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Old 09-05-2014, 11:16 PM   #21
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I might give them half an hour or an hour over lunch if they're buying. Or if it was the right person for the right reason, I'd give them a little more time. So much stuff appears to be falling through the cracks since I left and ultimately me, the taxpayer, will end up paying.

I don't mind putting forth a tiny effort to explain how contracts were structured and what has to happen to not totally F things up big time.

Anything that appeared to be headed for more than an hour or three would have me sending them my consulting proposal and instructions for them to figure out the triplicate and paperwork required by their bureaucracy, or an extra $5000 charge for "legal and compliance / project management" from me. That would most likely reiterate the value of my time.
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:24 AM   #22
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I might give them half an hour or an hour over lunch if they're buying. Or if it was the right person for the right reason, I'd give them a little more time. So much stuff appears to be falling through the cracks since I left and ultimately me, the taxpayer, will end up paying.

I don't mind putting forth a tiny effort to explain how contracts were structured and what has to happen to not totally F things up big time.

Anything that appeared to be headed for more than an hour or three would have me sending them my consulting proposal <snip>
That seems like a reasonable middle ground. If you can take a little time to save them a lot, it's a kindness. If they want to drag you back into it it's gonna cost them.

I once left a small consulting firm and got a call at my new job from the guy who took over one of my clients. He pretty much wanted to send me the data and have ME put it in the format needed by their programs. The process was very well-documented; I'd inherited it from someone else who had left and actually sent her a note telling her how clear it was to follow. I'd even added some detail beyond that, so I knew the guy had directions.

The client (an insurance company) was also a customer of my new employer (a reinsurance company). I replied to my former co-worker, noted the existence of thorough documentation of the process, and told him that in order for me to work on the client's data I'd need their written consent. I never heard from him again.

And yes, in my case it would have been a conflict of interest for me to do work for my old employer on the new employer's time- or maybe to do it at all. I figured it would never get to that point, and it didn't.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:23 AM   #23
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The right answer is: Go jump in a lake, f'n mooching A@$@%s.
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Prev. employer wanting consulting for free
Old 09-06-2014, 09:53 AM   #24
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Prev. employer wanting consulting for free

As a consultant, the free advice conversation is a often problem. This is when you go into selling mode. Say something about how you understand their problem, then Go into how you would be excited to help them out with that, they are happy now. Ask when a good time come into the office and work on it, maybe with a time estimate. They will either balk at idea in which case move on, or they seriously have a problem that they want help with.

Be ready for "whats your rate"

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Old 09-06-2014, 10:03 AM   #25
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Be ready for "whats your rate"

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Old 09-06-2014, 10:27 AM   #26
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In a similar situation. A few months after my leaving, I was asked for my recollection on a certain design that I had done. Since I was in good standing with them, I gave a 5 minute general response according to the best of my memory. I followed up with, for more detailed answer, I would have to review my files. Which by company policy, are still at the office and I do not have access to them at home.

I followed with, they get one free "recollection". The next will cost you...... That last part never happened, and I was not asked again for free advice.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:32 AM   #27
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As a consultant, the free advice conversation is a often problem. This is when you go into selling mode. Say something about how you understand their problem, then Go into how you would be excited to help them out with that, they are happy now. Ask when a good time come into the office and work on it, maybe with a time estimate. They will either balk at idea in which case move on, or they seriously have a problem that they want help with.

Be ready for "whats your rate"

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When I was in consulting, I'd occasionally get phone calls from former clients who wanted follow up work or had questions. They'd get about 15-30 minutes of free time and some quick answers as I checked their payment history and made sure they weren't deadbeats. Then it would be "hey, let's sit down sometime in the next week and figure out what it'll take to get these issues addressed."

That usually made them realize they were getting a quick freebie, and that extensive help costs money.
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Old 09-06-2014, 11:29 AM   #28
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I tend to agree with Walt on this. I try to stay on good terms with former coworkers (except 3 or 4, where the feeling is mutual.) If a work friend asked for info, and I could answer in less than an hour or two... no problem.

However if one of the 3-4 jerks asked... they could take a hike. But I think the odds of them ever asking me for something are close to zero... they'd use a proxy if they really needed the answer because they all knew I was fully aware they'd thrown me under the bus in the past.

I have good enough relationships with my former coworkers that one one of jerks "left to pursue other opportunities" suddenly 2 weeks ago I had 5 separate people email or text me with the "good" news she'd been let go. (This woman was in a position of power and had caused significant harm to my career and cost me financially by screwing up promotions that my managers had put in for me. There was NO love lost. I'm convinced Dilbert's "Catbert" character was based on her.)
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Old 09-06-2014, 11:42 AM   #29
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As a consultant, the free advice conversation is a often problem. This is when you go into selling mode. Say something about how you understand their problem, then Go into how you would be excited to help them out with that, they are happy now. Ask when a good time come into the office and work on it, maybe with a time estimate. They will either balk at idea in which case move on, or they seriously have a problem that they want help with.

Be ready for "whats your rate"
That is all great advice.

If possible, only quote a price for the job. But probably difficult to do when ex-employer is involved, and wants to pay you for just an hour. In that case, make sure you get an agreement for a block of hours to cover the assignment.
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:31 PM   #30
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Jerk or not, business is business. You want something of value? Expect to pay for it. A former employer should not expect to treat you like the village bicycle.
Agree 100%.

Once I walk out that door, I'm no longer an employee, I'm an independent consultant, and I don't work for free.

They want to ask me questions? We'll have to draw up a consulting contract, and they better be prepared for an hourly fee of $500, minimum 40 hours.

I know the place I'm at wouldn't pay it, and that's fine by me. I don't want to deal with work-related items anyway after I walk out.
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:59 PM   #31
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In the un-likely event of the city bringing me back on contract, I would work for a little over my prev. rate, with the city providing all facilities ( office /phone / mileage) and agreement to defend me in perpetuity, for acts/omissions connected with contract employment. Without that , I would not go back at any $ rate.
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:15 PM   #32
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"We do have a few questions, if you don't mind."

"Not at all! Let me fax or e-mail you my consulting contract, and we can get started as soon as you've signed it."

And the conversation ends...
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:28 PM   #33
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In the un-likely event of the city bringing me back on contract, I would work for a little over my prev. rate, with the city providing all facilities ( office /phone / mileage) and agreement to defend me in perpetuity, for acts/omissions connected with contract employment. Without that , I would not go back at any $ rate.
Having done this once, suggest you be sure to gross up your previous rate to cover your share of the FICA as well as any state employment taxes, as well as what they were paying to cover your benefits. As a rough guideline, 25-30% over your actual pay rate.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:12 AM   #34
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Didn't read every post but I don't think it's unexpected to get some previous work related questions when you attend social events at your former work location? A 10 or 15 minute conversation doesn't seem out of the norm. I'd answer future or follow up questions (unless they are of the 10 second answer variety) with a comment that since I'm no longer on the payroll, I don't feel like I should offer any advice or other information.

If you really are interested in becoming a paid consultant, then taking a bit more time to help on this case might be a way to help you get a paid job. I had a few feelers like this when I left my job and it was pretty easy to make it clear that I wasn't interested in any consulting, paid or not and the questions stopped fairly fast.

The original post sounds more like an employee just looking to get some information/help/advice from someone knowledgeable to me and was just taking advantage of the situation.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:11 AM   #35
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Hmmm… If you are no longer an employee, is it even ethical for an existing employee to mention any aspect of a case to you?
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:33 AM   #36
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Hmmm… If you are no longer an employee, is it even ethical for an existing employee to mention any aspect of a case to you?
Wouldn't be from where I w*rked. I'd have to be bonded again, confidiality forms signed etc.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:52 PM   #37
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For me, it would probably depend on that terms that I left the employer.

Did I resign on my own regard or did they ask/push me to leave.


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Old 09-10-2014, 12:27 PM   #38
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If it were me and I was contacted to assist, answer a few ?'s, during the transition of a new employee then I would just be a nice dude and consider it professional courtesy.

Anything else is work and I would no longer be working for them so expecting compensation for my effort is reasonable. They should have offered that when they contacted you. Laughing at the idea is pretty insulting and I would end the conversation.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:56 PM   #39
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If you do want a contract it is good to network and have people owe you favors. If it were me I would offer to give an hour of so of free advice and anything beyond that just say I had other part time work so if they want more time it would have to be for my hourly rate.
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:26 PM   #40
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I got a call recently from a former colleague. Our former client (this goes back more than 5 years now) has refused to pay some more recent invoices because ostensibly he just learned that we didn't do some work we were supposed to do way back then, which is a load of horse hockey. Colleague asked if I would be willing to make a statement to lawyers on the matter. Said client generated a huge amount of stress in my life back then, so I am more than happy to help out for an hour or two. Mostly for revenge, if I'm honest.
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