Help me navigate a work transition/move
December 30, 2015 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I work in 100% travel IT consulting job. Moving soon so I can find local IT consulting (or else) jobs with my wife. Ideal world would to stay at current company, which doesn't have clients in new city, but is expanding there and current client has office there. While I am networking and will start applying for new jobs, I'd like to keep the option to stay. Do you have any thoughts or experiences in how to discuss this and navigate these waters? Some details below fold:

I currently am employed at a tech consulting company where I travel M-Th, pretty much every week. I've done this for 4.5 years. My wife and I don't want to have me keep travelling every week (25% would be my max) for obvious reasons (health, future family, missing each other)

Due to this, we're moving to a new city (the biggest city) where I can do similar work, but locally. While I plan on finding and looking for a new, local job in new city, I'd like to figure out how I can stay at my current company.

It's a great place to work for me (pay, environment, friendships-- basically everything except the 100% travel part). There's potential (but not set) options for me to stay, which include working at the local client office or working at local clients (we have none but plan on opening a local office shortly), or even help expand a new college hire program.

We plan on moving in 4-5 months. In the next two months I have bonus/promotion discussions-- I'd like to not discuss anything with anyone officially until those discussions are completed but can have informal discussions with other folks.

I see I have three options:
1. Look for new jobs in new city (NYC). I am doing networking now and fully intend to interview (I have little concerns of finding new work)
2. Attempt to stay at my current client, but work locally. Travel as little as possible (maybe once a month)
3. Try to be open for (negative--potential burbs) local clients (in which we currently have none but are hiring to improve that outlook).

I (think) I have a decent amount of leverage. The company makes about $30 net off each hour I work, so they have a vested interest in keeping me around. No need to tell me that corporations are terrible, etc (we could be bought by a big one, go under), but I think people are fair here.

As someone who's interviewed people in my role, it's nearly impossible to find folks in my skillset/personality/fit. I'm definitely not irreplaceable, but at a company which has basically no employee turnover (which is unheard of in this industry) I think my leaving would be a big deal. So I got that going for me.

Obviously from their point of view: I'm paid to travel to be flexible, not be local. Asking for local work would be an exception, which could be construed as coddling or something else. I don't have the skills, connections, or desire to do business development to help get clients locally either.

Thoughts appreciated!
posted by sandmanwv to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Best answer: From the outside, I don't think you have as much leverage as you think you do. Chewing up younger consultants with 100% travel and then spitting them out worn down and beat up is the business model in this case. I suspect they'll see you being ready to settle down as just notice that it's time to replace you. I've been in IT consulting for many years (on the biz dev side) and I've not seen the billable consultants have many options beyond leaving when they want to dial back the travel.

Good luck and I hope your employer is the exception, but you should probably plan on getting a new job.
posted by COD at 7:45 AM on December 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

What is your role and can it be done remotely? I found myself at the end of my consulting days justifying my lack of travel due to the fact that 99% of what I did could be done cheaper and more efficiently at home. I only had one client give me issues about that and when I pulled the base cost of travel, they quickly changed their tune.

Most consulting companies if they are dependent or marketed as their consultants are physically on-site won't really be open to having a consultant be gutted unless you are the exception and even then it would be questionable. I would vote if you can't take remote contracts, look for an FTE position. It took some getting use to but now I can't justify moving back into the consulting gig as I get to be home every night and barely work 40 hours these days. It's actually a pretty decent gig compared to the 70-80 hours I was pulling at one time.
posted by lpcxa0 at 7:49 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm with an IT company/consultancy. I just got off of a project with one of our many customers in NYC. If you have any cloud-based services, memail me, and I'll tell you more and give you a referral. (Workday, SAP, Oracle, Salesforce...)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:52 AM on December 30, 2015

I second the asking about doing remote work. My job role used to consist of 75% travel, however due to many reasons, i have negotiated to 0% travel and doing all of my job functionalities remote (or at least within a daily commute driving distance). I was able to show metrics of how this has vastly improved my productivity/billable hours, as well as improve employee satisfaction and lower turnover. Based on my data, my company has started pushing for far more remote engagements for the rest of my colleagues - so it may be a plan put together a business model/organizational model that lets you spend more time at home and stay with your current company/job role.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 8:51 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know the structure of your company, but one way to improve your leverage would be to move a step up the ladder. If you could have some responsibility for business development in the NYC area, then you have a reason to get first shot at business that would keep you in the area.

BTW, the NYC market encompasses a 40 mile radius from Manhattan, with lots of work in northern NJ, and on Long Island.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:32 PM on December 30, 2015

Best answer: You may be overthinking this a bit. People move on/up all the time. Just be straight with your needs and see what they say. This is not burning any bridges as long as you don't turn it into an ultimatum; in fact, it should really be part of a normal career conversation with your manager. "In the future, I'd like to find a way to travel less. Do you think there would be opportunities for a role with less travel here at XYZ Tech?" NOT "I'm quitting if I don't reduce my travel." If they want to keep you, they'll give you roadmap on how to get there. Maybe you can be the lead tech guy in the NYC office.

But on the other hand, do look around. There are lots of IT consultancies with 100% of their business in the NYC/tri-state area. You can absolutely get a new gig -- I suspect you might even be able to get a good pay bump given what you've shared about your billing margin.
posted by troyer at 3:30 PM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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