part of the team….

I know perfectly well that being a consultant, particularly in the IT industry, has its pluses and minuses.  For me the pluses heavily outweigh the minuses so I’ve kept on this path for twenty years now.  My own choice, no one elses.
The contractor – contractee relationship has changed drastically over the past twenty years, thanx in large part to the Corporate Litigation industry, and in particular Microsoft who, during its rocket growth years, hired consultants to help them bring their products to market.  Once MS started skyrocketing, the consultants banded together to sue for a piece of the company, something every employee was given as a reward for the company’s success.  The consultants won their case.  As a result, most major corporate attorneys convinced every corporate board of directors that they too could be subject to a contractor lawsuit and that specific interactions with consultants should stopped, particularly in relation to recognition, term of employment and employee functions.
Thus the situation at the corporate oligarchy at which I (and hundreds of others) consult can be baffling and demoralizing.
Here’s my way of thinking…
terms of employment – consultants here are limited to a continuous two-year contract term.  at the end of the contract, the contractor must be let go and not be re-contracted for a minimum of one year.  Then the two year clock starts ticking again.  Even if this makes sense in dollars the damages in productivity loss are staggering, given ramp-up and re-training costs.
Baffling – The Microsoft situation is not going to happen for the company for which I contract.  Microsoft experienced unheard of growth during the period in question.  While my company will grow, triple digit growth just is not going to happen.  Part of being a consultant is an understanding that I will not take part in profit-sharing/annual bonuses, etc.  So what are these execs afraid of?  Give me a waiver to sign that states I won’t sue for profits.  I have no trouble with that.
Demoralizing – the big employee pizza-lunch was held today.  Consultants are not invited to these types of events.  Fine.  I knew that going in, but giving me a slice of pizza with my peers won’t bring down the house.  Oh but wait, I can get a slice…once the lunch is over and the picked through left-overs are laid out for all comers.  Just the type of thing any prole would cherish….

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4 Comments

Filed under business, legal, technology, work

4 responses to “part of the team….

  1. now that’s the way to build trust and loyalty. you have a skill i lack so i’m gonna begrudgingly enter into a relationship based on the fear that you might sue me if i do too well. so since i’m afraid of that how can i motivate you to give me your best? go sit over there while we have fun but hey, here is some cold, leftover pizza no one else wanted. gees louise. please explain what the pluses are that outweigh being treated like that?

  2. wow… that is eighteen different kinds of cold.

    I don’t know how you do it coops. I don’t think I could work like that.

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