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Job Advice please
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  (#1)
i eat mop who?
 
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Job Advice please - July 15, 2008, 12:07 AM

This is sort of long, thanks in advance if you read it through to the end and offer viable advice...perhaps if it's good advice I will award those of you with a slurpee of your choosing at next weeks twt or the spot. With that amazing prize in mind...continue!

Okay so I graduated this past december and have been trying to find a job since. I just landed a job offer at a web marketing company and I have until friday to respond. My issue is I am going in to speak with a team at Booz and I feel very confident about that opportunity. It's my second time going in to meet this team, the first time i met them they were moving forward with an offer but in the process of creating the offer their contracts got rearranged and had to drop my offer. Now they have new contracts and need to staff people and called me back up to come in again. <---this probably won't be until thursday and then won't hear back from them until monday. My other issue is I feel fairly confident that I will be getting an offer from the government, but this isn't a big issue since it wont' be for an entire year from the date i receive my conditional offer until I can start on that job. So I can work for a year in the mean time and when the time comes and i get the green light for the gov I can make a decision then. Now both the booz job and the gov job pay significantly more and offer very attractive benefits. The web marketing company is young (2001) and full of people no older than 34 and it has an office with a very, what I call, google-esque atmosphere complete with an open spaced modern looking office, actual putting green in the break room, nintendo wii, ping pong table, and the current office-wide moustace growing competition. Also it's a tshirt/shorts/sandals dress code. The benefits are standard but not spectacular. No tuition reimbursement or any of that kind of aid for seeking out an MBA (they said not yet atleast).

I guess what I want to know from all of you seasoned professionals out there (and anyone with advice really) is;

1) what should I do so that I can see what all my options could be without missing out on the only official offer i've gotten so far this week which has a friday deadline!

2) Is it okay to ask for an extention on that acceptance deadline so that I have time to hear from Booz and Gov? How do I go about doing that?

3) Is it okay to call my guy at Booz and say I have other offers coming in, can we expedite this and have me come in today or tomorrow morning? How do I go about doing that? do i say "hey i'm coming to the end of my interviewing and have offers on the table, can we speed this up?"

4) With the job market as tight as it is, is it risky to ask for more money from the web marketing company? never negotiated before (first real job) don't know the ettiquet

5) I dont' know anything about typical salary levels for web marketing type work, any ideas?

6) Oh yeah my deadline to accept this first off is this friday but my first day of work won't be until the 28th. Is it okay if I accept the offer and sign the papers and then if booz comes through can I just say "you know that offer i said I would accept? I was just kidding"?

Again if you made it to this point I really appreciate it...i thought it was stressful not being able to land a job anywhere and now that I actually have possible options it's a whole other kind of stress. Also I'm serious about that slurpee.

Last edited by vaboy; July 15, 2008 at 12:18 AM..
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  (#2)
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July 15, 2008, 12:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaboy
This is sort of long, thanks in advance if you read it through to the end and offer viable advice...perhaps if it's good advice I will award those of you with a slurpee of your choosing at next weeks twt or the spot. With that amazing prize in mind...continue!

Okay so I graduated this past december and have been trying to find a job since. I just landed a job offer at a web marketing company and I have until friday to respond. My issue is I am going in to speak with a team at Booz and I feel very confident about that opportunity. It's my second time going in to meet this team, the first time i met them they were moving forward with an offer but in the process of creating the offer their contracts got rearranged and had to drop my offer. Now they have new contracts and need to staff people and called me back up to come in again. <---this probably won't be until thursday and then won't hear back from them until monday. My other issue is I feel fairly confident that I will be getting an offer from the government, but this isn't a big issue since it wont' be for an entire year from the date i receive my conditional offer until I can start on that job. So I can work for a year in the mean time and when the time comes and i get the green light for the gov I can make a decision then. Now both the booz job and the gov job pay significantly more and offer very attractive benefits. The web marketing company is young (2001) and full of people no older than 34 and it has an office with a very, what I call, google-esque atmosphere complete with an open spaced modern looking office, actual putting green in the break room, nintendo wii, ping pong table, and the current office-wide moustace growing competition. Also it's a tshirt/shorts/sandals dress code. The benefits are standard but not spectacular. No tuition reimbursement or any of that kind of aid for seeking out an MBA (they said not yet atleast).

I guess what I want to know from all of you seasoned professionals out there (and anyone with advice really) is;

1) what should I do so that I can see what all my options could be without missing out on the only official offer i've gotten so far this week which has a friday deadline!

2) Is it okay to ask for an extention on that acceptance deadline so that I have time to hear from Booz and Gov? How do I go about doing that?

3) Is it okay to call my guy at Booz and say I have other offers coming in, can we expedite this and have me come in today or tomorrow morning? How do I go about doing that? do i say "hey i'm coming to the end of my interviewing and have offers on the table, can we speed this up?"

4) With the job market as tight as it is, is it risky to ask for more money from the web marketing company? never negotiated before (first real job) don't know the ettiquet

5) I dont' know anything about typical salary levels for web marketing type work, any ideas?

6) Oh yeah my deadline to accept this first off is this friday but my first day of work won't be until the 28th. Is it okay if I accept the offer and sign the papers and then if booz comes through can I just say "you know that offer i said I would accept? I was just kidding"?

Again if you made it to this point I really appreciate it...i thought it was stressful not being able to land a job anywhere and now that I actually have possible options it's a whole other kind of stress. Also I'm serious about that slurpee.

Here is my $.02.. Never never say you have another offer to consider... It's basically a form of blackmail and it makes you a corporate whore in their eyes - as they will think you are jacking them for more $$ or want to wait and see who has the best offer.... If cutbacks occurr - you had better be seriously hot shit or you will the first to go..

There is nothing wrong with asking for a few extra days to consider a new job.. However, use the "it's a big decision, and I would like a few extra days just to make sure it's the right one". It's basically saying the same thing, but at no point did you mention $$ so it's perceived differently and doesn't set off the same warning bells...

Also, if you sign paperwork of any kind - be aware of what your are signing ... You can be held to whatever you sign... I would not sign anything and say "so sorry, too bad, so sad" .. I believe there are some serious ramifications to signing gov't paperwork and having them do a security clearance and then you don't take the job.. They might be able to give you the bill for the clearance which can run into a few thousand bucks...

To be honest, I would go with the web place that has been upfront ... Booz may have wanted to make you an offer - but it got pulled once, it could get pulled again.. Also, to me that means they aren't on as stable grounds as you may think...


-Jason
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  (#3)
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July 15, 2008, 06:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by hondahawkrider
Here is my $.02.. Never never say you have another offer to consider... It's basically a form of blackmail and it makes you a corporate whore in their eyes - as they will think you are jacking them for more $$ or want to wait and see who has the best offer.... If cutbacks occurr - you had better be seriously hot shit or you will the first to go..

There is nothing wrong with asking for a few extra days to consider a new job.. However, use the "it's a big decision, and I would like a few extra days just to make sure it's the right one". It's basically saying the same thing, but at no point did you mention $$ so it's perceived differently and doesn't set off the same warning bells...
+1

Also, and i know its hard to not think about nowadays, but do your best to not base your judgement solely on salary. For instance say you were offered the same amount from each company, and the benefits, while not equal were fairly similar. Which job would you pick then? A fun and energetic work environment can't be bought, and I think you should really think about which job you could see yourself being happiest in. Might also want to consider your commute as well. If one job wont really require you to sit in traffic, you'll probably be a happier person...and without even knowing it!

No one snags their dream job the first time around. You will most likely be leaving the company (whichever you choose) eventually. If you take the web job and end up hating it, so what, you've now learned what suits your needs best...plus you've got that govt job waiting in the wings.

Good luck man.




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July 15, 2008, 06:45 AM

Well, I worked for Booz for 5 years and let me tell you that it's a great company. Main reason for leaving is, they can't compete with smaller companies in the government arena, as far as money goes.

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with telling your Booz guy that you have to make decisions on other offers, if you actually have them. He is your recruiter and you need to keep him in the loop. He will either tell you to accept the other offer, because he doesn't know when his contract will come through, or tell you to hold off. If they like you, they WILL bring you on and have you charge to company overhead... charged that way for 5 months waiting on my contract to come through.

Once you are in the company, if a contract falls through, they won't fire you. That's just not the way they do business... they will have you work on proposals or do some marketing, to charge the time off, until they can find another contract for you.

The largest problem you are facing, whether you know it or not, is your lack of security clearance. I assume you have none. There are not many government contracts out there that are "uncleared". That might be the hold up with Booz. You need to focus on someone that will sponsor your clearance and that's the ticket in this area. I did hear that initial clearances are taking 3 years to complete at the moment... can't confirm that.

P.S. They (Government) will never send you a bill for your clearance... the company sponsors that. The only thing you will ever sign are non-disclosure statements. Those are serious, but they only hold you accountable for your actions, i.e. being charged for a crime for spying, etc... But you can't hold a government job or contract to the government without signing one, period.
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Triple Secks
 
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July 15, 2008, 06:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaoTzu
I did hear that initial clearances are taking 3 years to complete at the moment... can't confirm that.
.
Dont think that's the case. Unless something has changed dramatically very recently. I've seen/heard of a clearance take as long as 2 years to come in, but those are rare cases. A year or so ago(years are starting to blend together), they put a freeze (or something akin to a freeze) on clearances - which really slowed up the process.

Pretty sure people w/no flags are getting interims within 2-5 months, generally.


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July 15, 2008, 07:03 AM

So.. Degree check.

Need clearance from LM, BAE, Booz, SAIC... or other large govt contracting company... Smaller ones cant/wont do sponsorships typically.

Gain 3+ years experience preferably in command line *nix or COTS integration.

Then whore yourself to smaller companies on monster for 100k+

Keep your nose clean also so that you can pass required polys if you move to the TS/SCI level.

Enjoy!
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Addicted to Cajen food...
 
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July 15, 2008, 07:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrasive
Dont think that's the case. Unless something has changed dramatically very recently. I've seen/heard of a clearance take as long as 2 years to come in, but those are rare cases. A year or so ago(years are starting to blend together), they put a freeze (or something akin to a freeze) on clearances - which really slowed up the process.

Pretty sure people w/no flags are getting interims within 2-5 months, generally.
Yea, that's what I was thinking of.. the freeze. I didn't know if they were working faster now. I am going through my periodic now and it is moving pretty quickly.
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July 15, 2008, 07:58 AM

I just graduated and started working in march so I know the pains of the interview process. I was in a similar situation where I had an offer on the table, interviews, and a clearance related job that I couldn't work at until i got cleared.

I would go ahead and ask for the extension FOR SURE. The worst they can say is "No." And I agree that you should tell the Booz recruiter about your other offer. I think it will increase your stock more than make you look like a prick. You'll also have a salary base bargaining chip in case Booz tries to low ball you...and since it doesn't sound like you're in engineering, they probably will.

As to working and then quitting. It's not morally right, but it happens. Just make sure you don't sign anything that says you can't work for a direct competitor for a certain amount of time after quitting.

The smaller company may be more fun and that is a MAJOR factor. I hate being bored at work....it sucks. But if Booz gets you a clearance you can jump ship after a year and make some BIG bucks somewhere else. Keep your networks open with the other companies no matter what you choose though.


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July 15, 2008, 08:05 AM

Another thing to consider... if you go for the job requiring a clearance, you will have restrictions on your travels. Now, if you don't travel much, that won't really be an issue. But if you like going outside the borders of the US and you have a TS/SCI+Lifestyle Poly, you can't leave the country... not even to Canada... without informing someone and getting the travels authorized.

At least any paranoia you have about being watched will be true... because you will be.

But around here, having that TS can often be the difference between being employed and not being employed.


"They who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- B. Franklin

Every politician should serve two terms... one in office followed immediately by an equal or longer-length one in jail... except in New Jersey where jail time is a pre-requisite to holding office.

Donkeys and Elephants belong in a zoo, not Congress.

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Addicted to Cajen food...
 
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July 15, 2008, 08:07 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Piper
Another thing to consider... if you go for the job requiring a clearance, you will have restrictions on your travels. Now, if you don't travel much, that won't really be an issue. But if you like going outside the borders of the US and you have a TS/SCI+Lifestyle Poly, you can't leave the country... not even to Canada... without informing someone and getting the travels authorized.

At least any paranoia you have about being watched will be true... because you will be.

But around here, having that TS can often be the difference between being employed and not being employed.
And even then, they could deny your travel depending on the country... but mostly not a big deal, the Bahamas are always nice England is a sure thing... and pretty much anywhere, that a person would want to travel and have a good time.
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July 15, 2008, 08:22 AM

The Booz position would be better for your long-term prospects. It's certainly a position you won't regret later on, in that it looks great on your resume and you'll learn a lot. I'm working for Booz now and my only complaint is that they offered me a salary based upon my previous position, which was NOT consulting.

Feel free to tell the Booz people that you have another offer and could they please speed up the process. If they want you, they'll make it happen. Also, I'd feel comfortable asking the web developers for a little more time to make your decision because you have other people considering you. It doesn't make you look like an a$$, it makes you look valuable. Remember, this is business, it's not personal.

I think the web job might be more fun than the Booz position, but it's up to you how much you're willing to do for your future prospects. I really enjoy consulting, personally, but most web development types enjoy computers more than people.

Ethically I can't condone accepting an offer then turning it down before you've begun work. I can't say I haven't done exactly that, but I can't recommend it or condone it. It's just not fair to the employer.


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July 15, 2008, 08:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaoTzu
And even then, they could deny your travel depending on the country... but mostly not a big deal, the Bahamas are always nice England is a sure thing... and pretty much anywhere, that a person would want to travel and have a good time.
It is true that they want to know about foreign travel and contacts, but its as much for your protection as theirs. I work in a security minded govt organization with these rules and we have people going all over the world on vacation (including Russia, China, and Vietnam) and official travel, and I know of nobody who has been denied travel. Its a very simple advisory process...you let them know in advance, they let you know if there are problems to avoid (like a recent advisory to avoid civilian flights into a specific place due to a specific risk...in that case for govt travel...or a history of specific attempts to recruit Americans by compromising them). The very few places they may deny access to are probably ones you can't or wouldn't want to go as an American anyway...like Cuba, Iran, Syria, a few African countries with bad things going on, etc. That issue should not be a concern in your decision.
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July 15, 2008, 08:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaboy
1) what should I do so that I can see what all my options could be without missing out on the only official offer i've gotten so far this week which has a friday deadline!
You can ask for an extension - but they are going to think a week is more than enough time. It says to an employer "I'm not really eager to work for you". If they have a backup in mind, then they might withdraw their offer... because it really does look like you're holding out for something better. Those sorts of employees are risky, because once you get them trained/productive (costly to the business) and they have some experience - they'll likely shop themselves around in 5 minutes. Turnover is costly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaboy
2) Is it okay to ask for an extention on that acceptance deadline so that I have time to hear from Booz and Gov? How do I go about doing that?
See above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaboy
3) Is it okay to call my guy at Booz and say I have other offers coming in, can we expedite this and have me come in today or tomorrow morning? How do I go about doing that? do i say "hey i'm coming to the end of my interviewing and have offers on the table, can we speed this up?"
You should be very tactful if you ever mention other offers - for the most part, just don't do it... it looks like you're being heavy handed. A lot of this has to do with what sort of report you've established with the guy. By the end of a lot of my interviews I'm able to speak rather plainly about what I need. Other times, the HR rep or manager I'm speaking with isn't very personable and I'm less open.

Did they give you a reason it has to wait till Monday? You could simply call up and ask "would it be possible to meet this week, say, Thursday afternoon, rather than wait till Monday?" You can offer something to justify it if you want, but you really don't have to - just be sure you don't say anything about any other company. They may reply with, "so and so is out of town on vacation" or similar, in which case you're stuck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaboy
4) With the job market as tight as it is, is it risky to ask for more money from the web marketing company? never negotiated before (first real job) don't know the ettiquet
Well, its not risky if you would take the Booz job over it otherwise.

The web marketing company is selling its culture to you as a benefit - and a lot of people like that. You almost certainly won't get a comparable salary from them that you will from Booz. So, if salary is your primary motivator - your decision is made. However, if salary is only a factor for you, then you just need to decide how much more someone would have to pay you to work in a not-so-google environment as opposed to the good one.

It's pretty simple really - "I'm very interested in working with xyz, and love the yadda yadda work environment and culture here, however I'd like to ask if you would be willing to negotiate a little on salary offered." Now, key point here - they have an offer on the table, which, if you interviewed right - they came up with. Its now your turn - you have to give them a number, a counter. "I was hoping for something along the lines of $x." or "If you would be able to raise your offer by $x, I'll accept it today." Often, as long as your not asking for much of a bump - you can squeak out a little bit more this way, but not much. What you're basically doing is saying: can you sweeten the pot a bit to make me feel better about choosing you, because I like your company but not your salary.

Honestly though, I don't see to much negotiation going on with recent college grads. When I landed my first job, they wouldn't negotiate on salary at all (which it turns out, they had a certain amount they could offer - and it was just a matter of finding the best guy who would take it, as opposed to just finding the best guy - get me?). For voo doo corporate HR reasons though, I was able to negotiate relocation assistance - a couple thousand dollars to help me move and give me some up front cash. This kind of stuff didn't fall into the realm of salary and is sometimes still on the table.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaboy
5) I dont' know anything about typical salary levels for web marketing type work, any ideas?
salary.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaboy
6) Oh yeah my deadline to accept this first off is this friday but my first day of work won't be until the 28th. Is it okay if I accept the offer and sign the papers and then if booz comes through can I just say "you know that offer i said I would accept? I was just kidding"?
Sign nothing unless you will work there - period. It's not as much about choosing the highest salary as it is about finding something that you'll be happy with and offers the most opportunities. Small companies typically give you an opportunity to do more than just your job - you can be a little more diverse, maybe grow into something else. Large companies tend to develop specific experts, you know your job inside and out, but little else. I'm no expert, but I've done both - and the small company was the better on the job learning environment IMO... which is what I wanted. I switched to a large company later.


"No race has ever been won in the first corner, but plenty have been lost there."

Last edited by DvlsAdvc8; July 15, 2008 at 08:56 AM..
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  (#14)
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July 15, 2008, 09:00 AM

I think i read an article somewhere that said on average americans change jobs like every 3-4 years. I'll say in my career field (engineering), its more lucrative getting salary bumps at a new company then it is to sit and collect yearly rasies.

in terms of telling the other employer to cool their jets as you wait on more offers, do it. I've had companies get back to me after a week of waiting and say they want an answer in 2 days. I simply tell them that if it took a week to decide to hire me then they can wait a week while i decide. Using the I have other offers to consider is just common sense business. Some companies will even rebound with "yeh thats fine, we have a few more interviews to do" just so you don't think you have all the cards. Thing is when an offer is made to you, you have control and it's your life. I've shifted firms twice in my 5 1/2 year short career, both times i used multiple firm offers to get what i ultimately want in terms of overall benefits, salary and enjoyment. I will do the same thing in another year or two to get myself another generous bump in pay. To say that its bad to bring other offers to the table is ridiculous to me, at least in my field. Our business is based on offers and competition, for a company to be turned off by the fact that you are competitive about your life has me scratching my head. My recent move to va and to the company i work for now had the same back and forth offer and counter offer with me bringing in another offer I recieved as a barganing chip. The firm wanted me bad and I liked the prospects of being lead design on a major gov't project, but the salary did not meet the position in my opinion based off the offer for a more low key tech position so i brought it into negotiations and they realized i wasnt stupid and i knew what i was worth.

Last edited by LVegaJr; July 15, 2008 at 09:08 AM..
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  (#15)
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July 15, 2008, 09:38 AM

Booz can be a good place to work... But it's still a body shop.. If they were to hire you - they would NOT fire you if the contract ends... At least not right away, they would attempt to place you somewhere else - otherwise they wouldn't keep good people as many folks want stability.. The problem if you get onto a contract that is ending - is that you are a unknown. When a contract ends and people (esp mgmt) is placed elsewhere they will start cherry picking the good people to come to other contracts, so if you are an unknown there is a chance you could get left behind, and while you might not get fired - your next job - either by location or duties - might not be optimal..

I actually left a company I was with for a long time in IT to go to a similar type company - ie large gov't contractor. However, I already have the degree, certifications out the wazoo, and over a decade of experience (I rock) so I wasn't worried - I wanted the gov't experience and a way to get a clearance.

For someone with experience - you can be more frank with the recruiter as you are already a proven entity -etc. I am not trying to be mean - but being green outta college and looking for your 1st big career opportunity, is going to be a bit limited as there is always a steady supply of college graduates looking for work... If you don't do it right, they can easily move on to the next one...

That said - I am not saying that Booz isn't a good place.. It is from those I know who work there... However, I would find out what kind of limitations they have on promotions and raises... Where I work - there is a limit in terms of % of raises that people can get annually and for promotions (max of 5% per year for a raise, and max of 7% for grade promotions)... Those aren't bad raises in today's market, but being at the start of your career it's an easy way to take advantage of you in the long run... Also find out what kind of work you will be doing.. My g/f's friend is a manager there - she says they get new grads, give em decent $$ - dress em up pretty - and send them thru the paces of learning HOW Booz works, before letting them do hands on work.

In my previous job - after my 1st year - I was getting double digit % raises for the 4-5 years... This was because I worked my ass off - and I kept educating myself and taking on new roles and challenges. Had I gone to a big body shop at the outset - I am sure I would have excelled - but would have been limited in opportunities (more people means more want entry into new things) and I would probably be making 2/3rds of what I make now...

It sounds like you have someone who is going to put you in for a clearance - but you have to work elsewhere while it goes thru.. It's a PITA, but a sec clearance is job security in this area for the most part... I could be wrong - but it sounds like you are going to jump for THAT opportunity when it comes thru and leave for the clearance job.. It really sounds like it's going to come down to which is more important - job experience or cash, both of which are important, it's just a matter of what is more important than you...


-Jason
DAMN Rider DAMN Rider

Maybe you have to be messed up... before you can step up!

Last edited by hondahawkrider; July 15, 2008 at 09:42 AM..
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