I have been working with a company, building their infrastructure and software systems for the past 7 years. Their software (hosted applications) and the services around the software are what they sell. Because we have been a small business, I have been the primary IT person and am the only person that knows all of the systems.
A large investment firm recently started a new business that in turn acquired the company that employs me. In the past 6 months I’ve gone from being an integral part of the team to someone on the outside. Part of this is due to the fact that I work from my home some 500 miles from the office where all new employees are located and also because the new company is bringing in “their people”. Their last hire was a VP of Software Development, basically a replacement for me. Of course they have not worded it quite that way, but the writing is on the wall.
I have no ill will towards the company and I wish them success, however, I have poured myself into this company for 7 years and probably by the end of this year I will be asked to move local or lose my job. Fortunately I can survive without my job since my wife is gainfully employed, but while I have a small window of opportunity I would like to use any leverage I might have to capitalize on the situation
I have a couple of businesses interested in hiring me as an independent contractor for a limited number of hours per month, so perhaps this is a good time to make that move. My current salary is roughly 125K. I would like to go to the new owners, turn in my 2-week notice, and offer my services as an independent contractor going forward.
Here are my questions:
- Is a 2-week notice necessary if I’m making myself immediately available as a contractor?
- Do you see any red flags regarding the following arrangement and fee schedule as a contractor?
- 6-month, renewable contract
- Hourly Rate: $150
- Retainer Rate: $120/hr (20% discount) @ 80hrs/month – this must be prepaid each month for duration of contract. If they insist on a contract period less than 6 months in duration, no discount will be applied.
- All travel expenses are to be reimbursed by client.
- No travel on Monday or Tuesday as these days are reserved for other clients
- Point-to-point travel charged at ½ Hourly or Retainer rate
- Rather than presenting them with the above option, I could give them a 2-week notice and explain that I have a couple of IC opportunities that I don’t want to pass up considering the current state of my job. If they ask if there’s anything they can do to keep me on (because I will be a painful loss at this point), I could give them an option to keep me on as an employee for the next 6 months for a $50K bonus (35K up front, 15K after six months) to compensate for the risk of losing the interest of my current potential clients. If they don’t like this then I can present the terms above and they can choose which, if any, option they would prefer.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am irreplaceable, but 7 years of knowledge is a lot to lose when the only two other IT-related positions have been with the company for less than 2 months.
I don’t necessarily want to “put the screws to ‘em”, but business is business and I don’t think they will hesitate to put ‘em to me if I don’t watch after my own interests.
Because I'm training my replacements, my value goes down each day. Therefore I need to move as quickly as possible.
Any advice you might have will be greatly appreciated.