Long story short. I've been asked to return to a company I last worked for 6 months ago to fix a system that I know like the back of my hand (I designed, built and supported it for several years)
I'm an IT contractor (currently in the middle of a full-time contract elsewhere). The HR department of my old company has contacted me and offered an extremely good contract for me to return (ten times what they used to pay me, and twice what I'm currently on).
I've rung around some of my old colleagues and got the full story, the system has completely failed and the company is currently losing millions a day (it's a major multinational company). Not only has it failed, but even when it gets fixed the company is unlikely to be able to retrospectively bill for the provided service. I've also learnt that the company has currently flown in a full team of 'experts' costing 120k per day.
So, what should I do? I'm happy to help my old company but extremely reluctant to breach my current contract. I'm also somewhat miffed that the contract I've been offered (although extremely generous) is massively below the daily rate of the 'experts'. I'm also pretty confident that I can fix the problem very quickly.
Would it be ethical to offer a 'no-fix, no-fee' deal? I'm pretty sure I know what the problems is, I'm also pretty sure that the 'experts' won't be able to fix it and I could probably get it sorted with a weekends work.
If I offer to come in this weekend (day after tomorrow) they'll already have spend nearly a million on consultants (on top of the 10 million plus they've lost in revenue). Would it be un-reasonable for me to charge as much money as they're loosing every day? Even if it's for just days work? I guess the question really boils down to should I charge for what my time is worth, or should I charge for the money I'll save them?
Ok – important update here….. The reason I’m so confident that I know what the problem is that I know the company did something that I told them not to do! Before I left some important changes were proposed to the system, I wrote a very technical rebuttal to them that was followed by a meeting during which I lost my temper and said some unprofessional things. A soon as I calmed down I realised I’d overstep the mark, I wrote an apology to the person I’d lost my temper with (I called him a moron – not realising he was a director) and then handed in my resignation, basically I resigned before I could be fired, and I left the company that same day.
The description of the failure matches what I predicted in my analysis of the proposals, the company should still have the document, but it does involve high level maths and detailed knowledge of the systems involved so it’s possible they don’t have anyone who understands the issues.
Although I’m confident that I’ve done nothing wrong, I’m beginning to think that I should actually just stay well clear and let the company stew
Sorry if I’m not providing full disclosure, it’s a well-known company and I’m doing my best not say anything that could allow their identity to be guessed.