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Topher Bear

Life Choice

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I haven't been around the last few weeks, reason being I've been looking for a new job. Trying to find something permanent and secure before the storm really hits!

I have a life choice and I’m really not sure what way to choose. I’d like to share it with you as I’m canvassing opinion from the widest possible audience and hopefully I’ll get some useful comments and considerations that I haven’t thought of myself yet.

Currently I am working at Airbus, whom I’m sure you’ve all heard of, and have been there 5 years, I’ve really enjoyed being part of great planes such as the A380, new queen of the skies. My problem is that I am contracting, and company policy has moved away from the model of hiring lots of contractors to sending the work out to suppliers, as a result there are far fewer contractors and those of us who remain are wary of the tap on the shoulder to tell us our services are no longer required. My managers have tried to make me permanent, but Airbus have a general Recruitment freeze and all positions need to be filled internally. I have recently been moved to a new group to be a bit more protected and have been assured by my manager that my contract will be renewed for next year (contracts run from Jan to Dec) and that there may be some opportunities opening up next year for permanent positions. However I am still a little uncertain of my position as the situation here at Airbus is always fluid. The work that I do, modelling and simulation, is being sent to India, though the management in our department have been taking steps to try and protect it and keep it in the UK. Life here at Airbus is pretty relaxed, they have a 35 hour working week (including flexi-time) with Friday afternoon off, work is not too strenuous and it seems once your permanent as an engineer you’ve got pretty much a job for life no matter how rubbish you are!

As a result of the situation I have been looking around for new work. I have had two interviews so far and one more to come in a couple of days after a successful telephone interview. One has resulted in a job offer. Now this job is for a company which is part of a Formula One team, something of a child-hood dream of mine. However it is a small start up, developing green energy storage system (if anyone knows F1 you’ll have heard of KERS), therefore could have a bright future. It is currently small with only a dozen staff and no manufacturing base and, as yet, no signed up customers, though is very close to one with a race car manufacturer and currently working very closely with a prestige road car manufacturer, they have interest from other sectors too. They have a 40 hour working week with it no overtime pay, but yet very likely some evenings/late nights and weekends. It is an hour’s drive away from my home (compared to the half hour Commute I currently have) and is a 6pm finish, with no real flexi-system. If I were to take this job, not only will it be pushing my technical ability more than here at Airbus, it will be many hours and I will lose the time I have in the evenings with my children. In fact overall I will lose a lot of my free time. The money should be good though and probably as much as I am getting as a contractor, but with a few extra perm perks (no race tickets though!). I did get on really well with my interviewers and we were talking for 2 and a half hours.

I don’t think my wife is too keen for me to take it due to the loss of my time with the family, but would like to have the security of a permananent job and pension etc.. There is a risk in that the business may not get off the ground, but it could do extremely well and they hope to expand up to 50 staff in 3 years, that would put me in a great position and great reward later on. If we were to move closer however, our daughter will have to change schools again! Our son has not yet started, and the houses are a LOT more expensive in the area.

Should I take the new job and risk that it will work out well, or should I take the risk that Airbus will come up trumps after all as the work-life balance is great?

Any thoughts any of you may have would be greatly appreciated!

Many Thanks

Topher Bear

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It always amazes me how people make choices about their jobs. They are concerned about job security, and yet I have never encountered a job applicant at any level who has looked at published accounts, or asked probing questions about security of funding, or company strategies. In large companies, this can be more obscure and difficult to get to, but by far the majority of us work in smaller organisations. This is the bit that matters, not so much whether you are a permanent employee or not.

In short, if you haven't already covered this, I would get financial information about any company you are going to work for and understand it in terms of the risks it is taking, and the security of its funding.

Your choices look exciting, by the way. What sort of modelling and simulation are you doing?

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Guest KingCharles1st

Interesting!

I am in a similar situation, currently contracting to a very highly regarded Automotive development company, and have taken to living away from home four nights a week. Although i am divorced, I used to do the Lions share of childcare (worked from home and was married to a career woman) and taking this job was extremely hard for me. However, I recently survived a round of 100 job cuts, which left me in a bit of a "situation" with the permies as you can imagine..

Now this company seems far more interested in keeping key contractors over the permies, and in actually fact is already starting to bring ex permies onto site as contractors after little more than a month.(although not on particularly favorable rates.)

Currently, I find little to indicate a bright rosy future about the company, as they do not seem to be getting the high class contracts they have been used to, and in many ways this place (apart from it's glass windowed brains centre) reminds me very much of British manufacturing in the late 70's and early 80's trying to hold on to past glories and failing all the while their head being held high.

Now, this company has strong business links with a huge production car project that has spawned from an F1 team, and already there is starting up a cross seeding of personnel- and I have been asked if I would like to join a team that works in Spain..

So what I am saying is that I understand your position entirely. Now there was a lot of talks of the redundancies for months- and if you hear thee phrase "90 day consultation" believe me it will be happening. There are quite a lot of green energy projects on the go at the moment- and I would make absolutely sure that any you consider working for are properly funded, and preferably by some sort of Government backed body. I think there are going to be big winners and big losers in Green Energy over the next few years- in part becasue one has to look at what these companies are actually trying to achieve, and more importantly, trying to sell to... Remember the Sinclair C-5

I have to say it's a difficult choice- a 6pm finish does seem a little unreasonable- could you not ask them if you could start earlier or something- are you both busy people in your household- do you both work- etc?

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Thanks.

I have thought about the security of the new company and know it is a risk. Trouble is I don't know how much of a risk.

I was told that funding has come from the f1 team, a team with a great heritage been around decades, although struggling in recent years. Some of their customers has been doing some r&d in this area using government grants. The turnover is 2 mill.

I'm doing control systems modelling mostly but this would lead to more physical modelling as well.

I'm the only wage earner in our household, though mrs tb has stepped in in the past to get a job when I lost mine. She is very capable and could even bring useful bid tendering skills to the new company!

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I would go for the permie role based on the above.

The money is equivalent, the role floats your boat and achieves a life goal, and it's permanent!

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Thanks.

I have thought about the security of the new company and know it is a risk. Trouble is I don't know how much of a risk.

I was told that funding has come from the f1 team, a team with a great heritage been around decades, although struggling in recent years. Some of their customers has been doing some r&d in this area using government grants. The turnover is 2 mill.

I'm doing control systems modelling mostly but this would lead to more physical modelling as well.

I'm the only wage earner in our household, though mrs tb has stepped in in the past to get a job when I lost mine. She is very capable and could even bring useful bid tendering skills to the new company!

How much does it improve your CV? This should be in your examination of the risk.

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That really is a tough one! Must say 6pm finish is about standard in most electronics companies where I work (and unpaid overtime) - your 5:30 finish + Friday half-day sounds amazing... but working for F1 sounds very cool.

Not quite the same, but a while back I had to decide whether or not to keep doing a PhD with a company that was driving me up the wall, or quit and go for another company. This was at the height of the time when private sector job losses were rife. In the end I chose to quit the PhD and go for the new job - in the end it wasn't about job security or anything like that - it was about quality of life and de-stressing!! Electronics is very uncertain - lots more Indians and Chinese do it now which is a worry.......... I got offered a job as an electrical controls engineer at Rolls Royce after graduation, in Derby. Sometimes I wonder whether I should have taken that - probably would have been more money and definitely a job for life (can't say that much these days) - guess I just didn't want to move away from home, if I'm being honest!

I'd say weigh up the options - write down the pros and cons of each, then listen to your heart (as cheesy as that sounds). Only you can make the decision - I did the same thing (get a wide range of views) when considering quitting my PhD, which was a really difficult decision (I'm way better off now - it WAS the right decision for me).

Cheers!

(I see a trend here in IT and now engineering being shipped offshore - just what jobs will we all be doing in the future? Retail?)

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How old are you? So you've done the kids and house thing and now you're looking to progress your career, is this right?

I had my uncle come and visit us over the weekend. He as a very high profile job and was constantly on his Blackberry. He told me as much as he wished he had a work life balance he couldn't spend as much quality time with his family as he liked, due to the demands of the job.

I would go for job security and general happiness over pushing my career and earning a few more wedge. I am in the position at the moment of potentially moving company, but the commute put me off. I'm not going to spend twice as long in the car (at least) than I am now. I don't want to get home late and not have quality time with my partner. I want job security, which I have in these volatile times. The 8k wage rise + benefits and company car won't make up for the loss of time and the added stress and workload.

I'm a girl though, and I know that when it comes to starting a family and having that flexibility I should stay put where I am, because me and my partner want kids. I've worked with my company for 6 years now. It's a solid bet.

Your wife's opinion matters greatly, and if she doesn't want you to do it so that you have more time with the family, then I think that's more valid than anything else.

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1. There is no such thing as job security - when a company wants to get rid of you they get rid of you. People who are loyal to big corporates are idiots IMPO. I was such an idiot once.

Being a permie for a corporate is nuts. You are much better off being a contractor and, failing that, a permie in a public sector organisation. At least the public sector workers of many years get sizeable pay-offs.

2. The extra half hour commute and extra 5 hours will hit you hard. What if their culture is one of expecting an extra hour 'free' per day from you so suddenly you are being paid for 40 and doing 45?

I got very ill from over-working and commuting. Admittedly, I had several other stresses going on in my life but the work was a killer. Bear that in mind - choose quality of life every time IMPO.

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I would go for job security and general happiness over pushing my career and earning a few more wedge. I am in the position at the moment of potentially moving company, but the commute put me off. I'm not going to spend twice as long in the car (at least) than I am now. I don't want to get home late and not have quality time with my partner. I want job security, which I have in these volatile times. The 8k wage rise + benefits and company car won't make up for the loss of time and the added stress and workload.

+1. I used to think I wanted massive responsibility in exchange for more money... but I'd seriously have to think about it now, look at the tradeoffs etc. I'm hopefully going to be teaching guitar part-time, and I think current job + guitar teaching would be the same sort of money without all the stress! Quality of life for sure.

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1. There is no such thing as job security - when a company wants to get rid of you they get rid of you. People who are loyal to big corporates are idiots IMPO. I was such an idiot once.

Being a permie for a corporate is nuts. You are much better off being a contractor and, failing that, a permie in a public sector organisation. At least the public sector workers of many years get sizeable pay-offs.

2. The extra half hour commute and extra 5 hours will hit you hard. What if their culture is one of expecting an extra hour 'free' per day from you so suddenly you are being paid for 40 and doing 45?

I got very ill from over-working and commuting. Admittedly, I had several other stresses going on in my life but the work was a killer. Bear that in mind - choose quality of life every time IMPO.

+1 !!!! A bit depressing in that I'm a permie for private......... don't fancy the public sector but their pay-offs are much better. Grr.

Culture of extra-hour working - I used to do that to the extreme. But now it's just the odd 15mins here and there. I'm off before everybody else - hope they don't think I'm a slacker....... but then surely it's wrong to work extra for no more pay (though a salary means you have to work any amount of hours to get the job done, no? I think my contract may say that - bugger. Will have to check lol)

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Get rid off the bird and the kid then do whatever one excites you more. Then again that is probably not something you are likely to do. :)

So just write down the pros and cons of each job and make a decision. You have a choice of 2 jobs that you are actually interested in.

Probably one out of 50 people in this country fall into this category. If that. You are doing well. Nice one. Don't fret about it. Enjoy it.

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Over what period of time have you secured these interviews?

If we're talking a short period of time then I think you should stay and re-assess next Jan if things don't go to plan.

Possibly get some irons in the fire in December, just in case.

Your current job sounds like a dream. Why throw it away due to fear of the unknown? If your skills are as saught after as they sound then you should have no problem.

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Wow, this has created a torrent of replies! Thanks all.

As for pros and cons, i've tried that and they came out pretty even, but with large unknowns. Which is why i'm having difficulty. My heart tells me to do it, but it also tells me I don't wanna work the hours!

Masked Tulip: you seem to be at odds with yourself! Suggesting I should ditch the corporate but also should be wary of hours being more than 40. Actually I agree, which is why I don't think asking to shift my day an hour earlier would work, I might just end up doing more!

Speak&Spell: I am mid to late thirties, and I haven't done the house thing yet, which is why I am on hpc! As for my wifes opinion I thought she didn't want me to take it, but this weekend she tells me she does as she wants the money in and the pension etc.

Guitarman: actually its a 4 pm finish for me at the mo, but a 7:30 start.

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Thanks.

I have thought about the security of the new company and know it is a risk. Trouble is I don't know how much of a risk.

I was told that funding has come from the f1 team, a team with a great heritage been around decades, although struggling in recent years. Some of their customers has been doing some r&d in this area using government grants. The turnover is 2 mill.

I'm doing control systems modelling mostly but this would lead to more physical modelling as well.

I'm the only wage earner in our household, though mrs tb has stepped in in the past to get a job when I lost mine. She is very capable and could even bring useful bid tendering skills to the new company!

Sounds like Williams to me.

When recoverable energy systems were allowed, they invested heavily and created a spin off to do this with a flywheel and not batteries. Heard the system was really good and they may/will be selling this technology elsewhere, outside of F1.

These recoverable energy systems have a great future.

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Masked Tulip: you seem to be at odds with yourself! Suggesting I should ditch the corporate but also should be wary of hours being more than 40. Actually I agree, which is why I don't think asking to shift my day an hour earlier would work, I might just end up doing more!

No, that is just your impression. :P

I think you have to try and put yourself in a position within a corporate where you work the hours you wish at a time you wish. If you are permie this will not happen but if you are a contractor or a 'consultant' you will be surprised how you can do this... until all the permies become jealous.

This is why white van men have more freedoms than many white collar types.

Working in the corporate world today is about reinventing yourself constantly. If firms wish to outsource hands-on technical work to India then it is pointless trying to compete. But reinventing yourself and positioning yourself within Airbus as the boy who has the knowledge who can manage that relationship, manage the hand-over and then the ongoing relationship may bring you many more years of work at Airbus. OK, it will mean trips to India but that would be no hardship surely.

This is perhaps your only chance at existence - maybe this is what you need to think about?

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Guest X-QUORK

To the OP...how much of your decision will be based on personal vanity and how much on objective reasoning?

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To the OP...how much of your decision will be based on personal vanity and how much on objective reasoning?

My decisions are usually the former backed up by the latter :)

This system is unlikely to see am f1 car, but does provide a 160 bhp boost in a porsche. So wouldn't be basing family future on bernie.

Tmt. Permies at airbus get to choose their own hours too, it really is cushy! I know what you say about reinventing myself, many are already having too. I'm not sure how much I want to, but going to india is a problem, I can't take the heat and I don't like hot spicey food. :)

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Tmt. Permies at airbus get to choose their own hours too, it really is cushy! I know what you say about reinventing myself, many are already having too. I'm not sure how much I want to, but going to india is a problem, I can't take the heat and I don't like hot spicey food. :)

Sounds as if you need to put some effort in keeping your contract/job there then. Wine and dine your bosses and the powers to be there, let them have weekend access to your wife or yourself. Give them a comfy chair and a receipe for lemon ice cream.

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Dude, stay at Airbus until you're pushed

You may well get offered a cushy permie role, and it's worth sticking around to see if you will

I'm in a well paid job at an aviation manufacturing company with an assured future that has Friday afternoons off, you'll need a ******* JCB to get me out of here :)

Especially in this employment climate

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Wow, this has created a torrent of replies! Thanks all.

As for pros and cons, i've tried that and they came out pretty even, but with large unknowns. Which is why i'm having difficulty. My heart tells me to do it, but it also tells me I don't wanna work the hours!

Masked Tulip: you seem to be at odds with yourself! Suggesting I should ditch the corporate but also should be wary of hours being more than 40. Actually I agree, which is why I don't think asking to shift my day an hour earlier would work, I might just end up doing more!

Speak&Spell: I am mid to late thirties, and I haven't done the house thing yet, which is why I am on hpc! As for my wifes opinion I thought she didn't want me to take it, but this weekend she tells me she does as she wants the money in and the pension etc.

Guitarman: actually its a 4 pm finish for me at the mo, but a 7:30 start.

My uncle I spoke about in my original post to you hires a lot of people. In the corporate world he frankly told me that mid 40's onwards is a hard time to move company and to move up the ladder, if you only have a career with one or two companies behind you. Pushing yourself in your 30's is the right time in my opinion and if you want more on your CV then maybe take the chance now.

Also remember the grass isn't always greener.

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I haven't been around the last few weeks, reason being I've been looking for a new job. Trying to find something permanent and secure before the storm really hits!

I have a life choice and I'm really not sure what way to choose. I'd like to share it with you as I'm canvassing opinion from the widest possible audience and hopefully I'll get some useful comments and considerations that I haven't thought of myself yet.

Currently I am working at Airbus, whom I'm sure you've all heard of, and have been there 5 years, I've really enjoyed being part of great planes such as the A380, new queen of the skies. My problem is that I am contracting, and company policy has moved away from the model of hiring lots of contractors to sending the work out to suppliers, as a result there are far fewer contractors and those of us who remain are wary of the tap on the shoulder to tell us our services are no longer required. My managers have tried to make me permanent, but Airbus have a general Recruitment freeze and all positions need to be filled internally. I have recently been moved to a new group to be a bit more protected and have been assured by my manager that my contract will be renewed for next year (contracts run from Jan to Dec) and that there may be some opportunities opening up next year for permanent positions. However I am still a little uncertain of my position as the situation here at Airbus is always fluid. The work that I do, modelling and simulation, is being sent to India, though the management in our department have been taking steps to try and protect it and keep it in the UK. Life here at Airbus is pretty relaxed, they have a 35 hour working week (including flexi-time) with Friday afternoon off, work is not too strenuous and it seems once your permanent as an engineer you've got pretty much a job for life no matter how rubbish you are!

As a result of the situation I have been looking around for new work. I have had two interviews so far and one more to come in a couple of days after a successful telephone interview. One has resulted in a job offer. Now this job is for a company which is part of a Formula One team, something of a child-hood dream of mine. However it is a small start up, developing green energy storage system (if anyone knows F1 you'll have heard of KERS), therefore could have a bright future. It is currently small with only a dozen staff and no manufacturing base and, as yet, no signed up customers, though is very close to one with a race car manufacturer and currently working very closely with a prestige road car manufacturer, they have interest from other sectors too. They have a 40 hour working week with it no overtime pay, but yet very likely some evenings/late nights and weekends. It is an hour's drive away from my home (compared to the half hour Commute I currently have) and is a 6pm finish, with no real flexi-system. If I were to take this job, not only will it be pushing my technical ability more than here at Airbus, it will be many hours and I will lose the time I have in the evenings with my children. In fact overall I will lose a lot of my free time. The money should be good though and probably as much as I am getting as a contractor, but with a few extra perm perks (no race tickets though!). I did get on really well with my interviewers and we were talking for 2 and a half hours.

I don't think my wife is too keen for me to take it due to the loss of my time with the family, but would like to have the security of a permananent job and pension etc.. There is a risk in that the business may not get off the ground, but it could do extremely well and they hope to expand up to 50 staff in 3 years, that would put me in a great position and great reward later on. If we were to move closer however, our daughter will have to change schools again! Our son has not yet started, and the houses are a LOT more expensive in the area.

Should I take the new job and risk that it will work out well, or should I take the risk that Airbus will come up trumps after all as the work-life balance is great?

Any thoughts any of you may have would be greatly appreciated!

Many Thanks

Topher Bear

F1 team will work you to the bone, but it will be fun. Explain to wife about extra secuity, a good job especially in this climate is ALOT is better than none at all. Houses might be more expensive but if you look around you might find something you like within range...

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Dude, stay at Airbus until you're pushed

You may well get offered a cushy permie role, and it's worth sticking around to see if you will

I'm in a well paid job at an aviation manufacturing company with an assured future that has Friday afternoons off, you'll need a ******* JCB to get me out of here :)

Especially in this employment climate

Yep +1

This is what I'd do!

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  • 145 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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