Author Topic: Government job vs. Consulting?  (Read 4487 times)

aldrimer

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Government job vs. Consulting?
« on: April 25, 2017, 01:34:07 AM »
Hi guys!
I'm currently working at a library as an IT-librarian. Pretty chill gig, decently paid (around 68k US$), lots of great benefits and no stress what-so-ever.
I just finished my MA in Digital Library and Information Sciences in order to increase my salary at my current job. (About the degree - yeah, it's a random degree, I know, but I did it primarily as I could combine the MA studies with full-time work. I'm from Scandinavia, so no tuition costs. I've basically worked 100% and studied 100% for two years).
I sent out a couple of applications after finishing my MA just to test the waters, and it turns out that several IT consulting companies want me as their employee (!)
I've already got several interviews lined up, and one job offer at 85k$. So that's pretty cool.
Hoooowever, I have absolutely no desire to climb the corporate latter. I already save 70% of my take home pay and will be able to FIRE in about 7-8 years with my current salary. I live mostly for my hobbies - music and language studies. I work part time as a musician, and can only do that due to the lack of stress / over-time at my current gig.

So, to all of you guys out there in the private sector working in IT consulting - what would you recommend me to do? Stay put in the safe and stress-free government job at 68$ a year? Or bust my ass for some years in the private world for a potentially much higher salary?

I might be negative here, but I do not believe in "fun" jobs. I hate working for other people with a passion, and when I did the interview with the IT company that made the job offer I was able to pull off the interview, but I had a gut feeling that the "Here at our company you get free lunch, iPads, nap time, social activities, company trips, blablabla" stuff they told me had the hidden, small-text postscript that said "In exchange FOR YOUR SOUL!!!".
But I might just overly skeptical, maybe it's a cool job...
« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 04:42:34 AM by aldrimer »

Linea_Norway

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Re: Government job vs. Consulting?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 04:14:22 AM »
I worked as an IT consultant for 2,5 years years, hired by 4 different companies. Before and after this consultant job I was employed internally at a software company. I didn't consider the consultant assignments to be more stressful than my current job. As a consultant you do not necessarily get as much responsibility as you would get as an employee. Unless they hire you as a project leader or so.

What was stressful for me however, was that I was hired out to any company in the Oslo area and was supposed to travel to all these places in my private time for my own cost. This gave me like 45 minutes extra commute each day, compared to where my company was stationed. This is what bothered me most, as I already had a reasonably long commute to start with.

Most companies that hire consultants, hire many consultants. "Colleagues" generally treat you as one of theirs. You do not always get the best place to sit, as you are "only" a consultant. This varies, I have also gotten very decent places to sit. You will not be included in social events that your assignment will organize. But you will be invited for social events and meetings at your own employer, but this will always be after working hours, so that you won't miss any invoiceable hours.

If the consultant company cannot find you any better assignment, you'll have to take the assignment they offer. Because they need to pay you and you'll need to generate an income. If you're lucky, maybe you can generate your own consultancy assignment and choose where you work. Some consultancy companies have bad contracts and an unrealistic number of invoiceable hours. Read your contract critically. Also read the restrictions they have for starting to work at any of your clients later.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 08:47:38 AM by Linda_Norway »

aldrimer

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Re: Government job vs. Consulting?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2017, 04:42:19 AM »
Thank you very much for sharing your experiences, Linda.
The job offer I have gotten is actually for an IT company located in Oslo, and I'm also a bit worried about the random commute hours they most likely will expect of me. At my current gig I bike 10 minutes to work, that's it. Another reason I haven't accepted the offer already is the high rent prices in Oslo. Yeah, I might get a higher salary, but rent in Oslo is like 40%-50% higher than in the town I currently live, so it might not make up too much of a difference everything considered.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Government job vs. Consulting?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2017, 08:23:56 AM »
Thank you very much for sharing your experiences, Linda.
The job offer I have gotten is actually for an IT company located in Oslo, and I'm also a bit worried about the random commute hours they most likely will expect of me. At my current gig I bike 10 minutes to work, that's it. Another reason I haven't accepted the offer already is the high rent prices in Oslo. Yeah, I might get a higher salary, but rent in Oslo is like 40%-50% higher than in the town I currently live, so it might not make up too much of a difference everything considered.

Also when you live in Oslo you can have a long commute. I used to rent an apartment on the very west side and worked in Skullerud (south east). That was 45 minutes by bus and tube, including walk to the bus stop.

Gumption

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Re: Government job vs. Consulting?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2017, 08:40:43 AM »
$85k for a steady, chill job? -- keep it. Consulting is decidedly not chill, and not steady and you could burn up that pay raise in little things to help ease the stress.

Keep that job, sock your money away, and focus on what makes you happy in life. With consulting, you'll only be focused on what tomorrow may or may not bring as far as work or pay.

my 2cents.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Government job vs. Consulting?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2017, 08:53:04 AM »
Also look at the pension they offer. In the government job your get Statens Pensjonskasse, where you and your employer contribute about 16% per year, which pays out until you die. Most other companies have a 5% - 8% pension fund, which only pays a limited number of years. This might also explain the difference in salary. Always look at the whole picture, not just the salary. Can you still cycle, or do you need to buy a tube ticket? How many free days are included around Easter/Christmas. Is lunch break included? Etc.

By the way, you are doing great, saving 70%! My DH and I are at 60%.

aldrimer

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Re: Government job vs. Consulting?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2017, 10:42:23 AM »
$85k for a steady, chill job? -- keep it. Consulting is decidedly not chill, and not steady and you could burn up that pay raise in little things to help ease the stress.

Keep that job, sock your money away, and focus on what makes you happy in life. With consulting, you'll only be focused on what tomorrow may or may not bring as far as work or pay.

my 2cents.

Ah, no, the $85k was for the job offer I got from the IT consulting company.
My current library gig is around $68k. (these are all rough estimations as I don't receive my salary in dollars).

But thank you for your input. I really appreciate it!

aldrimer

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Re: Government job vs. Consulting?
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2017, 10:43:46 AM »
Also look at the pension they offer. In the government job your get Statens Pensjonskasse, where you and your employer contribute about 16% per year, which pays out until you die. Most other companies have a 5% - 8% pension fund, which only pays a limited number of years. This might also explain the difference in salary. Always look at the whole picture, not just the salary. Can you still cycle, or do you need to buy a tube ticket? How many free days are included around Easter/Christmas. Is lunch break included? Etc.

By the way, you are doing great, saving 70%! My DH and I are at 60%.

I didn't know there was such a difference in the pensions. To be honest I haven't considered official pensions at all, as I'm into making my own pension FIRE style :D, but great advice! Will read up on that!

FLBiker

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Re: Government job vs. Consulting?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2017, 11:19:53 AM »
I'm in a different field (education admin) but I've reached a point where I opt for chill / steady vs. higher paying.  I make $80K, and I could likely have made $110K (or more) if I'd gotten my former boss' position.  I didn't apply, though, because of the travel demands and constant (ie 24/7) expectation of email / phone availability.  I've got a 2 yo, and I want to spend time with her and my wife.  I like having a job that I don't really take home with me, and that almost never requires extra hours.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!