Here's the ending, and thank you for your patience getting to this part. This is my favourite entry, where I answer some of the questions people have asked, and some that may be floating around too. After this bit, if you're still pining for information on my transition, feel free to ask. I'm an open book, and happy about what has happened.
Right off the bat, I should mention that I made the decision I made entirely without any knowledge of what was about to be in the media about layoffs at my previous company (which haven't happened, as far as I know). When a company is as under the microscope as that company is, having their name in the media is kind of a given, and only 1/10 of the time it ends up being based on facts. I heard the news when everyone else did, and my move had already been made.
That being said - living under the cloud of "Your company isn't doing well" wasn't fun, and it contributed abstractly to my overall decision. The only concrete reason I left was because of the new opportunity.
To start this new gig, I was given the option to become incorporated (which most contract workers do), or to become a sole proprietor. I did the latter, because it meant a bit of a safety net if things turn sour. Part of my pay will be given to EI, and if I become redundant before my contract ends (June 2013), I can collect it while I get my next contract in line. I got to choose a company name (Positive I.T.), and that's kind of the end of it. Unless things change a lot, the entire purpose of this company will be for me to work for the current client. Although the idea of contract work is exciting, it's more of a backup to my Plan A of getting to work for this client full time. 88% of the people in my department started as contract workers, and are now working full time, so I'd like to keep up the statistic.
It's been a rollercoaster of a 2 weeks, with more good than bad. The bad parts have been more boring than anything, and I don't think there will be much of that. I've gone from not knowing anything about what I was doing, to knowing more than the people who I was looking to for guidance. I went from making work for myself by colour coding spreadsheets, to not having enough time to eat. It's been great. That being said, there are cons so far, which are:
1 - I don't like telling people "it's not my job", but I have to a lot.
2 - I work for a month before I see my first pay day.
The pros far outweigh them. I'm working with great people, I'm working awesome hours (Mon-Fri 8:30-5, no overtime, no on-call), when I leave work I leave work (no work email on my BlackBerry), and there's a LOT of flexibility. In my previous gig, there was no flexibility, but I thought that was a fine thing. Now, there's nothing but flexibility. I make my own schedule, and as long as my work gets done, no one bats an eye. Awesome.
Thanks for sticking through my blathering. Now back to... more blathering? :)