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Big fish small pond or vice versa

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thaiguy
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Big fish small pond or vice versa

Postby thaiguy » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 1:05 pm

Hey folks,

Been a reader of this forum for quite some time and enjoyed reading good advice from SMS, SE, Nak, etc....

I'm coming up on 3 years now in Singapore, and are at a crossroads with my career.

Long story short, I'm in a small, stable firm as an IT manager. I have been given an offer to relocate to China to work for a global company with good career growth but year to year contract role.

Current situation: Big fish in a small pond, great hours which let me run a non-profit and importantly work/life balance. Cost of living high (as expected in Singapore).

New role puts me as a small fish in a big pond. It will let me expand my IT experience even further. I will be traveling 50-70% of the time, seeing new places and new environments on a global scale. Compensation will be based daily but a very very good rate (30-50% more than total comp in current role depending on # days worked). Cost of living low as well, and the company name will be great to have under my belt.

I have been given various insights by colleagues, so it seems to come down to comfort vs risk: Willing to give up what I have now to further my career and see the world; also, work/life balance is an important factor, as I work 40-50hr weeks full-time, and this will definitely not be the case in the contract role. Also, it is a contract role, so no benefits given. No dependencies in Singapore to tie me down. Gf is overseas but supports whatever decision.

Let me know your thoughts...much appreciated.

-TG

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Postby nutnut » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 1:21 pm

Looks like you already know the answer!

But if you are looking for assurance, then, yes, it looks like a good opportunity to me too! I'd take it with both hands, I think you'd regret it if you didn't!

Oh, and IMO year to year contract makes you prepare for the contract running to an end, most people don't do that in Perm roles, so, it should put you one step ahead of the rest and having no dependencies/kids/wife etc then you are the right point to take such "risks" (I really don't think it is a risk, 30-50% more money would mean you are good for a few months without work if you even ended up out of work!)

Good Luck
nutnut

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Postby Hidy Ho » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 2:01 pm

How old are you Thaiguy? That can factor into risk vs. comfort decision as well. As well as long term goal.

One can choose to "live to work" or "work to live" ... an early advise in my professional life that I'm still trying to figure out. One thing I tried to do is not to make money 1st priority in making career choice/decision .. of course, I'm thankful that I can make enough money to be able to say that.

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Postby the lynx » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 2:06 pm

Hidy Ho wrote:How old are you Thaiguy? That can factor into risk vs. comfort decision as well. As well as long term goal.

One can choose to "live to work" or "work to live" ... an early advise in my professional life that I'm still trying to figure out. One thing I tried to do is not to make money 1st priority in making career choice/decision .. of course, I'm thankful that I can make enough money to be able to say that.


Agreed with Hidy Ho.

You have the green light for relocation (if you're leaning towards that) based on your post. I'd say if you're young, you don't have much to lose.

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Postby thaiguy » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 2:51 pm

Hey all,

Thanks for the sage advice. I'm in my mid-30's, so sometimes it feels like this job I have now is something I want in my 40's....stable, comfortable and balanced.

I guess it's my fear of the uncertain which is holding me back...more on contract vs permanent roles, since I have been in perm jobs my whole life. If you have any more advice on perm vs contract that would be great.....

Perm - Set hours, overtime pay, vacation days, sick days, medical benefits

Contract - Varying hours, no benefits, high pay

@Nutnut - Thanks! The money is great, but the work/life balance thing is important as well. I have passed on roles in the Big 4 due to the negative feedback I've received from colleagues that the balance doesn't exist, and I fear the same here. I do like stability (set hours, get to go to gym, eat right, etc....), but at the same time have a penchant for traveling and working in many different work settings which satisfies my tendency to get bored quickly :)~

@Hidy Ho - I'm in the same boat as well, that delicate balance between live and work seems to always be an issue :O

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Postby Leafable » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 3:11 pm

thaiguy wrote:Hey all,

Thanks for the sage advice. I'm in my mid-30's, so sometimes it feels like this job I have now is something I want in my 40's....stable, comfortable and balanced.

I guess it's my fear of the uncertain which is holding me back...more on contract vs permanent roles, since I have been in perm jobs my whole life. If you have any more advice on perm vs contract that would be great.....

Perm - Set hours, overtime pay, vacation days, sick days, medical benefits

Contract - Varying hours, no benefits, high pay

@Nutnut - Thanks! The money is great, but the work/life balance thing is important as well. I have passed on roles in the Big 4 due to the negative feedback I've received from colleagues that the balance doesn't exist, and I fear the same here. I do like stability (set hours, get to go to gym, eat right, etc....), but at the same time have a penchant for traveling and working in many different work settings which satisfies my tendency to get bored quickly :)~

@Hidy Ho - I'm in the same boat as well, that delicate balance between live and work seems to always be an issue :O


I don't think you call it higher pay as a contract for only 30-50%. May be I'm wrong because I'm not in IT field. Normally contract or freelance are at least 60%+ more than normal permanent role.

Apart from the pay rate. I think its a good opportunity to explore the world.
Last edited by Leafable on Thu, 06 Sep 2012 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby nakatago » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 3:36 pm

Leafable wrote:I think its a good opportunity to explode the world.


Uh-oh.

Expect the spooks or the drones to come your way.

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Postby Leafable » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 3:44 pm

nakatago wrote:
Leafable wrote:I think its a good opportunity to explode the world.


Uh-oh.

Expect the spooks or the drones to come your way.


Ooops... My Bad.

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nutnut
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Postby nutnut » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 4:04 pm

What are you a follower or a leader? show that you can do your job in a reasonable amount of time, don't bow to the locals coming in at 10:30 and staying until their eyes are ready to pop out, they tend to get less done anyway!

If you go in to the role, tell the hours you will be working, produce quality results and treat it as a career changer!

30-50% more on a contract in a different country and with a different type of country is totally subjective. I'd tend to agree that contracting in the UK/US/AU comes with a premium, but certainly contracting in Singapore doesn't have that same premium (there is some if you can negotiate).

I am a similar age to you, but, if I was single I wouldn't hesitate to see the world and work hard and earn a load of cash in the mean time. Remember, hours are set by you. Ensure that is understood from the outset and you'll be fine! ;)
nutnut

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 5:17 pm

Leafable wrote:I don't think you call it higher pay as a contract for only 30-50%. May be I'm wrong because I'm not in IT field. Normally contract or freelance are at least 60%+ more than normal permanent role.


This probably depends on the company. "Contract" is just a name for many and the only thing it implies is that it has to be renewed periodically. In my place practically all the key staff is on the contracts many of them like this 10 years or more. 1 year is a bit short one though.

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Postby Mi Amigo » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 5:35 pm

I've always taken the view that when an opportunity like this comes up, it's best to go for it and see what happens. In my case, as with many on here, this has entailed uprooting the whole family a number of times (having an understanding and supportive wife helps a lot), and things haven't always ended up as a bed of roses. But even for one episode that went seriously tits-up (technical term), it was a great learning experience. And I'd have hated to have not done it and then have thoughts of "I wonder how that would have worked out" knawing away in my head for years afterwards. Better to take the plunge IMO and see what happens. It doesn't have to be forever and if it doesn't work out then something else will come along.

In the words of Bernie Ecclestone, the world is your lobster!
Be careful what you wish for

thaiguy
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Postby thaiguy » Fri, 07 Sep 2012 10:29 am

Thanks all for the good advice and interesting viewpoints. I will consider all options and should make a decision soon.

Best,
TG

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 07 Sep 2012 10:39 am

I'd take the offer. Nothing more career limiting in IT than being the big fish in a small pond with no option to escape. You may be comfortable now, but what happens in 15 years when you're still in this niche and lose your job?

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Postby revhappy » Sat, 08 Sep 2012 10:08 am

I feel this thing that live to work instead of work to live is not practical at all. Especially in asia and now even in the west with the way the economy is. It's rare that you know exactly what you want especially when you are young and you choose your career. For example I used to hate economics as a kid, but. Now I love it. I chose IT because it was a safe career.

Right now I am in IT and earning well. I don't hate the job, but I don't love it either. I am happy if there isn't too much work , but I get bored if I don't have nothing to do for the whole day. But I am glad that I don't need to slog at my work place and dread even thinking of making a switch as this small city is famous for over working people.

To me I look at it as 8 hr job is like a downtime in my daily life and I try to do stuff that I enjoy in the rest of my day for example, the best part of working day is the part where I actually ride my bike to office and when I ride back home for lunch and then back to office and back home. I love riding bikes and sometimes I wonder whether I going to office because I like to ride or whether I ride because I need to go to office, haha.

I just make sure that I am saving enough money so that I can justify the 8 hrs downtime and anyways the things that I like doing I am not sure if I can make money out of it nor am I sure whether I will always like doing what I like doing now. :wink:


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