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  #61  
Old 16.05.2011, 14:22
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

I've been a contractor for well over a decade in a number of European countries, always moving wholesale to each one as I moved to a new contract. My conclusion has been that the fixed costs of relocation take at least a year to absorb, and the real benefits of moving country only kick in from the second year onwards.

It is true that most initial contracts are of 6 months or a year, but in my experience it is much more likely that contract extensions will be granted than in the UK. As a contractor, you must consider yourself as a risk taker, and the risk of not getting a contract extension is the gamble you make when you relocate. However, you can mitigate this risk by researching the market and assessing the likelihood of moving to another contract in the same location in the worst case.
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Old 16.05.2011, 14:31
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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It is true that most initial contracts are of 6 months or a year, but in my experience it is much more likely that contract extensions will be granted than in the UK.
That is useful to know, and not a point I had heard raised before. What I HAD learnt from my research that there is a "hard coded" limit of 2 years for extensions with this particular client where if you do end up renewing up to 2 years you then have to leave for six months before any new contract can be offered.

The "risk" thing is difficult because it can't be predicted. In the past I've taken the exhange rate "risk" but new to Switzerland is the whole "you'd be an employee so if you returned earlier (perhaps because other risks meant you were losing money by staying) the risk becomes even greater.

I'm rather sensitive to this having just come out of a contract where all the talk was of renewals for "2 to 3 years if you want it" and then the project got cancelled completely out of the blue before even 6 months were up. That "risk" in the UK was hard enough to have taken and born the cost of. In Switzerland the financial ramifications would be far worse.
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  #63  
Old 16.05.2011, 14:34
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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That is useful to know, and not a point I had heard raised before. What I HAD learnt from my research that there is a "hard coded" limit of 2 years for extensions with this particular client where if you do end up renewing up to 2 years you then have to leave for six months before any new contract can be offered.

The "risk" thing is difficult because it can't be predicted. In the past I've taken the exhange rate "risk" but new to Switzerland is the whole "you'd be an employee so if you returned earlier (perhaps because other risks meant you were losing money by staying) the risk becomes even greater.

I'm rather sensitive to this having just come out of a contract where all the talk was of renewals for "2 to 3 years if you want it" and then the project got cancelled completely out of the blue before even 6 months were up. That "risk" in the UK was hard enough to have taken and born the cost of. In Switzerland the financial ramifications would be far worse.
The two year rule is pretty common though, particularly at things like banks but it's not often really enforced (in my experience) if they want to keep you on their are various ways of working around it (same contract, title altered for example) or they just ignore it altogether.
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  #64  
Old 16.05.2011, 14:48
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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You're welcome to conclude this forum isn't for you but declaring it "full of trolls" is probably stretching the point.
I haven't concluded this forum isn't for me. At the risk of being accused of not being able to take "humorous pokes" it is irritating when people try to suggest you're thinking things you're not. And I most certainly didn't declare it "full of trolls". I said that IF the tone of every post here was to be not "nice" (ie if everyone here adopted the tone of that MF troll in that other thread) I would think that most newbies would assume it was a forum full of trolls. Nowhere did I say, or intent to imply, this was a "forum full of trolls". If I thought that was the case, I wouldn't be here.

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As for the thread titles on that other forum, if you find them uncongenial why not kick up a stink over there, where they've actually got them? I just thought they were funny (not only the "trying to make sense" one, several of the others as well.)
At this stage, I don't care enough to comment one way or the other, especially as a newbie over there who's met a hostile response on the single post he's made. You don't step into a stranger's house and immediately start criticising the wallpaper! I DID respond here because the overall response has been much friendlier, and someone else (YOU) brought it up as part of a conversation I'd started.

As for the humour thing, I don't follow. I tend to respond in the same tone as I'm addressed in (trying to speak the same "language") I could eg just respond "F*** off" which some would regard as humour and others would regard as offensive (adding a smiley might help the case for it being intended humour I guess). It's all down to perceived context. I've tried to reply in the same "language". I may have got that wrong here and there, but looking back I'm struggling to find the examples where you think I've apparently been too thin-skinned.
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  #65  
Old 16.05.2011, 14:58
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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That is useful to know, and not a point I had heard raised before. What I HAD learnt from my research that there is a "hard coded" limit of 2 years for extensions with this particular client where if you do end up renewing up to 2 years you then have to leave for six months before any new contract can be offered.
I think I can guess who your client is, from this post. This is not a general rule, however, and if you gain 2 years experience from this client, you wouldn't have a hard time finding another contract with a rival.

Basically, if you are good at your job, don't worry too much about it all since you will be well placed when you are back on the market again. Notwithstanding the possibility of cancelled projects, if you can't get through 2 years without being let go, you are probably in the wrong business.
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Old 16.05.2011, 16:15
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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You can actually find accommodation for under CHF1000 a months but that'll be renting a room in a shared apt.
When I arrived last Summer, my company was prepared to put me up in a serviced room (c. 20 m2 that included a small fridge and cooking corner, + ensuite bathroom, + free laundry facilities) for up to 4 months.

The budget was up to a max of 2000 CHF and I think the room I was in (centrally located, less than 10 mins from HBf) for three months cost 1800 CHF pcm.

Just thought I'd add that in case you reconsider a contract in the Zurich area...
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Old 16.05.2011, 18:54
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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Well, re-train as an IT Specialist then, what is stopping you ? You can study the work in your own time, either distance learning or classroom and make your way into this seeminlgy lucrative field. Surely having identified that IT Contractors are doing well, bemoaning your own salary and the supposed greed of the high earner, if you wish to join them then start learning. if you don't then you have no right to complain at their salary.

Many IT staff work extremely hard in fields that are complex. You cannot berate someone for their salary until you know what they do and how much effort it takes.
Bizarre. I didn't "berate" or "bemoan" anyone. My salary is just find thank you. You shouldn't take everything you read on the net as the truth. lol. ETA: I should add I'm my own boss so I only have myself to blame. lol.

Clearly, I was illustrating a point which is that companies aren't going to give him a higher rate because he has two households to maintain. It seems his specialty does not allow him to maintain TWO full households in Europe's most expensive cities. The rate is what it is.

Maybe you should inform the OP to train in a different specialty.

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It's a fair cop. I guess my counter-argument to that would be my mortgage is quite low and that I've been able to keep that lifestyle (and make a profit) working in Ireland and Germany. The key point to get across is that Switzerland is different (well duh!). I used the word "naive" in the title to this post quite deliberately. In my naivety I assumed it would be possible to work remotely through my UK company (commuting at weekends even) because the initial approach indicated that was what would happen.
If you were living full time in Switzerland your salary would be fine, well, more than fine really. Just looking at the list of most expensive cities would not include Ireland or Germany in them.

If I were an IT consultant (and of course I'm super jealous of all you IT consultants and I'm going to rush off and sign up for online courses), I'd set up house in a Lisbon or Barcelona and then contract in Switzerland & London, etc.

Good luck with your next assignment.
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  #68  
Old 16.05.2011, 21:06
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Thanks.

Just wanted to thank everyone for their replies here, and for keeping the conversation at a polite level.

On a personal note, it has provided some food for thought, and revealed additional detail that will hopefully be useful to others who may land here when researching contracting opportunities in Switzerland.

It's very clear (from responses over on the UK Contractors forum, which have been almost entirely dominated by responses of "You're stupid", "You're unprofessional") that I need to "unplug from the world of internet forums" and get back to the real world (or at least "my" version of the real world ), at least if I want to keep my sanity.

Time for me to move on.

Thanks again,
Ian
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