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Contracting or not

I have been working with lotus notes for the past 4 years. Right now I am in a position that does not really enhance my skills or provide any type of training. I have been contacted by a consulting ageny about a possible position I have a good chance of getting. It is full time with benefits, 401k, and training. But the contract is only for 8 months or so. My wife and me worry about what happens after it ends. I have been told they will do everything to get me another contract but worried about relocating as we don't want to. But the experience is to good to pass up. Oh they are a lotus biz partner too.. Any advice..please..
You are in a familiar tough spot, the great job has no security. You need to look at this as a calculated risk. The first consideration is your location, if you are in a city with a strong Lotus Notes community, like Washington DC or Chicago, then you're probably going to be able to find work easily after your contract ends. If you're in a small town or in an area with few Notes shops, then your risk increases. Second, do the math. If you can bank two months income during your contract, then you can probably wait out a job search. If the money situation is tight, then it gets riskier. Third, will the advancement of your skills make you much more marketable? Don't forget to take this into your calculations. Lastly, is this the only job in town? You may want to conduct a full job search, you may find another position with less risk. This comes down to your tolerance for risk. If you are scared for the whole 8 months of the contract, you won't enjoy it. If you can cope with the risk, then go for it, working for a Lotus Biz Partner can be rewarding. If not, spend the next year getting your finances and mindset ready for risk and look for a contract then. Most of all be open and honest with the hiring manager, if you don't take it now explain why, and s/he'll may contact you for a future assignment.

This was last published in February 2001

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