A possible job opportunity…

…has come up, but I’m not real happy with it. One of the contract houses I’ve been talking to called me up yesterday about another travel position that’s definitely not technical. What they’re looking for is team leaders for doing computer equipment inventories at various places in different cities. Basically you fly out with a bunch of printed barcodes and a scanner and work with the local techs to get all the equipment scanned and barcoded at a site and then move on to the next city. One fellow currently working this job just got back from being on the road for three weeks straight. Because it’s not overly technical it only pays $20 an hour, but it averages about 60 hours a week. Not real exciting, but not bad all things considered.

Here’s what I don’t like about it: While the company does cover travel costs and car rental ahead of time, I’d be required to pay for my hotel arrangements myself and then expense it back to the company in addition to a $35 a day meal stipend. Now the meal stipend is pretty standard practice and I don’t have a problem with it, but expensing hotel accommodations is an entirely different question. Again I’d have to get myself a credit card, something I’ve been happily living without for the past several years in an attempt to pay off past debts. The company says it’s because I’d be a contractor—if I were a full-time employee they’d cover the hotel as well—but I’ve had previous travel jobs as a contractor where the hotel was covered ahead of time (Y2K upgrades for GMAC and GM) so I know this isn’t necessarily a standard practice. The other thing I don’t like about this position is that they’re only guaranteeing 7 weeks of work, most of which will be spent away from home from the sounds of it. That comes out to about $8,400 total before taxes assuming I work 60 hours for all 7 weeks. If any better opportunities do come up I won’t be around to apply for them.

So I’m not sure if I want to apply for it or not. I have a day or so to think about it before they plan to start interviewing folks so I’m taking the opportunity to kick it around a bit. Anne thinks any work is better than no work, but I’m really not happy about the extra demands this position would put on me for only 7 weeks worth of work. If it were for a longer period or if I knew I’d get bench time with the company after it was over with then I might be a bit more enthusiastic. Still, it’s the first call I’ve had in a couple of weeks. Yep, I’ll be agonizing over this one for a couple of days.

13 thoughts on “A possible job opportunity…

  1. That’s a tough one.  Maybe this will help: Would you have to reapply to unemployment if the job only lasted 7 weeks?  And if so, would you have the same waiting time again?  For that kind of travel they should pay more than that.

  2. Les, I would go ahead and take it for two reasons.  First, this is an actual job as opposed to a potential job.  It could also lead to new doors opening up.  Secondly, you have the support of your wife which counts for quite a bit.  Well, whichever way you decide, best of luck!

  3. Yes, tough call.

    Another reason to take it is that it’s one more thing to put on your resume (or job ap) as work you’ve been doing.  Which (if the hirer for some future job has his head on straight) will be seen as a positive.

  4. I concur with everyone else. It may not be the best work, but it’s paying work that you can do now.

    At least you’re not working at a Pizza Hut Express in a freakin’ Target store.

  5. yeah. roughly ten grand if you pull per diem for
    6 days a week. 7 weeks nonstop is rough. contracts bill out airtime typically. (contractors take everything they can get) “from the time i catch a
    ride to the airport, to the time my bags hit the floor at my destination.”

    I would take it and rake em. aint nothin free.
    you can bill 168 hours in a week, i have seen it done before. (sleep on the plane, rent a car, proceed to site, work, proceed to airport, sleep on the plane, rent a car..)  hell on relationships as well.

    take your time, (if you got a AAA card you can get hotel discounts) more per diem pay. expence often.

    job offers always come when your employed
    someone will call if youre on the road. its just the way it is.

    good luck.

  6. I’d take it. If nothing else, it’s funding your “real” job search.

    Watch those bills, though. I’ve yet to see a company that doesn’t drag out paying off those expenses for months. Every month they drag it out is time they’re earning interest on that money and you’re not. I’ve seen it get a lot worse nearing the end of a fiscal year as the company tries to postpone payments into the next year.

  7. It is income. Period. My husband is 3 weeks into a 9 week position that is over 1000 miles away from home. We felt it was better to know we have something coming in than be concerned about an interview that may or may not happen. The distance and time apart isn’t a fun componant but we are all making sacrifices in one way or other.

    You need to make the choice that will work best for your family. This just happened to work best for ours.


  8. Go ahead and take it.  Hedge your bets though, stay in the cheapest motel you can find.  All you need is a mattress and a place to wash up.  Take your own sheet, blanket and pillow (or use some t-shirts on the pillows).  There are all kinds of things you can do to make it as inexpensive as possible.

    The key is to make the trip as inexpensive as possible.  Stay in cheap, seedy places, split rooms with as many people as you can.  Pro wrestlers (hobby wrestlers, really) know how to travel on the cheap.

    Then if the company does try to screw you on the reimbursements, you at least didn’t lose as much.

  9. When my husband and I started our business we couldn’t get a credit card so we got a debit with the credit on it from the bank to place orders and make reservations when necessary.  Maybe that’s an option for you if you take the job.

  10. I’m with DOF on this.  Also, you should check on your unemployment benefits.  Most states say you need to work x many weeks before you can receive benefits.  Check to see what MI says.  If you need to work 20 weeks before you get benefits, well then,  you’re screwed.

    Go with your gut.

  11. Les,

    Its a tough call really.  Here’s the million $ question.  Can you afford to make the hotel up front?  If not then the answer has to be no.  You are right about this not being a standard practice but if you’re getting desperate for money yet, this may be a good opportunity.  It could be a buffer zone that would give you some breathing room. 

    Personnally, I would take it if I could but either way, best of luck on your decision.

  12. As an independant contractor you’re going to get a 1099. You need to CYA taxwise or you’ll be in serious pain next apr. 15.
    I suggest buying an old RV (can be found for <$3000) find a way to bill the company for motels even if you don’t use them. On your taxes, expense the RV (sec 179) and claim your $0.40/mi

    peace, freedom and keep your word

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