Career Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tim Kline, Feb 15, 2002.

  1. Tim Kline

    Tim Kline Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I need some advice [​IMG]
    I've been building websites for 8 years now.. doing more graphics than programming type stuff.
    Last year I was laid off by a dot bomb, found a job at another dot bomb soon after, only to be re-laid off last June. since then I've been doing mostly freelance work and making decent money, till the freelance well ran dry.
    So, my friend and his wife fixed me up with a job at her work, part time.. it's not web design, it's police dispatch. It's actually a kinda cool job and at the end of next week I'll be done my training officially and will begin full time work. I'll be certified and all and they say I could easily find a job doing this almost anywhere once I'm certified. Also, with it being at a university's police dept (they're real cops, not security guards), one of the benefits it will have is going to school there for free, which I'd love to do so I can finish my degree. I'll be starting at around 30K a year here full time, which is 12K less than the last job I had [​IMG]
    But... 3 weeks ago, I heard from a very small web design company that wanted me to work there.. I started part time and they absolutely love my work. Today they offered me a full time position, also for 30K [​IMG] and no benefits till 90 days. I'd like to work for em, but I'm worried that it's a small struggling company and I'm gonna end up laid off just like the last small company I was at, since the web building industry pretty much sucks right now. Plus it doesn't seem like there's really much room for advancement at all, yet at Penn I know if I'm there a while I'll move up fast, at least according to what my friends tell me.
    So, I have those 2 choices... and now just today some pharmaceutical company here in philly contacted me, they found my resume on the web and love my samples and all, they're offering 40-50K, but I won't hear back from them until Monday. This is perfect for me cuz it's the salaray I want, and it's not a web company, I'd be the web guy there and also working with other design stuff like brochures and things like that, and I direly need print work in my portfolio. I haven't even had an interview here yet though, so for all I know I may not even get this job..
    Problem is, I won't hear from them till Monday some time or I gotta call them around 4 if they don't call me, yet monday morning I gotta call the small web company and tell em if I'm gonna be working there.. which means I'd have to ditch Penn to work there...
    So... do I take the job with the little web company and start full time there on Monday, do I stick with Penn doing something totally different, or do keep working part time at both places, till I find out if I got this other job? Either way I have to make a decision by monday so I dunno what to do, cuz I kinda like both places [​IMG]
    So, any advice or anything? [​IMG]
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Wow Tim, talk about a tough decision.

    My .02? Go for the big bucks at the Pharmaceutical place. They called you, they love your stuff and the money is WAY better than the other two. If it was a $5,000 difference, I would tell you to not bother, but you have the potential to make 40% more coin there. And if they love your stuff it sounds like you will be able to soon head their web division. You have some kick ass experience and I would roll the dice on this one. What have you got to lose? No offense, but it's not hard to find a job making $30K and the market should improve in the next 6 months or so. I'd try to extend the offer you have on the table. Be honest with the company that offered it to you...say you have another offer on the table (tell them it's a definate offer, not a "hunch") and say you need 3 more days. I'm sure they won't mind. That way you leave both avenues open. If you tell them you are holding out hope for something that actually hasn't been offered, they'll close the door on you and you could be left holding the bag. That my humble opinion for ya! Good Luck!!!!
     
  3. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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  4. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Tim-
    Depending on the time remaining for you to get your degree, I'd say your current job is your best bet. Sooner or later not having a undergrad degree will catch up to you, and you might as well finish it up for free now! Plus, the scenery is nicer if you are unmarried.
    Practice your site-building trade to help the university police; there are many Campus Police websites (http://www.police.gatech.edu/ from my alma mater) and some of them have complaint management and even problem logging features. You might find great niche work for smaller forces/college departments that could pay even more!
     
  5. Tim Kline

    Tim Kline Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the all insight [​IMG]
    About the degree... well, after high school, I decided I wanted to draw comic books for a living [​IMG] I went to an art school that was more like a trade school that was 4 years for some kind of associate degree.. after 2 years I decided I wanted to do movie special effects or design toys instead, and gave up on the first school and transfered to the university of the Arts here in Philly to major in Industrial Design.. and much to my dismay my 2 years at the first school didn't get me anything but a nice portfolio, so I started UArts at the bottom [​IMG] Then, a year later, I ran out of money and ended up delivering pizza for a living. I eventually taught myself how to build websites, and having a design background has helped a lot. So I have the skills, just no degree.. which means I'd need 3 years worth of school, I think.. some folks I've been talking to have said that real-world experience can be transfered into course credits somehow and I wouldn't have to go for that long.. who knows.. I just know that I'd be able to go to school free, and even if it's just to take a class or 2 on ASP or some other new web technology, to keep myself ahead of the game, then that would be good enough for me.
    My friends have said from the beginning that the dispatch job is just until I find something better. They helped me out of a bind when I was getting low on cash and needed to pay the rent [​IMG] They'd be happy for me if I left for a better job, but I kind of like this dispatch thing..
    Anyway after reading these replies, chatting with my girlfriend and others, I think I'm goin to stick with the dispatch job, and then wait and see if the other pharmaceutical company ends up wanting me, then I'll switch to that if it works out. After being laid off twice in a row last year, I am just hesitant to try out another web-based company. Seems like the only way to go in this industry now is to do it freelance, or be part of a web dept. in a company that does something else. Here, I would be more of a marketing/design person but focusing most on the web. I do know the bigger salary would make it a lot easier to afford that 65" widescreen RPTV I've been wanting for so long [​IMG]
     
  6. Leo Hinze

    Leo Hinze Stunt Coordinator

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    Some things to consider.
    Have you ever had friends who complained about how much debt they had from student loans? Being a dispatcher gives you a chance to get a free education.
    You've already done website design, you know you can do it, and you're good at it. Try something new for a bit. Personally, I like to stay at a new job at least a year to get the hang of it, and it looks better on a resume.
    In 20 years what will be more important? The extra $10k a year that you'll just blow on stupid stuff that you won't have in 20 years, or the memories, stories, experiences, and comraderie of being a police dispatcher? How many web-design war-stories do people tell each other over beers?
    You can do freelance web design after hours if you need extra cash.
    Web designers are practically unskilled labor and are a luxury for most companies. At a pharmaceutical company, you will be one of the first to go if times get tough. Certification and experience as a dispatcher makes you a valuable, skilled employee.
    One thing I love about college women - I keep getting older, and they stay the same age[​IMG]
    As you can see, I'm in favor of trying new stuff, so I'm in favor of the police dispatch job[​IMG]
     

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