Now comes one of harder decisions I’ve made in my career

I’ve been here at Kodak for over 6 years as an hourly wage contractor. No benefits, no vacation, and no 401(K). And while I’ve bitched about it here many times, overall it’s been a damn good job. Good money, the respect of my peers, an active role in design, interesting technology, etc. But several months ago, they told me that they couldn’t renew my contract any more, and that they’d convert me to a full time employee. And that was all going ahead nicely when the head of our division suddenly left. No warning, no explanation, just “Heck of a job, Brownie” one day and “We can neither confirm nor deny he ever worked here” the next. Something fishy happened. But the new person came in, and of course the first thing she did was put a freeze on hiring.

So since that time, they’ve been renewing my contract one month at a time, and usually waiting until the last week of the month before confirming it. So needless to say, I’ve been “exploring my options”, spreading my resume around, registering at Monster and Dice, talking to headhunters, and going on some intervews. And now I’ve got an offer from Global Crossing. It doesn’t look hugely exciting, but it might be mildly interesting and a chance to get some experience in some technologies I’ve been interrested in, like Hibernate and EJBs. It’s contract-to-hire, which is a bummer, and it pays way less than I’m making now (which I expected) and probably a little less than what Kodak would come up with if they ever get around to making an offer. On the other hand, it’s in a new building, rather than a clapped out industrial building where the ceiling tiles are older than I am and the asbestos warning stickers confront you at every doorway.

So now it comes down to: do I take the nearly sure thing at Global Crossing, or sit here waiting while Kodak jerks me around for another week, another month, another quarter, or whatever?

In my career I’ve always played it by ear, but I’ve also made a habit of getting out when the going is good. I swore I wouldn’t do that here, because the pay is so much better than what I’d make elsewhere that it would be worth it to stick it out to the bitter end and maybe lose a month’s pay while looking for a new job. But this constant worry if they’re going to renew my contract this month is driving me batty.