Contracting vs Full Time Employees
There are many advantages and disadvantages for working contract vs full time when working in Bay Area, California, the Mecca of innovation, where the most brilliant minds of the world collaborate, build something meaningful. The size of the companies matter. As the companies get too large, they have a hard time recruiting the best employees since they all want to work for startups, be the next Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or Ev Williams of Twitter. There is no reward anymore, working for the same job for the rest of life. The skills become outdated very quickly, and then afterwards there are no jobs available. Plus there is not much money, just working day job. Startups give a much large payout. It's worth the reward. All you need to do is hit one exit, become instant millionaire.
Contract for a large company. The hourly payout is great. Large companies have unlimited budget, to develop outdated skills. They pay any price to update the skills of their employees. For senior engineers, large companies depend on their knowledge, to educate and grow the team. Do a short stay, produce as much as possible, make a name for yourself. They probably will never find an employee like you, hence cash the popularity. Plant the seed for the future. Show them how it's done. For a contractor, be always on your toes, never relax. Be the goto person in the organization because you have the skill to do so. Do as much as possible.
When the budgets are cut, usually the contractors go out first hence never get too attached to the job. Since it's a contract, be ready in case, the sky is the limit. Everyone wants your skill outside, hence continue producing. Don't look back. Learn all the tools, work with all the technology stacks, do the work. There is always a double standard within the organizations, between full time employees and contractors. Don't pay too much attention rather keep your eyes on the goal, which is to learn and help the organization because when it's time to go, so be it. You did your part. There are no expectations, rather what's in front, i.e. the contract.
Become a full time employee of a startup, where you can have a long tenure. For initial employees, the equity package is great. If the company gets bought, become instant millionaire. Startups ask a lot. All the tools and procedures, learned from corporations, need to be applied, best engineering practices, from the ground up. Continue writing code, kick ass, build products and procedures in lightening speed. Stay focused and head down, work all the way till the company is bought or goes IPO. Help build up the startup, in every angle. Do the impossible, work 24/7 and have fun. Embrace the opportunity.
Even though the startup employees have the passion and drive to succeed, however due to costs, most of the time very junior engineers are hired. The reason being that the management wants control, sometimes CEOs are inexperienced and they are building the employees for the long tenure. However, this requires a lot of management time which slows the progress of the team. This is dangerous, because if the startup can't produce results fast enough, the investors pull the money out. Time is short and the results have to be shown, for example revenue and product in a lightening speed. Most startups need funding every 18 months.
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