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Discussion Starter #1
I don't quite know what to do.

I got a call on Saturday from my old boss - the company previous to the one I was just laid off from. I had worked for this environemental consulting firm from 1992 to 2002, when I was laid off with no notice, no warning, nothing. It was a complete shock. I had formed friendships there and have maintained them, mainly through emails. Once a year I drop in and visit.

Seems the admin (that I trained) that they kept on when they let me go is pregnant and due in September. They want to bring someone in part-time for part of the summer, then to cover full-time while Lori is off for at least two months. There is a *slight* chance this could turn into a permanent, full-time position if they get the work they think is coming. We all know how that goes. It's a huge IF.

Cons:
1) It's 40 miles each way on I-275 and I-696, two of the busiest and craziest highways in Michigan. On a good day, I can make the drive there in less than an hour. Barely. Typical drive-home time is 90 minutes plus. I've been rear-ended twice on that drive, and gotten two speeding tickets.

2) It is a very stressful job. The company tests and cleans soil and groundwater, their product is the actual reports, documents, articles, etc. generated by the testing and cleaning of a site. I would be responsible for proofreading, editing, formatting, copying, and binding these reports, etc., including large spreadsheets of data. There is usually a drop-dead deadline for them to be delivered and I would often have less than two days. They are written by engineers, PhDs, and project managers that are prima donnas and do not like 'their work' changed and they NEVER make mistakes.

3) They also tend to drop last-minute deadlines on your desk that have to get out that day - and they go home to their families while you stay and work on their project. They like to demand that you stop what you are doing to work on their project. All of this I did for ten years, stroking egos and still standing firm that nothing goes out without a review and edit process. N-o-t-h-i-n-g.

4) There is a new office in Canada, set up for a certain client that has to have all reports done in a specific format. This would be totally new to me. I would have to learn their idiosyncracies and conform to them.

5) They have already let me go once.

6) I don't know what this would do to my unemployment. If they can't pay me more than I would make by staying home, plus cover my gas, then there isn't even a question.

Pros:

1) I like (most of) the people there.

2) It is mostly a known system, albeit I am almost 7 years rusty. Not as big a learning curve as a new job would be, and the environment is familiar and comfortable.

Thoughts, suggestions? I am going to call the unemployment office to find out how much I can earn before I lose my benefits. Tried today but the lines were too busy.
 

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I see many negatives to this job. Especially the "if" to perm position. I dunno, I guess it's all in what you are looking for to be honest. If you want something that is temporary than I say go for it. Who knows what opportunity you might miss if you take this position. Just my thoughts.
 

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The list of cons is mighty long. For a temp position, the drive would be a deal breaker for me (and I drive a lot).

You can probably get the info you need about what happens to your benefits if you work part time in the state unemployment site FAQs.
 

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It seems to me as if you're just being used for their convenience. They can't get or wont train anyone else for the role so they think it's easier to fall back on you. The cons heavily outweigh the pro's in this scenario, especially this one:

5) They have already let me go once.
And you can bet your life they'll do it again. If it were me, I'd politely decline. IF you took it, you could be missing out on other work that's closer to home, probably a lot less stressful & possibly better money & other benefits.

Unless you're desperate for the money, forget it. There's too many red flags for my liking. ;)
 

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I'm with Garth. If you can afford to say no, then I'd say no. The chances of being treated any better the second time around are pretty slim; frankly I think it was pretty ballsy of them to call you at all after having shown you the door without any notice.
 

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You have to answer a lot of questions for yourself, like are you interested? Would you consider it as a full time poistion? Half time to start and a miserable commute.

Taking the approach that you are neutral and wont be upset either way, I suggest you decide what you need in salary, and cover your expenses to get there based on half time, but 5 days a week. Compute it to an hourly rate, or weekly salary, whatever you want.

Another approach if you feel they really want you, more than you want them, consider going in as an independent contractor. Hourly rate is a lot higher, I don't know what you actually do. No benefits from the company so you build that value into your asking hourly rate. You get to write off a lot of expenses from your income tax. To give you an expample of what can be received as an independent contractor. Around here a good engineer with 10-15 years experience is probably good for ~$40/hr as a captive employee. As a contractor, the same engineer can get $125--$175/hr or 4 times as much. You can apply that to the salary range you are dealing with.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The more I think about it, the less I want the job.

The drive alone is a royal PITA. Add to that the stress of the job, and it's a double whammy.

I can earn up to the base unemployment amount and only have half my earnings deducted from the unemployment, so it would mean more money during the part-time portion. Once my net reached my unemployment, I'd lose most or all of it, regardless of taxes and the cost of commute, so I'd end up getting the same or less money for way more stress.

Bill and I were just talking about 'what if' they offered me a permanent position, and my heart sinks at the thought. Something is telling me I shouldn't consider it.

I am going to call and tell them "Thanks, but no thanks."
 

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I'd tell them I would do it if I could work from home 3 days a week. It sounds like a lot of the job could be done out of the office yes?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'd tell them I would do it if I could work from home 3 days a week. It sounds like a lot of the job could be done out of the office yes?
Actually, no, it all has to be done in the office as there are questions you have to ask the project manager and all those who worked on the site, data that have to be verified and re-checked. :( Then, it has to be reviewed by another project manager for any technical errors I may have missed. If I could do it from home, I'd jump at the chance!
 

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Jackie, the drive alone would have me turning them down immediately. Maybe if they were a good company to work for, but it sounds like they treat their employees like crap. I say 'nay'.
 

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That's tough Jackie. I know how hard it would be to turn down any job right now (since I'm newly unemployed as well!), but it sounds like it would definitely not be worth the stress of the commute and the demands of the position.
 

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If I were you, I would talk to them before saying no. You are in a position to negotiate; they are not. Maybe you can get them to give you flex hours to avoid traffic, higher pay for the increase in gas prices, etc. As a temporary, you have more options than someone trying to keep a permanent job: When they give you awful deadlines, you can say "no way", "not possible". Also, for whatever job you would like in the future, this job would look very nice on a resume instead of an unemployment gap, especially a job from a former employer. Good luck at whatever you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If I were you, I would talk to them before saying no. You are in a position to negotiate; they are not. Maybe you can get them to give you flex hours to avoid traffic, higher pay for the increase in gas prices, etc. As a temporary, you have more options than someone trying to keep a permanent job: When they give you awful deadlines, you can say "no way", "not possible". Also, for whatever job you would like in the future, this job would look very nice on a resume instead of an unemployment gap, especially a job from a former employer. Good luck at whatever you decide.
You present some very good points. However, another things that worries me is that, if I commit to stay with them until Lori returns after maternity leave, then I cannot accept any other job in the interim. What if I miss out on the perfect job for me? :(

I think I will offer to work from home, and maybe only come into the office once or twice a week, on my schedule. That way, they can get someone to cover for Lori when she has the baby but I will still be working on documents. I would also be free to accept a full-time job offer. At least I would be making an effort to help them out. ;)
 

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Talk to then about everything you said below, but on an hourly basis. i.e. the panic last minutes that you mentioned earlier. Hourly basis, and you negotiate a good rate for what you are offering. Make it clear that you will be continuing to look for a permanent position. Its business, its not friendship or family. You find something better, you say goodbye, collect your last check, books are balanced. Unless you are in a really small town, and I don't think there are any really close to Detroit, its business. Don't forget that. Don't take yourself on a trrip where you think you are obligated to them. They let you go because of business. Each paycheck the books are balanced. No one owes anyone anything. Those days when companies were loyal to their loyal staff are gone. Its time for the staff to recognize that and treat the company the same way.

You present some very good points. However, another things that worries me is that, if I commit to stay with them until Lori returns after maternity leave, then I cannot accept any other job in the interim. What if I miss out on the perfect job for me? :(

I think I will offer to work from home, and maybe only come into the office once or twice a week, on my schedule. That way, they can get someone to cover for Lori when she has the baby but I will still be working on documents. I would also be free to accept a full-time job offer. At least I would be making an effort to help them out. ;)
 

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I like the idea of working from home and think you can/should negotiate that point.

As for being employed and having your 'dream job' come along. IF that were to happen (and in this economy, that's a big if), I'd walk.

Yup.

They showed no loyalty/consideration to you. I'd give it back to them in spades, recommendations be damned. I'd march right in w/my two-weeks' notice and let it fly.
 

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Of course you could take another job if the opportunity presents itself while you are working for them. You are not committing to anything permanent and most contracts are on an "at will" basis anyway. Also, as said before, you are in the better negotiating position. If they don't meet terms that you find acceptable, then you can refuse the offer, walk away and you're no worse off than before. If they do, then you've got something interesting, challenging, and gainful to fill your time while you look for something better.

That said, the drive sounds like a nightmare and I understand your hesitation. Good luck whatever you decide!
 
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