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Old 08.02.2016, 04:48
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I want to quit and start working on my own

Hey guys,

I'm living in Zurich, where I'm working as a Software Engineer since January 2015.

My job is unbearably frustrating and I'm decided to quit. I'd love to try and become an independent developer instead.
I wish to stay in Zurich because I *really* love this place and I have many friends and a girlfriend here. I'm afraid, though, that without my salary I wouldn't be able to maintain myself for more than a few months, given how expensive Zurich is.

Would you know whether it would be possible to get unemployment benefits (or any other kind of fundings) to help me pursue my dream?

Thanks a lot,
Stoso
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Old 08.02.2016, 08:09
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

If you quit, you can be punished by the " Arbeitslosenkasse" up to 60 Days, getting no Money at all(you must have savings to pay to bills).
You must get insurance against accidents(25sfr per month).
Despite the fact getting no money at all, you must apply for new jobs(at least
for 10 a month).
Because you want to persue other options, i would recommend, before you
quit, have a discusssion with the rav.
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Old 08.02.2016, 08:17
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

Are you an EU national or non-EU? If EU then it may be possible, but you'll need a good business plan and sufficient funding to keep you going for some months while the business gets going.

If non-EU then I assume you're on a "tied" permit which means if you quit your job you have no right to stay here any more as your permit is linked to your work.
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Old 08.02.2016, 08:23
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

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Hey guys,

I'm living in Zurich, where I'm working as a Software Engineer since January 2015.

My job is unbearably frustrating and I'm decided to quit. I'd love to try and become an independent developer instead.
I wish to stay in Zurich because I *really* love this place and I have many friends and a girlfriend here. I'm afraid, though, that without my salary I wouldn't be able to maintain myself for more than a few months, given how expensive Zurich is.

Would you know whether it would be possible to get unemployment benefits (or any other kind of fundings) to help me pursue my dream?

Thanks a lot,
Stoso
You are entitled to RAV if you have worked for 12 months in the last 2 years. http://www.myscience.ch/living/social_security/ui

If you quit your job you lose around 2-3 months of unemployment benefits before the payouts start.

So calculate if you can afford to lose 2-3 months salary and take it from there.

Personally if I were you, I would first start looking for other development jobs in other companies that may provide a less frustrating experience.

Also depends where you're from and your permit status.

Last edited by Chuff; 08.02.2016 at 08:36.
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Old 08.02.2016, 10:59
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

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My job is unbearably frustrating and I'm decided to quit. I'd love to try and become an independent developer instead.
What do you mean by that? Contractor? Freelancer? Start-up with a defined product offering and/service?

This is important, because if you want to go out and be an 'independent' whatever, you better know what you're actually going to do, otherwise - at best - you'll waste your first six months just figuring this out.

Also research what it means to be self employed; it's a very different experience to being employed and requires different skills and far more discipline.
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Would you know whether it would be possible to get unemployment benefits (or any other kind of fundings) to help me pursue my dream?
As has been said, if you voluntarily leave employment, the RAV will penalize you. Most common way to avoid this is by agreeing a Zeugnis/Kündigung with your boss whereby the stated reason for termination is that they're letting you go through no fault of your own (restructuring, budgets, etc). Alternatively, another way of doing this is to get a contract role elsewhere for something like six months then don't renew it in such a way that you've not rejected a renewal per say.

If I were you, I'd go for the second option, as it may fulfill your need to be 'independent' in itself, and - if not - will probably pay more than a permanent position, thus allowing you to build up more of a war chest and increasing your average salary over the last 12 months (thus increasing what ALG you'll receive).
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Old 08.02.2016, 16:31
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

If you establish your on company (GmbH) or "Einzelfirma" (one-man firm) it might be of no use if you look for contracting jobs at big companies. Most companies require freelancer to be employed by an intermediary agency (body shop) that does the payroll for you and guarantees that social security is paid properly. For this service they normally charge a (whopping) fee of 15-25% of your hourly salary. So if your contracting rate is 120 CHF/hour, your net rate will be about 94 CHF/hour. From this amount social security (AHV, BVG etc.) is deducted (employee AND employer part) which will further reduce your rate by about 20-25% so your net rate will be 70-75 CHF/hour. Now multiply this rate by the avg 1850 hours/year, reduce 1 week for unexpected absences (sickness) and you get the equivalent yearly income.
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Old 08.02.2016, 21:59
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

Assuming your contract with your current employer allows that (please beware of conflicts of interest!) would you consider hanging in there and starting your independent business work while keeping your day job, and/or potentially while looking for another position?

I only bring this up because I know two people who, while keeping their "day jobs", managed to start their own businesses on the side, and, eventually, these became successful enough that the people quit their day jobs to dedicate themselves fully to their former side businesses. Might it be worth considering?
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Old 08.02.2016, 22:07
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

Who the hell doesn't want to quit, and work for themselves?
Stick it out like the rest of us until you have a better idea .
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Old 08.02.2016, 22:15
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

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You are entitled to RAV if you have worked for 12 months in the last 2 years. http://www.myscience.ch/living/social_security/ui

If you quit your job you lose around 2-3 months of unemployment benefits before the payouts start.

So calculate if you can afford to lose 2-3 months salary and take it from there.

Personally if I were you, I would first start looking for other development jobs in other companies that may provide a less frustrating experience.

Also depends where you're from and your permit status.
I'm afraid that is not always the case. RAV is really trying to crack down on those who give up their job after the statutory 12 months (or even those who have worked for a very long time). I did post last year about a case where RAV was refused altogether, as the person had not discussed the issues with his employer and tried to find a way to improve things. He went to appeal, and lost. Much much better to find something else or set everything up for your own business, before leaving. RAV is for people who are made redundant, not for those who give up their job due to boredom or frustration, I'm afraid- and quite rightly so.
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Old 09.02.2016, 02:39
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Thanks for all your answers guys!
I'll try to reply to your questions.

I'm working as a full-time employee for a company, and I'm an EU citizen. I have a Swiss B permit.
I saved enough to be able to live off of it for a couple of months with my current life style (probably 4 or 5 if I start leaving cheaper - which would mean getting a cheaper apartment and be more conscious about expenses).

A friend and two other guys I know registered a company at the beginning of January. Their startup is based in London, they all are UE citizens and living in EU (only the registered office is in London). I believe they have a solid business plan and received some fundings, but have started working on the actual project recently (it will be released in the summer, they hope), and the founders are currently working on a super tight salary (about 10k EUR per year before taxes).
I've helped them setting up a domain, blog, email address etc (which might be against some clauses of my current job's contract), and they would want me to join. I'd like to work with them while still living in Zurich.

I'll quit my current job even if I couldn't get any unemployment benefits or other means of funding.
I don't know what I would do next though: the main options are finding another job in Zurich, or bet on the startup mentioned above (but that would probably force me to move away within the summer).

Do you believe I might be able to find a way of getting some financial help here and work remotely on the startup?
Should I go and explain my situation to the unemployment office even before giving my resignation?
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Old 09.02.2016, 05:52
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

So three guys you know have a start up, and hope to launch something in the summer?

I assume that you have a 3 month notice period in your current role, so that would take you until the end of May, and it then sounds like your savings would get you through until launch. But after launch would it immediately start bringing in enough money to pay the four (plus?) of you a living wage, or will there be some ramp up time after go live until the money flows? It would be a shame to have to start looking for a paying job again just after launch.

Would asking your current employer to reduce hours be an option, i.e. 60%? You still have a steady income and then have the time needed to work on the project?
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Old 09.02.2016, 08:16
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

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Would asking your current employer to reduce hours be an option, i.e. 60%? You still have a steady income and then have the time needed to work on the project?
This is unlikely to work as it sounds as if he's breached his employment conditions.

I also doubt you'd get any funding here as you'd effectively be an employee of that new company - not self-employed as such. Remember they would also be responsble for paying your Swiss insurances (AHV, etc) connected with your current job if you resign. To be considered self-employed here you'd probably need 3/4 other customers for your services.
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Old 09.02.2016, 08:23
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

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.... I'd love to try and become an independent developer instead.
If by "independent developer" you mean freelancer/contractor, then hand in your notice now, register with a bunch of agencies. If you're lucky you might get a contract fairly quickly in Zürich, but be prepared for your first contracts to be anywhere in Europe, not very highly paid and you'll need to weekly commute. You can work through umbrella companies to handle payroll, social contributions etc., so no need to form a GmbH - which you wouldn't be able to use in some countries anyway.

If you mean you want to set up a software house, I'd recommend that you instead become a contractor for several years. Build up your funds, gain experience, and - most importantly - gain contacts that you can use when you come to sell your software.
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Old 09.02.2016, 11:55
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

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I saved enough to be able to live off of it for a couple of months with my current life style (probably 4 or 5 if I start leaving cheaper - which would mean getting a cheaper apartment and be more conscious about expenses).
Not enough. Getting a cheap apartment means moving, and moving means a three month notice period, raising a new deposit, getting your old apartment cleaned and so on.

Even if you don't move, can you have new money coming in within those 4 or 5 months? And I mean in your account, not invoiced or promised.

The long and the short of it is that unless you have an income guaranteed within that period before you quit (such as ALG), you'll already be dead in the water because your cash flow won't stand up.

Given what you've written, I don't think you can realistically survive without getting your ALG, and as been said, the RAV is cracking down on this sort of thing. The only venture you've mooted is one that belongs to some friends in another country whom you'd have to rely upon to become profitable within 12 to 18 months. Can you? I'm sure they have a pretty business plan, but I've seen a lot of those over the years and past the nice graphs they're often based on little more than voodoo analysis and wishful thinking.

Even if they can, it sounds like a bootstrap operation where they'd expect you to work full time for at most 10k p.a., with no guarantee this would increase. You can't afford that, with or without ALG.

Think very carefully before you take the plunge. Go through their business plan with a hatchet and look at other sources of income - presuming that 70% won't convert and even if they do they'll take three times as long as you're hoping to pay up. And if the numbers don't crunch then, then don't.
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Old 09.02.2016, 12:23
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Re: I want to quit and start working on my own

Also bear in mind that the Swiss authorities may want to see their business plan if you're going to work for them. They may want to have a look to decide whether or not you'll earn enough to support yourself here.
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