We are hiring at SafeNet consulting. Specifically, I need a senior .NET person or three. I can't think of anyone I know who's looking for a job right now so I'm going to throw this out to the public and see if anyone can help me out.
Why would you want to work at SafeNet? Well, here is my take on it:
I worked for two other consulting companies before coming here. Each one started out good but I ultimately became disgruntled. This is not an attack on anyone, just pointing out some of the things I don't like about traditional consulting models.
Salary: Its fairly complicated to come up with a fixed salary to fairly compensate a consultant. Expected utilization, expected billrate, and various other value-add activities you perform have to be taken into account. If you do convince your boss you are worth keeping on staff even if you are not profitable, chances are you're at the top of the list to be let go when things go downhill.
Sales & Extras: Consulting companies consider their staff to be a second sales force, and why not? A consultant's relationship with clients and potential clients (places their friends work, etc) are usually of a different and very useful quality than a salesperson's relationships (Sales-Ninjas excluded). Despite the fact that everyone admits how valuable this under the radar sales activity is, companies are loathe to offer compensation even when a sale is made that couldn't have been made without the consultant. The most common answers are "That's part of your job" or "This benefits everyone/Grows the company so we're all doing better/etc". Unless you have equity in the company beware the "Growing the firm" argument, and unless you live under a rock you probably know that you can make the same (or very close to it) salary at a non-consulting firm without the unpaid sales guy part of your job.
Non Competes and Freedom: This is the biggest one. I'd rather not give too many examples but I had one manager go so far as to tell me they wouldn't let me write a book I was working on unless I let people at the company review it. Doing small billable side work, large billable side work, creating products on the side, or making an HTML page for your friend at the barber shop can all be squashed by the non compete you signed when you took a job. Wisconsin happens to be a Right-To-Work state which means most non competes would not stand up in court. Chances are your employer can afford the legal battle better than you can though, so even if your agreement is ridiculous your bound by default.
Companies do not own you, so how is SafeNet supposedly better?
Salary: Let's get this out of the way. You don't get paid when you're not working. You get an hourly rate which is quite a bit higher than your effective salary would be at a normal firm, and you put some money in the piggy bank for the times when you're not working. A good rule of thumb is to plan for around 2 months of downtime. I'm confident I'll be working most of the time, and after doing the math I'll make a lot more here than most other places would be willing to pay me. Obviously this puts part of the onus on you to "Be Placeable".
Sales & Extras: SafeNet gives you a business development credit when you bring them work and leads. This credit takes the form of a per-person, per-hour commission to you. The same goes for referrals: if you get someone to come work @ SafeNet you get a per-hour bonus for as long as you both work there. While these amounts do not quite measure up to what a full-time sales person or recruiter's commission would be, I am not a full time sales person or recruiter so it seems fair to me. These conditions and dollar amounts are written into your employment contract, so its not a "wink-wink we'll give you a Best Buy gift certificate if you bring us a $750,000 project" type of deal. To me this seems fair and reasonable for all parties involved. Sure, there is a little risk, but I'd rather make more when I'm billing and make less when I'm not billing in exchange for some other freedoms...
Non Competes and Freedom: This is the best part. If you are not billing for a month, you do not have to come into the office and work on some inane pet project of the management. You can come into the office and maybe get paid for the inane project, or study, or sleep in and watch Soaps all day, or study for a certification or play Doom3. This is a huge draw to me, since I have so many nerd side projects that I don't have time for. I can't wait to be on the bench (sorta) so I can keep my daughter home from daycare and finally catch up on my DirectX projects and such. Also, have you ever been put on a ludicrous project copying CSV files into a FoxPro database or upgrading Windows98 to Windows 2000 because that's the only billable work the firm could find you? You're in the driver's seat: you don't have to do it if you don't want to. SafeNet's non compete is very simple and very side-work friendly. Unless you are doing side work for a big client they are trying to break into, and your side work doesn't affect your 9-5 gig you're fine.
After reading all of this you may wonder "Why not just go independent?" I thought the same thing, and who knows, I still may someday. The single biggest benefit is that I don't really need to spend any time selling myself. There is a full time sales staff pounding the pavement to place me and get a good rate for me. SafeNet also manages benefits for me so I don't need to worry about the cost of singe-party health insurance, 401k administration fees or anything like that. SafeNet has the formula about right: the $10-$20k per year more I could make being independent isn't worth the headaches and added risk of being my own sales guy.
So yeah, if you've got the skills, send me your resume if you're interested in getting a big pay raise and having complete freedom over your career.