my boss wants me to do contract work after I leave for a new job

A reader writes:

I just accepted a new job that is perfect for me right now and is a major promotion and raise. My current job overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated me. The majority of my department quit about six months ago and we never rehired; I just assumed all of their job responsibilities with no raise and without even a promotion in title.

Fast forward to this past week when I put in my two weeks. My boss is really happy for me, and he knows this position is a better fit and a great opportunity for me, but because he was unprepared (never rehired department staff, never even hired a director), he has asked if I could put in about 4 hours a week for a few months after my last day to work on a couple projects. Despite the fact it will be stressful, I am willing to do it because I want to leave on the best terms. The past employees who quit left a huge mess and I had to pick up the pieces. The organization means a lot to me, and I want the next person to have as smooth as a transition as possible.

What I am concerned about now is how to set my boundaries. Should I make my boss specify which projects he would like me to help finish up? I would like to make a clean break soon, I don’t need the money and I don’t need the stress for much longer. I also want to renegotiate my hourly rate. I know I have leverage, but I do not know how much or how to determine what my new rate should be. I know my boss views me as very young and very green, and I want to make sure to get a fair deal out of him. If it helps, my new job is an $11k raise. Any advice would help.

Can I talk you out of doing it at all?

You’re starting a new job and that’s where your focus should be. New jobs are stressful, especially when they’re promotions. They require a lot of your focus and mental energy. You’d do yourself and your new job a disservice by splitting your focus. (And if you’re thinking, “It’s only four hours a week” — that’s half a full work day.) And really, if you’re like most people, the last thing you’re going to want to do after getting home from a long day at your new job is do work for your old job.

Also, if you continue to work for your old boss, you won’t be able to make a clean break. You’ll still be mired in the problems and politics of your old office. One of the great things about moving on from any job — but especially from one that “overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated” you — is that you don’t have to care about their problems anymore.  Don’t underestimate what a big thing this is for your mental state.

You say that you want to help because you want to leave on good terms. The way people leave on good terms by giving a reasonable amount of notice, leaving their projects in good shape, leaving documentation for the next person, and sometimes being available for a few (and only a few) questions after they leave. That’s it. If an employer requires anything more than that for the parting to be on good terms, then there’s a serious problem on their side — and in that case, there’s nothing you can do to fix it anyway.

I understand that you care about the organization and you want to help. But you’d be doing more to help them than they’re doing to help themselves. The mess they’re in isn’t your fault; it’s theirs. A well-managed organization won’t get themselves into this kind of  problem in the first place, and it’s not your responsibility to help them fix it after you’ve already moved on — and that’s doubly true when you seem to care more about things there going smoothly than they do, and it’s triply true when they haven’t treated you well while they had you.

This situation is of their own making. You are moving on. So move on.

P.S. If you won’t listen to me and you do this anyway, the typical practice for consulting is to charge a minimum of twice your hourly rate. That’s because if you’re being paid as a 1099 worker, you’ll be responsible for your own payroll tax, won’t have the cost of benefits factored into your pay, etc.  And yes, you should absolutely nail down exactly what work you’d be doing and not leave it open-ended.

But I really advise you not to do it at all.

You can read an update to this post here.

{ 59 comments… read them below }

  1. Lindsay

    I read this blog almost every day and would be the first to admit that I’m convinced the guidance on here has placed me in the position I’m in, helped me be a better employee, etc. Thus, I am unabashedly a fan already, but…

    This post is one that really hit home! I am notorious for starting a new position and continuing on with the old work, just to help them transition, and I really appreciate the advice presented here. It is exahausting and it does require more than you anticipate. In addition, working for your old company makes you feel as though you can never really leave and ends up with a lot of unneeded guilt.

    I wish you the best in your decision, but I would also highly recommend Alison’s, as always, stellar advice.

    1. Broke Philosopher

      Yes! I agreed to stay on part-time at an old job, and I ended up having to put in my 2 weeks’ notice TWICE because my boss just never hired my replacement! Not worth it.

  2. Josh S

    Alison is dead on. Don’t do this to yourself. Make these last 2 weeks count: set everything up for your successor to be as prepared-for-success as possible, and then walk out the door.

    If we can’t convince you to leave your old job behind, demand at least 2x your previous hourly rate. I’d suggest 3x, just to give your former manager a reason to balk and let you walk away. And talk to a tax advisor about the quarterly taxes you’ll have to send in (both Federal and State).

    And have a written agreement about the pay you’re agreeing to as a contractor, the scope of the projects you’ll be working on, the time horizon when the contract ends, and the understanding that you’ll be billing for actual hours worked (and not just a flat rate/work-as-long-as-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done-and-I’ll-give-you-a-few-dollars). Then use

    1. Josh S

      …a software product like Yast.com to track every minute you work. And bill for it.

      Avoid the temptation to even think about your old job while you’re at your new job. All those duties–including taking calls, responding to emails, etc–will need to be done in the evening after you get home. You don’t want to sour your relationship with your new company by working on their time.

      (Sorry for splitting the post. My dear daughter managed to hit [tab] as I was hitting space, and it posted. LOL.)

      1. M-C

        And be sure to calculate the hourly rate as one you’re worth now, not the underpaid you. So at least the new rate you’re getting. But actually I’d advise you do a bit of research on what a real hired-from-outside consultant would be getting for the highest responsibilities you now have, and charge that.

        I totally, heartily second Allison’s recommendation to not do it at all. But now that you’ve implied you might, the best way to get yourself out of it is to “naturally” charge real market rate. I can guarantee you they’ll be hiring another underpaid victim in a flash.

        What you should do also is phase out the “daily work” aspect of your efforts over the next couple weeks, in fact try not to do anything at all for your last week. Concentrate on ostentatiously documenting everything you possibly can. Your current boss may not be happy that he can’t keep exploiting you (and expect you’d have full-time efforts demanded out of those 4h) but at least your successors will love you.

        Be firm about this, the idea is not their attempt to just to have you crank out as much work as possible in the remaining time, but to document as much as humanly possible. And then when they call to ask you a question, as they inevitably will, do not answer directly (or quickly) but always refer them to a page in your doc.

  3. Rashida

    I was in a simialar situation in January when I took a new job, and agreed to continue my part time job for 2 saturdays a month until they got someone to replace me.
    Well I’m still there and all it did was create a dependence on me, when it would have been better for the organization to hire someone who could committed more time.

      1. A Bug!

        While you may be correct and they are actually dependent on you, I’d wager that it’s not true. They’re not so much dependent on you as you are their most convenient option for filling that position. Because you’ve shown them that you’re willing to stay as long as there’s no replacement, they don’t feel pressured to find one.

        Put your foot down. Give them a firm end date, stick to it, and leave it to them to take care of their business.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          This is exactly right. You are actually enabling them in not hiring by being available to them. You quit this job — you need to fully move on from it; that is a normal thing to do, there’s nothing wrong with it, and you don’t owe them continued work. You’re not an indentured servant! Tell them you can no longer continue the work, and be done!

  4. Laurie

    Yeah, my first instinct would be to continue helping my old job too (which is what I did, by arranging for a generous 3-week notice period, conducting training sessions over several days for all my coworkers, leaving them cheat sheets and calendars and then answering questions over email) but then my leaving had nothing to do with my coworkers or boss and they sounded profusely apologetic every time they contacted me after I left the job.

    So, I’m agreeing with AAM that the OP should try not to get into a freelance/contract situation. If you were underappreciated before, it’ll only get worse after. And, what if he decides that four hours a week with the OP is enough to not have to hire another person…?

    1. Adam V

      +1. Give the company the option to keep you on – just make it cost-prohibitive to do it for too long.

      Either you’ll *really* enjoy getting ten times the pay for doing the same work, or else they’ll do what they should – say “no thanks” and go hire someone else.

  5. Anonymous

    Remember – It’s not your fault the old company didn’t rehire upon the resignations of the other staff members…AND…it’s not your issue to worry about once you leave. Make the most of the two weeks; tie up loose ends and make a manual for the next person.

    1. Diane

      +1

      They didn’t have to wait six months to replace the slew of people who left. Their mismanagement is not your responsibility.

    2. M-C

      You might mention mildly that you’re leaving because they didn’t rehire the missing people, and the workload is more than humanly bearable. I’m sure they know that, but it can’t hurt to make it explicit, not just that you needed a change of scenery.

  6. one third

    Are there any times when you think it might be an okay idea to consult for a former company? I work at a really small company (right now there are just 3 people) and I plan to start job searching soon. If/when I get an offer, I am really worried about how much notice to give–we are asked to give 3+ weeks and the 2 employees who have left since I started here have given 6 weeks (the person I replaced) and 10 weeks. I doubt I would be able to work out a situation where I could give that much notice (although I will try). I am not sure what I should do if I find myself only able to give 2 or 3 weeks notice…

    1. Rana

      Give two or three weeks notice.

      I understand that your current company is small, and that other people have given longer notice, but that’s irrelevant. Three weeks’ notice is in itself generous, given the general expectation of two weeks.

      As AAM points out, if they can’t handle the transition, that’s not really your problem. If you’re really worried about it, you could set up a bunch of guides and training documents while you job search, but think of it this way: to give longer notice you either have to demand that your new employer let you wait six weeks before showing up, which isn’t going to make you look good with them, or shoot yourself in the foot by telling your current boss that you’re job searching before you have anything concrete lined up.

      Give your two weeks’ notice, leave a lot of documentation, and move on.

    2. Josh S

      I suggest this ONLY because it seems that coworkers have given long notice and not suffered negatively for it.

      You *could* quietly let your boss know that you’re looking, that you’re early in the process, and that you will give him as much notice as possible. That way, they can be on the lookout to replace you (maybe even some overlap to train your replacement) while you hunt. Then, when you do get an offer, you can give 2 or 3 weeks notice and the company has still had plenty of warning.

      It’s not something I’d do at any but the most functional workplaces that respect their employees’ careers.

      1. KellyK

        Three weeks’ notice is a little more than the standard anyway, so if bridges are going to be burned if you can’t give three, it’s definitely worth considering whether you can go this route.

    3. Hannah

      My husband consulted for his former company (while also working a full-time job). It did take away some of our time together, because he did a lot of the consulting work on the weekend. BUT, the nice part was that he made A LOT of money. I think they paid him something like $65/hour.

      He consulted for a few months and ended up making about $6,000 altogether — not too shabby for a few hours work on the weekend.

      I think the important thing to consider is whether you can and are willing to give up some of your free time, how stressful the consulting work would be (in my husband’s case, not very — it was work he was very familiar with and had been doing regularly in his position with them), and how much they are paying you.

      Good luck!

  7. Liz T

    Yeah, you essentially end up being an enabler. They need to know there are consequences to their crappy management! They need to hit rock bottom so they can learn from their mistakes!

    Cut the apron strings. They abuse their employees and they need to know that that only winds up hurting them.

  8. moe

    Great post, especially the part about the relief you’ll be denying yourself from just being DONE with the place.

    I also don’t believe for a second that it will be only 4 hours a week.

  9. mimimi

    “My current job overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated me. The majority of my department quit about six months ago and we never rehired; I just assumed all of their job responsibilities with no raise and without even a promotion in title.”

    I agree – don’t do it at all. If they overworked you and underpaid you, why help them? It’s enabling – rewarding them for bad behavior. It’s their own fault that they are unprepared, and not your problem. Let them suffer the consequences of their actions and maybe things will be better for the next person they hire. (Maybe.)

    Be done with them.

  10. Camellia

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not do this.

    And if Alison and the rest of the commenters here can’t talk you out of doing it then find a lawyer, have him write up the contract, and have him be present when both parties sign. And make your old company pay for the lawyer’s fee.

    You don’t say how large your current company is, but most companies have legal council of some kind and when you start talking contracts and the lawyers get involved they will probably decide that the best path is to just hire someone to fill your position. And who knows, maybe some of the other positions also!

    If you do not do this I predict that they will squeeze as much work out of you as possible, and it won’t matter how much per hour you asked for, that soon-to-be-delivered paycheck just somehow never seems to be delivered and in the end you will simply be forced to quit this job a second time. And STILL run the risk of bad references or whatever else you are envisioning if you cut all ties with them after your first two week notice.

    And yes, in case you haven’t guessed, I speak from experience.

    So please just quite one time, do as much as you can during your notice period, and then move on to your new job free and clear.

  11. mimimi

    You could also ask for 10X your normal rate (as Mike suggested) or 20X! Paid in full in advance, for x number of hours of work. Which you will get around to doing, when you feel like it.

    Write this up in a contract and ask your former boss to sign it.

  12. The OP

    This is my first job resignation and I have found it to be entirely overwhelming. When I was first asked to do contract work I didn’t even know how to process it, but now that it has been a couple days, and I have gotten some solid perspective, I know that I absolutely cannot do any contract work for my old boss.

    I think feel so obligated to the job because I work for a homeless shelter on the administrative side and despite the obvious issues in administration, the direct care side of the organization does some really amazing work. But this should not color my decision. I can either do the contract work or retain my sanity.

    Thanks for the advice!

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’m so glad to hear this! For some reason, I’ve been worrying about you all afternoon — I think because you sound so nice and inclined to help that I was worried you were going to give in to your boss and then possibly not excel at your new job as a result. I’m glad to hear you’re going to say no!

      If it helps, here are some ways you can word it:

      “I’ve thought about your suggestion that I continue to do some work after I leave, and I’ve realized that I can’t in good conscience continue to do work here when I’ll owe it to my new employer to be focusing fully on them. But I’ll use these next two weeks to document everything I can.”

      or

      “I’m going to be too busy with my new job to do anything on the side.”

      You also want to have something prepared to say in case your boss pushes back, which is likely. You could then reply with something like, “I really have thought it over, and I just can’t do it. But I’ll leave things in good shape for the next person.”

      And if pressure continues, remember that’s a sign of why you’re leaving.

      1. Another Job Seeker

        Alison, thank you for your compassion. Your concern for others shows through your posts, and I appreciate it.

      2. The OP

        I told my boss I could not accept contract work. He laid the guilt on pretty thick, telling me he knows two weeks is standard but when there is no one else to pick up the slack it’s not much, it could be just a phone call twice a week to see if I am needed, there will be no one to train the next person and he’d pay me double my rate.

        I kept saying no, and then that I needed to think about it when he continued to push. I still haven’t made any firm commitments, but he will not take no for an answer. I don’t really know what my next step is. The last meeting was excruciating. I know it is not my fault but he definitely knows how to make me feel responsible. Should I e-mail him? I will continue to see and meet with him in person all week.

        1. Melissa

          Sorry to hear that’s he’s guilt-tripping you. I can definitely relate to having difficulty making a clean break at a small nonprofit – I had to give notice twice before leaving my first job because I felt guilty and lacked assertiveness. ( I did not have a full-time job lined up, though I knew I was heading for grad school in a few months, which was why I was susceptible to my boss’ suggestion that I stay on a little longer. I would not have made that same choice now.)

          However, this organization’s disorganization is not your problem. Please, continue to say no. Even if you have to literally repeat the same phrase each time he asks. You could keep a notecard with you to refer to, if that helps! He’s the one being inappropriate and unprofessional, not you. Perhaps you could tell him he’s making you deeply uncomfortable?

          Do you have any time off available to you? Perhaps you could take a day off if he’s being particularly obnoxious. Which he is being.

          This situation is making me so angry on your behalf!

        2. Melissa

          You could also refuse to discuss the topic further. “Thank you for the offer, but I cannot accept. My answer will not change. I’d rather focus on documenting what needs to be done for the next person in this position.” Next time he asks: “I’ve already told you I will not be staying on. Please do not ask me again.”

        3. Ask a Manager Post author

          OP, hold firm and remind yourself that his disorganization/bad decisions are not things you are responsible for! Send him an email and say that you are not able to do contract work and that the decision is final. And I agree with Melissa that if he continues to push after that, you need to tell him to stop — “I can’t change my answer on this, and I’m uncomfortable continuing to discuss it. Please don’t continue to push me to change my mind.”

          Repeat as necessary. Do not give in — the pushing is an additional sign of disrespect and should make you more committed to holding firm! Reasonable employers do not do this to employees.

        4. Jennifer O

          I wholeheartedly agree with everything Melissa and Alison have said. Please hold your ground and continue to say no.

          For your boss: “Thank you for the offer, but I cannot accept. My answer will not change. I’d rather focus on documenting what needs to be done for the next person in this position.” – Melissa

          For you: “Do not give in — the pushing is an additional sign of disrespect and should make you more committed to holding firm! Reasonable employers do not do this to employees.” – Alison

          1. The OP

            I gave my boss a definitive “NO” over e-mail and he dropped the subject cordially. He needed to see it in writing I think. I can’t believe I ever even considered doing contract work. I am still leaving on good terms, another department has convinced my boss to hire a temp in the interim, and he is interviewing several people a day for the position (before he had only set up 1 interview total).

            I feel much better starting my new job next week. Thanks!

    2. Elizabeth West

      Just got to this post today. I’m glad you decided not to do it. You really need to concentrate on your new job. Just get as many ducks in a row as you can before you leave, and then don’t worry about them. They will survive.

      Good luck on the new position. :)

    3. Minous

      “My current job overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated me. … I just assumed all of their job responsibilities with no raise and without even a promotion in title.”

      This is an abusive situation. Always get out of abusive situations (of any kind) as quickly as possible, and don’t look back.

  13. JT

    I’ll take a slightly different viewpoint. You should do it if and only if: the money is good, and with the extra money you can save some time from other stuff (easier commute, paid laundry, eating out, whatever) AND you have spare time in your personal life AND you can control when you work – doing most of the work on weekends or easy free time.

    If you can set up the work so it is not a stressor, the do it for money. Don’t do it out of guilt or a sense of loyalty, but as a job where it’s worth it for pay.

  14. JP

    Somewhat on topic since I actually will be staying at my current position part-time, but I just received (and accepted!) my very first job offer. I’m just over a year out of school and am very excited to start my first permanent job in my field – it’s only part-time, but it’s a good start! Thank you for all your advice, AAM – because of your blog, I wrote a better cover letter, a better resume, and definitely felt more confident & knowledgeable throughout the process!

  15. NewMgr

    While I don’t disagree with AAM’s advice, I do think there are exceptions to the rule of “don’t continue to work for your employer after you quit.”

    In November ’09, my office was informed that our location was going to be shut down. It had been a great place to work, and while we weren’t surprised, we were sad. The problem was that our European Overlords hadn’t actually considered how all of the work we were doing was going to get done once they shut us down. I was lucky enough to find a new job quickly, which I started in January ’10. At that time, I was asked if I’d be interested in continuing to work for them as a consultant, and I accepted. There were lots of variables that made this desirable for me: they were going to pay me really well (about 3 times what I was getting paid as an employee), I enjoyed the people I worked with, and I enjoyed the work itself.

    In March ’10, the office officially closed. Immediately therefore, our director started a new company that took on all the work our office had been doing. I continue to work through this company today, over 2.5 years after I left the job. Again, I like the pay, I like the people, and I like the work. That said, I’m at a point now where I am transitioning off of the contract work. I have to say, I’m excited to see what it’ll be like to have those ~10 hours/week back.

    The job I started in ’10 was a big step up in salary (30% increase), though not in role. Despite the fact that I have continued to contract for my old company to the tune of 5-20 hours/week since the beginning, the new job is going great. In my 2.5 years there, I have been promoted twice, am now in a management role, and am making close to 40% more than my starting salary. While it would be disingenuous to say that the contract work has *never* impacted the work I’m doing at my full-time job, I feel that my success in the new role shows that it hasn’t negatively impacted it in a measurable way.

    So, the advice to the OP was right on, because (s)he didn’t indicate that (s)he’d love the pay, the people, and the work. But that doesn’t mean it never works out.

    1. Steve G

      This is a great scenario. I also am not against the OP consulting to some degree. But I know I, for example, can’t handle consulting on the side. If you work over 40 hours a week, as many people do (I do 55 on average), once you add in commuting time and business trips, and occassionaly weekend reading for the job, there literally aren’t enough hours in the week to do it all.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yeah, I think there are definitely times when it makes sense to do it. Not in the OP’s case, because she sounded like she agreed only because she felt obligated … but it can definitely make sense in situations where you actually want to do it, have the time, and don’t feel guilt-tripped into it!

  16. Anonymous

    My two cents here:

    I don’t want to paint with a broad brush here, but based on the OP’s description of what type of nonprofit it is, I can say that I’ve seen in some instances where certain organizations that work with very needy clients and that deal with crisis situations very frequently, sometimes let that crisis mentality seep into their management practices. Everything is a fire alarm; there’s never enough money; they can’t retain good staff and are desperate for any support they can get; etc. The reason why they can’t fundraise properly and retain good staff is because they aren’t taking a hard look at the business side of the work they are doing. You have to run your organization efficiently in order to best help your constituents. If your entire department vanishes in 6 months and no one has been hired to replace them, then that’s a wake up call to your board of directors to step it up. Don’t get sucked in. You can support the mission by holding them to high standards and being professional. Move on.

  17. Sam

    “One of the great things about moving on from any job — but especially from one that “overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated” you — is that you don’t have to care about their problems anymore. Don’t underestimate what a big thing this is for your mental state.”

    This. A thousand times this. Once you’ve left, it’s simply not your problem any more. I know that it feels awful to leave coworkers, managers, clients etc. in the middle of a project. However, you have to think of number one. You have given the 2 weeks notice, as required in standard business practice. The boss’s lack of preparation or organisation in not hiring replacements in your department is not your responsibility.

    You have a new job in a new company with new responsibilities. Concentrate all your energies and focus into ensuring this new job goes swimmingly well. Forget about the company which underpaid and overworked you.

    Think of it this way: what would happen if you were hit by a bus on the way to work tomorrow? The old company would manage without you. They don’t need you – they just want you because they’ve realised (too late) that you’re under appreciated and that your expertise is needed to run smoothly. Well, sod them. They have made their bed, now they have to lie in it.

    That’s not to say that you need to be antagonistic or evil in your departure – far from it. Ensure that you have documentation written for the main tasks in your role for the replacement to read through, ask and offer if there’s anything your company needs in the 2 weeks before your departure. But once you’re out of there, that’s it. Sever communications, start anew. You’ll feel so much better for it, and in a couple of months, you won’t even think about the old company: you’ll be too wrapped up in your new job and all it entails.

    Good luck!

  18. littlemoose

    It sounds like the OP has decided against doing any contract work for the old job, which I think is the best decision. However, if he did want to proceed, he might also need to check the terms of his new employment. It’s unlikely, but they could have a non-compete clause or policy against outside activity (in a similar capacity) that would limit the OP’s ability to do such outside work. It really depends on the field and the nature of the job, but I think it’s a possibility.

  19. Steve G

    I would only work for them if it was a short term no-brainer type of consulting (does that exist, IDK). I mean, I’d come in, tell people how I would have done x, y, z if I still worked there, for an hour or 2 once a week, then go. I wouldn’t actually still want to do the work.

  20. The Editor

    Don’t do it.

    I did this with my first job, and it ended in disaster. The contract never ended, the work became burdensome, I eventually just dropped it outright, and now my name is mud at what would have been a perfect reference going forward.

    I simply could not juggle both balls at the same time, and by the time I realized that, I was in so deep that there was no clean way out.

    Don’t do it.

  21. AdAgencyChick

    Glad the OP has decided against this. Several years ago I also quit a nonprofit and was asked to continue work until a couple of projects I was working on were wrapped up. I did, out of loyalty to the organization’s mission and to my coworkers. Well, they offered me an hourly rate that was equal to what my hourly rate would have been if my (minuscule) salary had been paid hourly. Being young and stupid (and naive because “it was a non-profit” and “I should unselfishly help them in their mission”), I didn’t try to negotiate this at all, even though I knew that some of the work I had done, they’d previously paid a freelancer EIGHT TIMES that amount to do!

    If I had a do-over I’d definitely demand a competitive rate to finish the projects, if I agreed to do it at all.

  22. Colette

    It’s always hard to leave a job because you’ve spent so much time and energy on it that it’s hard to imagine that one day it won’t be part of your life – but in my experience, as soon as you start a new job, you’ll get past that.

    I agree with the comment about non-competes – it sounds like the OP has decided against contracting, but in case someone else is thinking about it, make sure you read the agreements for your new job carefully. You don’t want 4 hours a week to cost you your new job.

  23. Lanya

    I recently used a situation like this to my advantage – taking freelance work from my old company while they searched for a replacement designer. I charged them three times my normal rate (but they didn’t balk at the price since they were desperate). The money was definitely worth it, but only for the end goal of paying off a credit card bill that was hanging on. I would not do it again though. By the end of the project I felt very drained by the negativity of my old place while I was trying to learn the ins and outs at my new office. Take Alison’s advice and cut the cord!

  24. LA

    I’m on the other side of this issue. I’m currently looking for another position, but I really enjoy doing parts of my current position – just not doing so while living in the state I live in. I’m a ghost writer for people at the company and would love to continue doing this work once I move on. It’d be my own negotiations with my current company to continue doing these articles for them each month as well as negotiating to become to editor in chief of an e-zine they produce. While I know it’s going to be a lot of work, I really want to continue working on these things – at least for a time.

    Do you recommend doing that if it’s my own idea?

  25. anon-2

    Yogi Berra once said “It’s deja vu all over again.”

    I had the same thing happen to me in my last job move. I was offered a phenomenal amount of money for eight hours a week of contracting.

    The decision to decline was not mine — since the company that I was leaving was a customer of the company I was going to. It would have been a conflict of interest, and it wasn’t possible.

    Right now, I have a friend – a programmer/architect, who worked for a software company that laid him off, so they could hire a sales rep. But they did retain him on a consulting basis. I advised him “make the break clean, find another job. You can get benefits, stability, and so forth.”

    He was holding out hope they’d bring him back. Even today – unemployed – I advised him “do not mention that you’d like to go back to help out your old boss.”

    Sometimes a company drives you out the door. You owe them nothing. Sometimes things change, and you have no choice but to leave; in those cases, you owe them little, other than transition during the notice period.

  26. iceyone

    I’ve been in this situation before and it didn’t end well – in the end I had to put my foot down and ask my old employer to stop ringing me (after I sent them a bill for $1000 they got the message!)

    Focus on your new job, be happy you have a new position with more money and move on!

  27. Carly in Canada

    Ok, I’ve got a question:
    What happens if you’ve been asked to consider contract work after putting in your 2 weeks notice?

    Some background: I got a new job (slightly better pay) and put my 2 weeks in. I LOVE my current company, but decided to leave because this new job is a ‘once in a blue moon opportunity’.
    We literally just found out that 3 people were laid off in my department at head office (including the person who was going to take over all my projects, so my boss asked me today if I’m willing to provide help a handful of hours a week. I said I’d think about it and come up with a proposal on Monday.

    My first instinct is yes, that I’d love to do weekend work to help out anyway I can. I need the experience and the money as well (student loans, trying to quash them as soon as possible). I’ve actually been looking for a weekend job for the last 2-3 months with this kind of flexibility but haven’t been lucky.

    Should I continue to write up a proposal (with conditions such as no contact during my new job)?? I also plan to put a time limit on this, such as 5 or 6 moths after I start the new job. What else should I include in this proposal?

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