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Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting

 
#1 Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting
26/05/2016 10:07

ZenDream

Hi all,

New poster but been lurking for a while and thought I would crowdsource some opinions.

I have earned a good and growing reputation as an IT contractor. I write online, publish webinars and have good links into the industry including startups.

Yearly income (pre-tax) is around 12K a month with 7K take home after costs. 3 children and marriage beckoning soon.

I was approached by a recruiter a few months ago to join a mid-tier, expanding consultancy (you can prob guess) in London. I attended the case interview, they offered me a role on the spot as a Principal. Although my industry knowledge is good, they were more excited by my presentation/selling skills as I have won a few awards and previously had a startup which secured investment.

Salary is 85K plus 15% bonus and the opportunity to take on sales targets and aim for partner. Personal travel cost to take the role is £1000 a month commuting via train/tube.

I am really torn. It was my dream for a long time to join a consultancy and work with clients on large scale problems but the salary drop and the thought of permanent politics is holding me back from accepting.

I am also concerned that my IP and future products would need to be put on hold (email course, two books close to publishing, paid speaking engagements) as they represent conflict of interest or become the IP of the consultancy directly.

Just wanted to some thoughts from the community.

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#2 RE: Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting
26/05/2016 10:50

Rollercoaster to ZenDream (#1)

What are your career goals? If you want to become a partner then take the consultancy role. If you want to be a publisher / speaker then stay doing what you do.

I wonder what the structure of the firm you are looking at joining is. Are there a lot of MCs and associate partners above you? Delivering in large bureaucratic (client) organisations is very different to smaller more nimble places.

Beware being vampired for your contacts before you get credit for sales.

If the firm is the one I am thinking of then it is a nice place, is subject to the usual politics (and is fairly light on internal process), but the brand value isn't on a par with Strat houses or even large SIs and Accountancy firms.

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#3 RE: Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting
26/05/2016 11:09

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Rollercoaster (#2)

Uhhh....

So:

1. Right now you earn £12K a month. £12K a month, man!!!

2. Offer is about £5K a month less. £5K a month less, man!!! Plus you'd have to spend £1K a month on travel. So really it's £6K a month less, man!!! £6K is 50% of £12K... you'd be halving your income, man!!!

You seem successful at what you do, so why change a winning formula?

Also, no appraisals or politics and that sort of sh1te. And no chasing that carrot on the end of a stick that you'll never get to bite.

Where do you live anyway such that your travel costs would be £12K a year? That's a heck of a commute.

But I think you know what to do. You're bright enough to work out which of the options set out above is the most appealing...

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#4 RE: Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting
26/05/2016 11:35

arthurandersen to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

"It was my dream for a long time to join a consultancy and work with clients on large scale problems but the salary drop and the thought of permanent politics is holding me back from accepting"

You've answered your own question - keep the money and run, I'm with BEP on this!

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#5 RE: Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting
26/05/2016 20:25

Dublin Guy to ZenDream (#1)

I did this a year ago. Dreadful mistake. Not just "permanent politics" but sociopaths, narcissists, freaks who pretend they understand the industry while defending to the death their "Consultancy Model" and corporate colour pallet.

I suggest that if you do do it. first you spend 6 months working with them as a contractor first. You'll see whether it's for you (and to be fair some people do like it - and I did have some bad luck). If you do decide to do it trust your instincts. If it's bad at the start it is only going to get worse. And I had the sense to be out within 4 months (and take their client with me but that's another story - karma is one hell of a bitch...)

And another thing... how come you're only taking home 7k from 12k? Are you plumb inside IR35 (assuming inside UK)?

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#6 RE: Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting
27/05/2016 06:29

ZenDream to Dublin Guy (#5)

7K After VAT reduction, tax and variable costs including adjustment for holidays.

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#7 RE: Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting
16/06/2016 11:49

thormeyer232 to ZenDream (#6)

Hi

Please, please, please get some proper tax advice!!! You should be able to net £1-2k per month more than that, assuming that you are the right side of IR35.

The other factors to bear in mind, though, are bonus (which could be substantial at this level, especially if you sell on more work), pension, holiday and sick pay, plus training courses. It is not easy staying current as a contractor, although it sounds as though you pride yourself on being in a position of thought leadership.

It's a tough call...

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#8 RE: Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting
16/06/2016 12:26

marsday to ZenDream (#1)

I'll add a few thoughts..

Being a contractor, particularly one in your position, is much like being a pop star. As soon as you stop being current you stop being wanted. So just what would the opportunity cost be to take the PC role? Lets assume worst case scenario and that you are vampired for contacts/IP and it doesnt work out. How long will it take you to recover 12K a month work starting over after even a shortish break. 3 Months? 6 Months? What's the financial impact of that hiatus in consulting.

They were excited by your selling skills. That's great but taken in isolation suggests they see you are being a 'rainmaker' hire. Usually this translates as unrealistic expectations from them, and immediate performance pressure on you. Guess what happens all too often..

They offered you on the spot. No pause to collect feedback, reflect on cultural fit, or whether they are the right place for you to excel. That's a red flag to me. It suggests you have just walked into a box shaped role in which you'll have no involvement in defining that role.

And finally - as Bushy points out very clearly - its a big financial hit.

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#9 RE: Principal Consultant or Continue Contracting
22/07/2016 14:21

moneybags to ZenDream (#1)

How in your position are you only on a £600/d contract?

I know people that have 3-4years experience on £500/d.. There are business analysts I know on £600/d working for investment banks and they are very average.

I know 12k per month seems like a lot for the perms on here reading this, but its not that impressive in the contractor market.

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