It is important to realize, when working in the Empire, that your connection to your employer is defined strictly by your contract. There are rarely benefits attached to it (the tax system does not advantage providing them, and the locals almost all prefer additional fungible money), nor are there specific laws governing working hours or other working conditions. (Despite this caution, the latter are almost universally excellent; Imperial businesses have operated on the basis of the need to optimize the productivity of a highly skilled and formerly sharply limited labor pool for a very long time.) It is entirely up to you to manage how much you want to work in any given period, when and how much vacation time you wish to take (by not taking contracts, or if you are on a time-bounded contract, by negotiating for what you consider a reasonable “duty cycle”), and what other conditions you are prepared to accept. In almost all cases, all these conditions are negotiable, much more so than you are probably used to.
Likewise, while Initiatives may have suggestions for and even be willing to sponsor certain training – in exchange for contract considerations on your part – your professional development is also entirely in your hands. If you intend to have a career of any length, you will need to put aside money and time for ongoing education, training, and downloadable skillsets to keep up with the current state of the art.
In short, you must learn to manage yourself.
Another consideration you must pay attention to is the requirements of a given contract where tools and facilities are concerned. Some contracts require you to use the Initiative’s facilities and equipment, or facilities and equipment contracted-in by them; some require you to use your own, or facilities and equipment you have contracted for the use of; yet others permit either, at your choice. This is something you must pay attention to in particular, since the remuneration you are looking for obviously will differ in each case.
You should also make sure that your tort insurance covers the work you intend to perform. (In addition to professional indemnity cover, your tort insurance should also cover you for health -emergency-and-third-party breaches; if you are, for whatever reason, unable to perform as your contract requires, your counterparty will seek to recover the costs incurred by that default, or of hiring your temporary or permanent replacement, from you or your insurer.) Typical tort insurance covers both professional indemnity and breach cover for most non-specialized professions, but tort insurance purchased as part of a travel insurance package may not, and specialized professions may require additional cover. You should check the precise details of your coverage before accepting any contract.
As a final note, please be aware of the nature of the Empire’s job market. You will be competing in a job market which is largely occupied by highly educated transsophonts accustomed to using intelligence-enhancing biomods and implants, gnostic overlays, mnemonetic skill downloads and other such technologies to enhance their competitive advantage. This is half of the equation that produces the Empire’s infamous quality standards and intolerance for anything less than the absolute best at all times.
The other half is the near obsessive-compulsive dedication which Imperials manage to bring to their work. Don’t be misled by their relaxed attitudes outside work, or by the generally short working week which most of them work on; while at work, everything changes, and they have no patience with short-cuts, sloppiness, or failure to keep up.
If you aren’t fully prepared to do what you have to to succeed in that environment, which may well include brain surgery, psychedesign, and many other items from the transophontist menu, don’t go. It will just be a very expensive way to fail.
– Working in the Worlds, Kernuaz Alliés