Job offer - advice needed!


Active Member
Hello everyone,

So I've been offered a job by one of my major suppliers. Essentially, they're looking to expand out from their current location and run a number of subsidiary companies around the country. Without wishing to bore you, the basic details of the offer are:

- Fixed salary (the bulk of which is paid by dividend)
- Shares in the sub company (preferential)
- Expenses, inc tel, internet etc
- Various gee gaws and shiny things designed to appeal to the techno-magpie in me.

I've got a good working relationship with the company, and I think there's scope to make the subsid run at a good clip before moving to head office, or onto another branch, or even out after the contract expires (5 year term, after which I can sell my shares if I want for a lump sum). There's also the attraction of knowing that I'll have a fixed income which covers my bills every month (amirite?)

On the other hand, it would mean working for someone else. I'd probably have to go into an office every day. They'd probably even demand that I got there at a certain time in the morning. I'd be restricted in terms of pricing and advertising structures etc.

Bottom line - I'm not sure if I can work for someone else. I've not done that since I was, what, 18? Then again, maybe I've learned everything I can learn about the industry on my own, and this is a chance to learn more about it from people who actually run the presses every day.

So, gentle folk of GDF, what suggestions have ye?

--PB :icon_cheers:
Having to go into work every day to get paid? Oh my god how will you cope? Seriously if its going to give you more security than what you're doing now, who cares. Your obviously strongly considering it and your only negative seems to be working for someone else so as long as you can handle someone being your boss then take the offer.
Will you be earning more? - You can still do plenty of side work anyway.

Getting shares - how will you value them - is it a listed company???

Try asking for a fixed work from home day or two.... depends on commute.
Dividends are not the same as salary and don't come with the same guarantees (they're essentially variable depending on the state of the company's balance sheet: they might produce a decent whack, they might be zero ... I think they're also paid equally per share which would impact on the amount you're able to draw).

Depending on what the guaranteed income is, I'd consider tossing the idea of a retainer agreement into the mix.
Thanks, everyone. Especially those of you who replied over the weekend!

OK, so in order: @richimgd - Sorry, my original post was a bit douchebaggy. My worry about going into an office to work set hours each day is that I've never done that before. The only office job I've ever had was... unusual to say the least (I was the GM of a student union with no structure, so I was on call 24 hours a day and basically worked the hours I felt I needed to to get the job done. Since then I've been self-employed). My problem here is not that I don't think I should have to do a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, it's that it's a total shift away from the way that I've always worked, and that's a big commitment to make. I am considering the offer carefully, yes, because it would be stupid not to. At the same time, I felt that I needed advice from others who might have more experience of working in a more structured environment.

@byronc - Hard to say if it will be more money initially, but common sense tells me that having an organisation behind you increases long term opportunities. In particular, I don't currently know how I would go about hiring people if needed (and it's something that I might well need to do within the next 6 months or so). Although I worry about having to run a business to someone else's beat, it may be a good idea to try that. Doing side work is, I think, a no-no on this one. I get the strong sense that this offer is based in no small part on my bringing across my client book to the new business. I also think that I need to commit one way or another from a success point of view - either business is going to struggle if I only do a half-assed job for it. Company is not listed, so that's a concern that I should really be thinking about.

@Minuteman Press - As above, hard to say initially, although I'm confident that in the long run either option will keep a roof over my head. At this point in my career I'm ok on the money side of things (lucky me), so the real decision I feel that I have is about whether this is good career development or not.

@Dave L - I had thought about this as well. So the agreement as it's been outlined to me is that there would be "A" and "B" shares which would be valued relatively. I would get the "A"s and the parent company would retain the "B"s (this can be governed by the mem and arts of association, so is written and binding). Obviously a % share of 0 is still 0, but again I think it's highly unlikely that we'd end up with an operating profit of 0 at the end of the year. There would also be something in the mem and arts stating a minimum "salary" to be paid through dividends, so that basically covers the retainer. I'd also note that I've not seen a contract as yet (we're not at that stage yet) but that I'll be having a lawyer look it over before signing anything!

So essentially, the question is whether I want to give up the freedom to run the business my own way (inc the ability to use a variety of suppliers) in exchange for the benefits that come from being part of a larger organisation. A 5 year minimum contract is a big ol' commitment (I'll be kids and mortgage age by the time that's expired!) Giving over my client book is also a big deal (although I'd continue to manage the relationships).

Thanks again for all the advice, folks. It's really helping to focus the question for me!

Sounds like some thought has gone into the dividend issue but remember that it's not a simple case of sharing out any year-end profits (i.e. there'll be other considerations like working capital, investment, etc.): it's conceivable that you can turn a substantial profit but still severely restrict payouts to shareholders.

In short, don't count on anything that isn't guaranteed.