Beware of the worst types of employers that you may face.
Those that make it clear from the start that there is a 'caste system', with the management at the top, the permanent employees next, with the contractors being the 'untouchables'.
Those that say "I could never work just for money the way you guys do". Most companies and managers forget that contractors need to be motivated too. They don't work for money on a day-to-day basis. They take the job for money, just like the permanent employees. Managers are usually the biggest de-motivators of contractors, especially when they say things like, "You shouldn't need to be motivated when you earn the money you do".
Those that keep a beady eye on the people that work for them, to make sure that everyone is working every minute of every day. It increases the stress on workers who already have deadlines. Everyone needs to have a mental break every so often to be fully effective, so why should they have to hide this from their dumb employer?
Those that ban contractors from any benefits, e.g. using the Sports & Social Club facilities, the Staff Canteen, or attending the Christmas Party. If they allow them to go to the Christmas Party, they charge them the full whack, making it clear that they resent the money that they are paying the contractors, when in fact they are paying no more or no less than market rates.
The serial sackers - those that get a buzz from sacking a contractor every so often to prove their toughness. It has to be for a reasonably minor offence such as reading a newspaper five minutes after lunchtime ends, and it must be done 'on the spot' to encourage the others. The contractor is escorted off the site in order for the serial sacker to obtain full satisfaction, so that he doesn't need to do again it for a while.
Those that complain loudly about contractors leaving at five o'clock. He or she is, of course, unwilling to pay any overtime. Everybody wants something for nothing. You never meet any who let you leave early regularly when there is not enough work to do, and who still pay you your full rate for it. If they don't think it is worth paying for your time, they can't consider it that important, and you shouldn't either.
Those that tell you that your rate, as with that of the other contractors, will be cut by 10% from Monday, otherwise you will be out of a job. You could just imagine what would happen in boom times if contractors said that they would be, en masse, leaving their crucial project on Monday unless their rates were increased by 10% all round. You could imagine the weeping and gnashing of teeth if that happened. Even worse are the employers who have a second bite of the cherry and cut rates again by 10% just a few months after they previously cut them.
Gerry McLaughlin has fulfilled every role in Software Development from Trainee Programmer through Systems and Business Analysis, Project Leader and Manager, Systems Manager and Chief Information Officer with a department of 80 people.
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