Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Contract and a Leave of Absence

Some interesting opportunities have opened up, and I want to document some of the choices I've made and why.  In another fit of "Maybe I'll just apply for some OTHER crazy job!" I put my hat in the ring for a position as a developmental editor with a curriculum development company in Seattle. Remember, I wrote a ridiculous letter and put in for a position that a hundred people had already applied for?  Well, I got a call back the next day (Ha!).

The call was from the director who confessed that he was too swamped to hire a developmental editor because they were behind on writing.  It's a growing company with some very interesting projects, and the just need some extra hands right now.  Would I be willing to take on a writing contract?

My feeling on writing contracts is that they are a good way to make money, but not really a career. When you work off-site, you don't hear about things like new openings, or extra work or other things that would make it easier to advance your position.  They are a growing company, but will I get a chance to grow with them?  And frankly, I find working off-site boring.  I miss having awesome coworkers.  That being said, I've also come to realize that contract work is what is developing my CV these days, and frankly I do like the work.  And the money.

So I agreed to take on a 5 week writing contract.  But it sounds like a 40 hour/week position.  (Oh, and I'll be paid hourly, unlike my work with Words and Numbers where I bill per task).  I consider contract work one of 3 jobs I juggle currently, and so I knew I'd need to push back on the other two.  I notified my internship I was going to be away, and that I am planning to send them a status update this week.  The scary conversation was to tell the bank I was going to need some time.  I'm just a teller, so I didn't figure they would be interested in making concessions for me- but for a 5 week contract, it seems stupid to walk away from a steady pay-check. 

I thought a lot about how to have this conversation- I knew I needed to ask for something, so I tried to ask in a way that made them feel like they were generous to offer (not that they OWED me this- Here's to negotiation training!).  And I also tried to be really clear about what was already decided, and what wasn't.  I have accepted a contract.  It is a great opportunity for me.  It will take up all my time.  I don't want to leave you guys in the lurch, and I am not sure how to do that best.  To his credit, my manager was very excited for me, and was able to give me everything I need to make this work.  I'll be at the bank for 2 more weeks, and then I am going on a leave of absence.  In August, I'll get back in touch and get my old position back.  I may be at a different branch when I come back, but I shouldn't have to reapply for my job.  I'm glad that I asked for that, because it makes taking this contract much less intimidating- as I said, it's a contract, not a career. 

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