I've been working for a small software company for the past five months. The job posting bragged of flexibility and part-time work at home, two things which I desperately needed as I am trying to launch a freelance web design business of my own.
The employer did not discuss salary at the interview. Later the next day, I get a call where the employer tells me they want to hire me, and now would like to discuss salary. I don't want to be too specific, but to say the least I'm being grossly underpaid.
I took the job anyways because I was expecting ample flexibility (that the employer had described to me) to setup my freelance portfolio while still collecting a paycheck (small as it is).
Boy oh boy was I naive to believe all of the so called "perks" of the job. I come to find out that the employer is not flexible, part-time work at home is non-existent (1 day in 5 months), and not to mention I'm expected to be available for technical support on our products 24/7. I have gotten calls anywhere from 9PM to 3AM that have led to hours of troubleshooting. If I don't answer my phone at any hour of the day, I'm scolded for it. I'm often called on Saturday and Sunday to pick up my coworkers' slack on projects with deadlines.
All of this, and I'm still being grossly underpaid (50% of the average median salary for this position in my city).
Now, all of that said, after struggling for the past five months to even find the energy to launch my freelance web design company, I am finally up and ready to go. My parents (who are partially financially dependent upon me) just lost their jobs two weeks ago. I knew I needed to make a change. I have built my freelance web design portfolio and have a long list of clients who I am actively in contact with that are waiting to purchase a website when my freelance business launches. I have a large chunk of money in savings, so I'm not worried about the instability of freelancing, but that money is being spent very fast and I feel like I need to pursue this opportunity ASAP.
My idea is to offer up an ultimatum: I can no longer work for this company full time. I will, however, offer to complete work remotely on a freelance (hourly) basis for an indefinite period of time.
This is really the ideal situation (and is actually the same situation that someone is in with the company), however I'm not sure if this is something they are looking for moving forward. This brings me to the real question:
Is it fair for me to impose an ultimatum like this? If the employer denies the ultimatum, would it be unreasonable for me to quit without notice given the situation? Should I make it clear that I cannot give notice when I give them the ultimatum?
Usually, I would have no problem providing two weeks notice. The issue is simply that in addition to all of my other responsibilities, I am also in a client-facing position. I am set to be working on-site for the following week, meaning I would largely be offline and this simply doesn't fly with me. I need the necessary time to get the ball rolling on this freelance thing for my sake and that of my family. If I were to return to work Monday, I would be putting myself in a rough position. I don't want to go into too much more detail about this, but if you have any questions please post them in the comments and I'll do my best to respond.