roads commute for a daily commute of an hour (maybe more with traffic?) but at least in the summer it'd be daytime driving.

5. Working there and then losing the job at end of term would i think qualify me for more unemployment benefits. Not that I want to forever be reliant on benefits, and I so want to work full-time, but I need it if I'm not working.

I calculate 15 weeks of work grossing $21,000, or $15,360 net. If I continued my uber-frugal living habits and existed on minimum monthly expenses of $2,431 a month during that time, I could cover expenses AND possibly save as much as $6,917 for a rainy day. (I would spend considerably more on gas, though.)

Your thoughts?

21 Responses to “What would you do?”

  1. Swimgirl Says:

    I know it's complicated. But I'd take the new job.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Agree with Swimgirl, it is complicated. It definitely sounds stressful with the commute, but I think all your points sound valid and point to a better situation long term.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    I don't think the rest of it matters. Being paid 4 months, 4 times as much, seems like a no-brainer to me. Is equivalent to working 16 months at current job? That's all I need to know.

    BE sure on the COBRA. My dad's last job was a similar situation, but did not last long enough for him to get COBRA reset. Just as an FYI. Similar situation, but may be different.

  4. Petunia 100 Says:

    I would go for the full-time job, because:

    1. Your part-time job seems like it may possibly be temporary, too.
    2. The additional $6,917 would just about wipe out your mortgage. Smile 3. The COBRA extension, if applicable, would be sweet.

    Maybe you could take an unpaid leave from your part-time job?

  5. Momma23 Says:

    Full-time job all the way!

  6. CB in the City Says:

    I'm a very cautious person and my first instinct was not to quit a permanent job for a temporary job. But given the difference in salary, and the opportunities it would afford, I actually think taking the full-time temporary job is the best thing to do.

    Have they made an offer?

  7. baselle Says:

    I'd take the f/t/ 4 month contract/more money. While the p/t is "permanent" it doesn't sound like it is. Also, I like the strategy that the f/t job helps you re-set your UE benefits.

  8. ceejay74 Says:

    If MonkeyMama's calculations are correct, you could essentially take a full year of no onsite employment after the 4-month contract and still be at the same place financially. That sounds like the way to go, especially since you could still try to fill in free time with freelance while you look for the next opportunity.

  9. LuckyRobin Says:

    I would also take the full-time short term job. I don't think you can afford not to and it would give you some breathing room to have that extra money in the bank, your COBRA reset, and your UE extended. Perhaps you can use the commute to listen to books on CD from the library to help it be a more relaxing time or start learning a foreign language from CD to eventually have another skill to put on your resume.

  10. patientsaver Says:

    Update: Phone interview tomorrow. In-person interview Thursday. Had to juggle things around with p/t employer who agreed that i could work Friday instead of Thursday and who will likely be curious why.

  11. patientsaver Says:

    One more BIG IF...the person i'd be temporarily replacing is adopting a child. If it failed to go thru or if birth mother backed out at last minute, as she has legal right to do, then I lose this job and current employee goes back to work.

    does that change any of your opinions?

    In the worst case scenario, I'd quit my current p/t job after getting an offer but would then learn the birth mother backed out. Which would mean i'd have neither jobg and would have also voided any remaining unemployment benefits. Since the recruiter warned me of this small possilbity, i don't know if I'd have any recourse given this scenario, unlikely as it seems.

  12. Single Guy Says:

    Only thing I would add is to get the four months guaranteed in writing. If you start there and then they decide they don't want you after two months this decision won't look as good.

  13. patientsaver Says:

    Single guy, it would be nice to have guaranteed employment, but just like a normal job, there is none. If they decide they don't like my work, I believe they can let me go at their discretion.

    At the last contract job i worked for a big company, they hired 3 of us on a contract basis. We all started at the same time. I spoke to the other 2, and each believed, like me, that they were in for a 4-month stay. The one guy was let go after 6 days; I don't know why but the employer told me he just hadn't worked out. the other woman stayed longer, but was still let go 1 month prematurely. I was the only one who actually did stay the full 4 months.

  14. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    I'd definitely take the risk. If you do part time evening work keep the job for two extra weeks just to make sure it all goes as expected. What a great opportunity. Good luck!

  15. Dido Says:

    Ditto what Monkey Mama said. The earnings discrepancy is so big it seems a no-brainer, especially given your concerns about the long-term viability of the publishing job.

    About the adoption back-out possibility....I don't know that it would necessarily void your UE benefits. Normally you can't quit a job and get UE, but if you quit for the reason of taking a better job and then that better job fell through for reasons completely beyond your control, I'm sure the loss of benefits would be something you could appeal and have a good chance of winning on.

  16. Dido Says:

    P.S. Good luck tomorrow!

  17. Another Reader Says:

    Another advantage to the temporary job is it gets your foot in the door of that company. If things go well and they like your work, you could have a shot at other, more permanent jobs there.

    The adoption issue is a big problem, however. Does the regular employee go on parental leave when she is handed the baby, or does she go out before she gets custody? It sounds like you would be in serious trouble if the regular employee came back early.

    Any way you could work nights and weekends in the part-time job? Maybe you could cut your hours at the part-time job to get a workable schedule. If they are contemplating shutting down the business, it might not be worth their while to train a new hire.

  18. patientsaver Says:

    That's a good idea, Another Reader, but I think it would prove impossible to do, logistically, given the commute. I don't know the particulars of when she gets the baby. for all I know it could be an international adoption where she travels abroad to pick up the baby, or maybe it's a local thing where she just wants the maximum time off to bond with baby and settle in, etc.

    While i'm a bit worried about some snafu with the adoption itself, i don't think the mom would choose to return to work early. I used to work at a company with a lot of young women who became pregnant, took maternity leave and fully planned to return, only to find once they had the baby that they couldn't bear to separate from the newborn so they quit their jobs.

    That's a good idea about trying to somehow hang onto the p/t job, but i don't see how i could do it. It's a 25-hour a week job and normally at least 1 day a week i need to be in the office, to do stuff using software i can't access remotely. I have to be there during normal business hours. Since i'm a part-timer, someone else has to be in the buillding.

    I don't think a business shutdown would happen in the near term. I'm thinking 6 months to a year, possibly longer, and they are on a schedule and would still need to publish the books i'm working on. the sale of the building could prompt changes more quickly, but when that might happen is anyone's guess.

  19. snafu Says:

    Life is full of unexpected changes. I would check with unemployment insurance to verify what benefits I could access when the job ran out.

    The economy is s-l-o-w-l-y recovering so like the others, I'd jump to FT employment. The advantage of a lg. company is that there are always slots opening due to attrition. Adopting moms have a high probability of becoming stay-at-home-moms as was pointed out.

    If your industry is changing/contracting, what can you do to adjust your skill sets to fit into another career?

  20. My English Castle Says:

    I'm late in this discussion, but will chime in with everyone else. Full time! Too many advantages to pass up!

  21. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I agree with the others. Your p/t job seems shaky enough that jumping to a f/t - esp. one with such a huge salary increase ... seems to be a good idea.

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