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back to article How IT bosses turned the tables on our cushy consultancy gigs

I think I’ve been through enough economic cycles in my life to say that the nature of employment, at least in the financial-tech industry that I’m most familiar with, has changed fundamentally in the last few years. If you’re a technology worker and your job suddenly seems unusually precarious, that’s because it is: fear of …

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but...

Time passes, industry and commercial pressures change. Corporations follow the $ now more than ever. They all employ the "Do it cheaper elsewhere" mentality. How many times have we read headlines from blue chip stocks that "People are our most valuable asset", but those same people are dropped like a stone when the bottom line is under pressure.

Not saying it's right: far from it....but welcome to the real world.

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Boffin

Re: Sorry if this sounds harsh, but...

Yes, you have a point. But consider the obvious outcome of this process continued for an indefinite period...

Keynes had a point with his multiplier. 75 to 85% of the GDP of most Western Industrial Nations is internally generated (exceptions are Canada and Australia as a result of the extraction industries). If the owners of companies aggressively 'drive out cost', there will be no markets left... and no tax base.

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Re: Sorry if this sounds harsh, but...

So true. I remember having a discussion over offshoring (about 6000 jobs IIRC), planned for a period of 2 years. My point was that whilst 6000 jobs is small in the grander scale of things, it is 6000 of our own customers we would lose and 6000 customers a lot of other businesses would lose. This amount is then multiplied as other companies follow suit and offshore, so we don''t jusy lose our 6k, but X k from Y companies and suddenly the ARPU drops and so does the number of customers. Sure there is an immediate saving, but any true value is very short lived.

I am not against offshoring, I just think there needs to be a sensible approach to looking if it is worth it and that companies should consider the affect on the entire economy because that comes back to bite them in the ass in the medium term (obviously this is after they have collected their bonus for the savings).

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Boffin

Re: Sorry if this sounds harsh, but...

Do it cheaper elsewhere is now showing that it doesn't hold true. That while your dollar per hour per employee may be reduced, the number of employees and the number of hours increases. Also the quality of the work suffers.

The MBA schools and bean counters are now seeing the fruits of their labors. You can get more done with a smaller team of highly paid professionals than you can with the old 'horde' approach.

Even the offshore operations are onshoring a small portion of their work to help land business.

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Re: Sorry if this sounds harsh, but...

Quality often was a mixed bag offshore. Our IT was offshored (at least the call centre jobs) and things changed, Sometimes you would get obviously overqualified agents who genuinely knew a lot and were a better 2nd or 3rd line agent. Then there were the chancers or the relatives of someone at the company. I had one call that was particularly poor, I had requested a file restore from backup (72hr SLA), just under 2 weeks later I was still waiting. Normally I got a brush off or a genuine we have no idea why. This one guy decided to ad lib on the basis that I was obviously a peon and wouldn't know. Apparently the restore took so long because the tapes were located on a mountain top to keep them safe from flooding and the weather was bad (he got this from the company having a large hill and non precious metal related name ;) ) on the mountain. I should point out that beyond submitting a ticket, this agent had no connection whatsoever to our archiving company who I never really had any issues with. Honesty about failure is fine, making up insane bubbles because you have no idea WTF is going on because your uncle got you the job, not good. Our previous contract had local guys n gals, when you called you actually spoke t the person would would visit you. You got a non BS approach and stuff was fixed quickly, motivated in no small way by the fact that they would likely see you again and also they took a pride in their work. There wasn't the anonymity of being based thousands of miles away. That real culpability was worth money but never made it onto the spreadsheets when they worked out how much they would save.

Shareholders and boards need to start focussing on the bigger picture because their short term gains screw themselves and everyone else in the long term.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sorry if this sounds harsh, but...

What? You mean they don't actually keep all my backup tapes on that big metallic mountain?

I want my money back.

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Silver badge

Re: Sorry if this sounds harsh, but...

I know, I was just as shocked! Apparently ferrous hill is just the company name! By all accounts a very reputable company who don't leave DAT tapes where only sheep and fell runners tread.

Being fair I spoke with some truly excellent staff in India, hampered only slightly by the language barrier and more by the physical distance. I think the who you are just a voice on a phone removes context and leads to errors. I called up to have my mailbox size increased and to enquire about the new email archiving system they wanted us to use. End result, they uninstalled ms access (yeah I know, probably a good thing, but its quick and easy) because apparently I didn't need it and they hadn't a clue about the archiving system.

Sufficed to say, the day I found out how to raise my own tickets and escalate them was a happy day indeed. Time to start inshoring!

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Coffee/keyboard

Job requirements

I remember seeing those impossible job requirements spring up. In 2001 and 2002 I was applying for jobs that were requiring at least 5 years experience in Windows 2000!

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WTF?

Re: Job requirements

I finished university in 2002 and this is what I got launched into. I seem to remember that Sun asked politely for all their contractors to leave at the time... I recall the job requirements to be completely insane, but can't remember exactly what :( It was along the same lines though, 5 years experience in xx that had been out for a couple of years at the most. I went for an interview for a council for a low level developer job for a pathetic-but-better-than-nothing-crap-I'll-have-to-live-at-my-parents' wage. I didn't get it. They did give feedback at the end and they were expecting answers worth two or three times the wage they were giving. Only-just-graduate (well, school leaver!) wage, but they were expecting about 6 years of medium-ish scale corporate experience.

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Re: Job requirements

I remember this myself. I left Uni in 2001, and went for pretty much anything that had graduate or junior in the job title only to be told I didnt have enough experience.

I went in the hard way and worked in a call center for a year before finally getting into a job relevant to my degree.

In order to make sure I would find work in the future, I decided to specialise. Thankfully these days people are after my skills, which keeps the wolf from the door.

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Childcatcher

Re: Job requirements

As part of a discussion as to why our senior kids are not picking IT subjects next year (old boring syllabus, horribly slow computers at school big reasons, as well as lack of work/outsourcing) , I made a bet with my Head Teacher last Friday that I would be able to log on to Seek (.com.au) and find at least 1 job for a Windows 8 developer with 2 years W8 apps development experience, given W8 had only been officially released 6 hours before, and officially VS2012 only about 2 weeks before that.

I hope the lotto ticket he bought me wins the $100million tomorrow night :-)

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Re: Job requirements

I had a similar experience in Toronto... in around 2000 I realized that liked working with computers better than the other studies that got me involved, so I went to get some certifications which would hopefully formalize the skills I already had, or so I thought. When applying for jobs, yes, all the advertised positions called for highly unlikely combinations of qualifications and experience.

I applied to a lot of places (that weren't advertising, and some of them with resumes taken in by friends that worked there) and couldn't convince anyone that I wasn't just some typical "MCSE" (Microsoft Certified Solitaire Engineer) idiot, though I had no formal work experience in the field to list and they had no way of knowing I was real. I never even got one interview. Cold and harsh. Oh wait, I had one "email interview"... they started out by telling me I was more than qualified, with all the "if you choose to accept this position" crap to get my guard down, then I just never heard from them again. The cunt didn't even return my follow up emails, he just ignored me. What a coward.

So this article really hit home. I was probably a couple of years too late.

I ended up just moving back to my home town and starting my own computer service, going on site to homes and offices. 11 years has gone by and I won't get rich doing this, but it's better than having to deal with the stuffed shirts.

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Re: Job requirements

still the same in 2010 when i left. for network engineers:

5+ years linux/windows server

5+ years experience

CCNP minimum CCIE preferred

pay: 18k

i sidestepped the whole entry level rubbish (you need experience for this entry level job) and got in a big companys grad scheme but other then that your screwed

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Job requirements

This might also apply to others who claim difficulty in getting interviews...

If you readily demonstrate that you are incapable of communicating using basic English, you are unlikely to impress a recruiter.

In all of the positions I recruit for, one of the essential criteria is "Must have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal". Similarly to most employment above McJob level.

Our on-line application form actually has a text box under each criterion for them to give some evidence they meet such. For this one you would be amazed at how many people write "yes". Just that. A tip: more than a single word is required.

However to claim that you have excellent communication skills on the application form and then your CV and covering letter are devoid of punctuation, have copious errors (many complete with red wiggly lines underneath them) and so on is just wasting your own time. You are not going to get an interview with that kind of rubbish.

Spend half an hour going through it properly, get some advice from a (not brain-dead) friend. Shock horror, you could actually look up the rules for apostrophes or the difference between 'there' and 'their'. Maybe then your application will stand a chance of scoring better than 50 Chinese/Nigerians/Eastern Europeans who can't even get a visa to come and work in the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Job requirements

Try 2 years experience in Lync 2013. You know, the one that hasn't been released yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Job requirements

We had laid-off IT Managers in 2001 or so applying for IT junior posts, We were starting to think that maybe we should pick the ex-military juniors instead as they made better cannon-fodder for our obviously fly-by-night startup company ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Job requirements

I don't mean to worry you or anything, but Eastern Europeans from the EU don't need a visa to work in UK. Unless they are in the special category of "non-citizens" in the country where they are from, and normally UK is the only EU country that requires a visa in that case.

N.B. Non-citizen doesn''t necessarily mean they are from a dfifferent country from what their passport says, it simply means citizenship isn't hereditary or automatic in their home country and is, shall we say, "somewhat ethnically determined". If that reminds you of ZA in the old days or Israel, well...... ;)

However I do have a gripe in that they are usually incapable of working with foreigners in their own home country, sometimes it is codified into legal restrictions (sneaky forms of protectionism, usually against EU norms) and sometimes it is simply just endemic racism and prejudice. Plus, they actually don't care if their economy falls apart, logically, they have nothing to fear in that regard!

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Mushroom

Re: Job requirements

MCSE is a high level qualification that at that time used to require passing about 7 exams. Which were not easy. That's why MCSEs are comparatively rare and get paid a premium...

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Mushroom

Re: Job requirements

Actually Lync 2013 is already RTM. Still 2 years is a bit challenging.

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Re: Job requirements

Unobtainable skillsets are just an end-run around the Visa system. The old "you can't import someone if you can find the skills in the local market". Hence make up skills you'll never find and bring in the low cost foreigner. The 2001-2002 financial market downturn coincided with the big push for outsourcing and importing sub-continental workers on skilled visas.

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Anonymous Coward

The world has indeed changed

In the 2001 recession, survival for me was a trivial matter of being good enough to be one of the people who didn't get made redundant. Fast forward to now and between China muscling in on the type of product I specialise in (really, the Chinese companies we compete with could simply end us, if they noticed us, and we're by no measure little fish) and the fact my job could be moved to an office in India at any time, life is indeed precarious.

The only good news is the market for what I do in general is reasonably buoyant. I'm close to the end customer and most businesses prefer someone local for that.

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Re: The world has indeed changed

Hasn't changed at all, at least not from a business perspective. There are cycles in the economy, and it filters down to just about every walk of life (except the ultra rich, of course).

As an adult, I first ran across this "2001" phenomena in 1975 or so, when I was let-go from the paid summer internship I had at IBM. Later, after a couple degrees & out in the workforce proper, I was laid off from Bigger Blue in 1983. Fortunately, despite the sucky economy I landed a job at DEC. That lasted until I quit, a couple years later (DEC management was obviously running it into the ground). I got a job at NET, and was let go in the late '80s/early '90s mini-recession.

After about a year of "consulting", while looking for a 9-5, I reviewed my financial resources ... and discovered that, while I hadn't actually increased the kitty, I had not lost anything, either. So I went into consulting full time. I haven't looked back. I actually turn down more unsolicited work than I accept work I bid on.

Along the way, I picked up a couple other degrees, including an MBA ... and got a CSCL, because I was sick of over-paying licensed contractors when building data centers. 2001 was actually a good year for me ... The price of my retirement[1] property dropped by roughly half, so we jumped on it.

Luck played a large part in where I am today, but I'm pretty certain that busting my butt and keeping my ear to the ground didn't hurt any.

[1] If you call "retirement" working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, keeping your Wife's horse ranch operational "retirement", that is ;-) ... I'm probably half a decade from disassociating from the IT world entirely, but IT still pays the bills for big-dollar items, without touching my actual retirement stash. I'm not quite 55 years old.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The world has indeed changed

Jake, I've read and enjoyed a lot of your posts of the years. Please let me know if you think that you might need a husband and wife team from the UK. I'm a jack-of-all-trades technology guy, and she does the horses :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The world has indeed changed

How would he let you know? You posted as AC...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The world has indeed changed

He could post a reply here. In fact he could just say 'yes' and see if I were up to the task of tracking him down! In fact, if I am not mistaken El Reg has no PM function, so he would have to reply here whether I were AC or not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How the hell did my reply

Turn into a Monty Python Sketch?

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Re: The world has indeed changed

AC 13:03 wonders: "How would he let you know? You posted as AC..."

Uh ... Let me think. Maybe I might email an ElReg staff member and ask them to pass my email address along to any given AC requesting it? Do you really think that posting "AC" really means you are anonymous? Do you know how TCP/IP works?

@AC 09:10 ... We're good on staff, and have been for over a decade, but ta for the offer ... No, I wouldn't have to post here to get back to you.

@AC18:58 ... Which AC are you, exactly?

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Merely getting old, maybe?

While this may be true for people around the bottom-to-mid-range in terms of skills, experience and qualifications, I really haven't observed that it applies to the top of the line technical people at all. While my inflation adjusted day rates are a maybe 1-2% below where they peaked in 2008, my non-holiday time off between "gigs" is still well within the ~20 year average of about 2 days. The colleagues that I have worked with whom I keep in touch with also report similar observations.

Good, highly qualified and certified people are few and far between and thus hard to find.This ensures they are always in demand that outweighs the supply. If you don't fall into that category the solution isn't to whine about it; update your skill set and learn about the more recent technologies, budget for updating/gaining any applicable certifications (if there are such things in your area of specialization) and work your way to above the curve. Ambition, self-motivation and a positive attitude are virtues that count for an awful lot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Merely getting old, maybe?

Being good has no benefit when the entire IT dept is outsourced to India.

:-(

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@ AC 13:19 Re: Merely getting old, maybe?

Well, AC, you have two choices then:

1. Cry a river and drown in your sorrows

2. Listen to opportunity knocking and do something about it.

I was in your shoes just five years ago under the same auspices. I'm now a freelance consultant as described by the OP and turn away potential clients daily who want my services.

Stop crying, make a plan, and don't regret that you aren't stuck working for someone else.

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Re: @ AC 13:19 Merely getting old, maybe?

Just as Captain Save-a-ho says, it's now more competitive than ever and you need to evolve. Or become extinct.

If it seems harsh that's because working in IT is now harsh.

There was a time in IT where you would leave one high-paying gig for another high-paying gig because one offered a better commute or you simply didn't like your boss (me, circa 1997). Those were the days when demand outweighed talent by a huge margin. The magical time when you didn't have to look for jobs, jobs looked for you and you could dictate both compensation and working conditions (I don't work nights or weekends).

Quality of life has been and ever shall be important to me - 3 things that were essential were health, disposable income and time to enjoy spending said income. The past decade IT was severely cutting into QOL by adversely affecting those 3 things and I begrudgingly decided it was time to end my marriage to this career after maybe two thirds of my life devoted to her. It was a beautiful wedding and honeymoon but lately all we do is argue and fight.

Currently in project management/sales working 8 hour days (not that bullshit 10-hour "Professional Work Day" that has become the norm in IT) and my QOL is back to 1997 levels. For now. As part of my evolution I have learned to embrace volatility and transience, nothing is guaranteed in life and always be prepared to fight for what is yours.

My job doesn't define me, it is a means to an end, nothing more. I could care less if I was juggling bowling pins in a circus - as long as my quality of life is high all is well!

Best of luck to those of you stuck in the rent-a-tech world - you're gonna need it!

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Anonymous Coward

Pain and Suffering

Nicely written article – needed to be said.

I’ve also noticed the high demand for seasoned qualified individuals. The ecosystem was so badly gutted, between the years 2000-2003, that there’s simply nobody left capable of running the “IT” ship – seriously. What’s left is like a car full of IT clowns (minimal experience, training-mostly) with no clue, no vision, and insufficient talent.

Apologies to neophyte sensitivities – I assume this audience has some understanding of the situation.

A few directed comments:

1) “Employers’ obsessive drive to cut costs” (from article)

This lead to a general gutting of IT departments (reference Reg’ on RBS). You just can’t buy talent on the cheep. “Obsessive drive to cut costs” is a tragic, short-sighted mistake.

Though many of us suffer from “obsessive cost-cutting”, it’s time to give up on this manifest “Grail” of your corporate IT career. There is no happiness in the trenches – a soldier simply dies at the next charge – the CFO has your silly career measured and quickly shot-down for cheep by-the-hour pigeons ready and willing to fill your newly vacated position (in the coop) !

2) “Being freelancers, consultants were able to jump between gigs more or less at will”

Just wrong… very, very wrong.

Good talent does NOT “jump between gigs more or less at will”.

Good talent is hired for the job – gets the job done – and moves on. Get your high rate for a couple of months… think of yourself as specialist (though one in high demand).

3) “The requirements lists for open positions” (the long list of skills)

The “long list” is there (for me at least) because most candidates lack basic IT skills. Things once thought as being matter-of-fact know-how are now more/less lost arts. And, the “low-cost” candidates typically cut/paste resume (only) skills. Most good employers know this by now. The hard part is getting past the HR […] screening process.

Also – any shop with a locked-in offshore agreement (e.g. “partnership”) is best avoided – this game is over. Move on.

4) “Which brings me to another problem I faced after my layoff: the stigma of being among the unlucky chosen people”

You poor fucking bastard… I was there – spent several months recovering/getting-over said brainwashing. Yes – I too had that shit-eating perspective. Now there’s just relentless struggle. It was always there in the first place. You were just tucked away in your cozy trench somewhere until the whistle blew and then suddenly it was your turn.

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Boffin

@Joe Drunk... Re: @ AC 13:19 Merely getting old, maybe?

Sorry mate, I am a professional consultant. Been doing this pretty much my whole career.

When you're an independent, you work, you bill. When you're an employee, you're exempt and you end up putting in more hours. Its the nature of the beast.

But as long as you keep updating your skills, doing the research, you will always be employed.

Right now I've got recruiters hitting me every other day. I have to stop them before they pitch by telling them my salary requirements. It knocks most of them out before they can get started.

Trust me. If your skills are always in the top 10% of the industry, you will never go unemployed for long. Except for contractual gardening periods.

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Re: @ AC 13:19 Merely getting old, maybe?

You certainly have a few interesting points to make - but some of us are actually talented at what we do. Dare we say, we have a vocation for our occupation. Maybe some people can just jump from one career to other, as finances require or entice, but others have much more of an emotional and intellectual affinity for what they do. If the only reason one goes to work is just to pay for a mortgage and holidays - sure, your line of thought is fully applicable.

Than again - I don't know if your Quality of Life is that much better as you spend 8 hours of your working day (is that most of your waking time?) doing something just for the money - when plenty of us spend 8 (or more hours) of our days doing something they actually like doing - with some lucky ones even working with people who's company they enjoy. Who has more quality time in their life then?

The equation is not that simple.

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Stop

———> "I am a professional consultant! — Tell me I'm pretty!" <———

I've found that anyone positing himself as an "upper-10% professional consultant" is usually the despised, thinks-he-knows-it-all creep clearly lacking institutional knowledge and brought in by scum management who does not want to pay U.S. full-time benefits and a proper, higher salary over time to a qualified full-time employee: The consultant squats out some "system," collects his check, and the overworked, underpaid, and professional-training-denied I.T. staff gets stuck with the turd he left them.

U.S. companies routinely circumvent full-time-labor law to pull this stunt, and such turd-makers are complicit in the crime. The problem with the U.S. is that sociopaths like Mitt Romney have managed to kill labor unions, so, I.T. workers cannot strike.

That companies who have fired their staff suddenly find the need to pay the "upper 10%" beaucoup bucks to rescue corporate behinds makes the creep think he is even more valuable.

It is about time that full-time I.T. workers kicked "consultants" and management in the balls, and hung these selfish, ruthless bastards with piano wire.

Now, go pedal that rah-rah, skill-set, latest-B.S.-certificate crap to some idiot in the darkest reaches of Africa who might still believe it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ———> "I am a professional consultant! — Tell me I'm pretty!" <———

@Decrapifier:

I can see you are bitter about the situation, but if you are so jelous of the higher headline rates of contractors, you should take up contracting yourself, if you're good enough. Since you're not a contractor, I can only assume that you are not good enough - and if that is the case, I dare say you only have yourself to blame. Do you have any idea how much it costs an employer to hire a member of permanent staff on top of their salary?

I'm a contractor - I make no secret of that - and I utterly despise the sense of entitlement the heavily unionized workforces represent (as does every private sector worker that has ever worked in London during a LU strike). IMO _everyone_ should work as a contractor and pull their weight. Unions are the ones that hold employers to ransom. Contractors, on the other hand, are the most flexible possible workforce for their clients.

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Happy

Re: ———> Anonymous-Coward "Contractor" <———

Dear anonymous-coward "contractor, " you are not worth any rate, with your:

(1) misspelled nonsense that I am "jelous" [sic];

(2) guessing and childish goading about whether or not I am a contractor; and

(3) presumption that I have never hired a full-time U.S. worker or know the costs thereof.

Indeed, it looks like you are "bitter" for being identified for exactly what you are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Merely getting old, maybe?

They outsourced my ENTIRE country branch and gave it to India, then closed the Indian office 1 year later. Should I assume they were doing it just for the LULZ? Or perhaps trying to provoke an international incident, given that they bought and closed a company in both locations? :P

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Boffin

Re: ———> "I am a professional consultant! — Tell me I'm pretty!" <———

@Decrapifier

Sorry mate, but seem to have it wrong.

Yeah there are contractors who can BS, get in and attempt to do the job and then move on... but they aren't the ones in the top tier of the skill pyramid.

No sorry. The top tier folks are the ones who actually spend time after the 8 hour billable day working on R&D and reading about the technology and what's coming down the pike.

Vacation? When you're self employed, Vacation is either time off between projects, or time away from the client at some tech trade show.

After hours is usually spent having dinner or drinks networking with other like minded individuals.

Its funny how you work politics in to this. Unions are for those who don't want to work. And that's coming from a friend who's a member of a trade union because he has to be in order to work. If we look at the auto industry in the US, what's killing a lot of the companies is the fact the high cost of labor and benefits.

I'm sorry you have such a bad attitude. Most of my corporate captured buddies come to me for help in finding their next home and advice about what makes sense in terms of a career change.

Companies tend to bring in higher paid consultants to get the job done right because we actually give a damn. After all, its our names on our company and we sign the contracts.

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Boffin

@Decrapifier Re: ———> Anonymous-Coward "Contractor" <———

I'm not anonymous, but I think the point is that you definitely have a chip on your shoulder.

I know the numbers on both sides of staffing issues. (FTE or contractor/consultant)

I also know that many companies can't attract the quality of staff for a FTE position.

I also know that not everyone can be a consultant.

You seem to not understand that in the IT world, Unions don't work. There's been a guy trying to do this at IBM for the past 10+ years and its gone nowhere. Even as IBM has off shored their work.

LIke I said, contractor not withstanding, if you keep your skills within the top 10% of the industry, you can find a job anywhere.

At a former client. I have watched many of their staff jump to other opportunities for more $$$, better benefits and better challenges. And these were FTE and not contractors.

Just saying...

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———> "I am a professional consultant! — Say NOW I'm pretty!" <———

@Ian Michael Gumby:

You continue with your self-serving presumptions: "No sorry. The top tier [contractors] are the ones who actually spend time after the 8 hour billable day working on R&D and reading about the technology and what's coming down the pike."

That "professional consultant" self-aggrandizement is the typical load of horse manure shoveled: No professional full-time I.T. employee does any of the above, outside of the eight-hour workday. How many of you full-timers (especially, in R&D departments) reading his salesman trash now would like to buy a pair of steel-toed boots (see my initial post)?

As for vacation, of course, contractors are not paid for it: That is the whole point that resonates with scum management: Hire mercenaries to whom benefits will never be paid. The inflated rate more than compensates for the lack of vacation, but, in the U.S., well, good luck finding top-tier health insurance: That is usually where young rubes sold on contract work, if they stay in it long enough, eventually learn the real value of full-time employment, because they cannot even get into such a plan or afford the high premiums and deductibles thereof.

You admit to customary, after-hours dining-and-drinking "networking." Gee how sharp are those post-eight-hour-workday "R&D" hours you claim to spend, with your senses dulled by a full dinner and alcohol? No U.S. corporation of which I am aware conducts its "R&D" from evening to night, after boozing up its staff at dinnertime. Your claim is so full "professional consultancy," I can smell it.

Unions were created to protect workers from scum employers. Corporations and their shills pointing fingers at union abuses should rotate the tips of those fingers back to those corporate faces, which have been responsible for illegally and immorally "driving cost out of" employment: The scum has not gone away, but simply become more clever, by using such games as hiring benefits-eliminated "professional consultants" and claiming that they have, as you pretend, magical skills.

Unless you are a slave-wager in India, China, etc., the cost of your homegrown, overpriced snake-oil show is the next priority. That you serve this scum but are harder to extract from their matrix, than, say, a tax-paying full-timer they canned and replaced with a slum-dweller in Bangalore who costs one cup of truck-stop coffee per hour, should make you ashamed of yourself, not delusionally proud.

So, the "bad attitude" is entirely yours, because, in the non-union U.S. I.T. sector, you are the foolish scab who crosses the line at the dismantled, soon-to-be-closed plant in the deteriorating neighborhood in the corporately pilfered country. The "damn" that you say you give is truly for yourself and no other.

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———> "I am a professional consultant! — I'm pretty! SAY it!" <———

@Ian Michael Gumby:

You state that you "know that many companies can't attract the quality of staff for a FTE position." Of course, after paying absurd amounts to self-proclaimed "upper-10% professional consultants," a company cannot attract anyone with a remaining budget allocated for job offers of crummy wages and benefits.

As for your observation that "not everyone can be a consultant," not everyone can be a ditchdigger, either: Are you trying to remind us of your magical powers again?

Your propaganda that "unions don't work" is hardly sustained by some guy at IBM trying to start one there after all these years of IBM's offshoring, including its selling-out of the U.S. by fire-selling trade secrets and a personal-computer division to China. IBM, like HP, lost its core of long-term, dedicated talent many years ago, after "driving out the cost" of employment.

Your repeated palliative concluding that one may "find a job anywhere" if one maintains "skills within the top 10% of the industry" is cheerleading noise forever vomited by consulting agencies to rubes whose paychecks they seek to dock while keeping them under a mostly worthless umbrella of belonging (crappy health insurance or some other contrived perks, in return for a hefty paycheck margin). At least with a union, the docking is a comparative pittance, and the benefit of keeping an employer from getting away with mistreatment is huge.

Finally, if you saw "at a former client...many of their staff jump to other opportunities for more $$$, better benefits and better challenges" and "these were FTE and not contractors," then, your client was doing EXACTLY what I said, namely, squandering money on an overpriced "upper-10% professional consultant": The budget should have been used to retain employees by nurturing talent within the organization and paying competitive salaries with improved benefits.

Thank you for bringing this right back to my original post's statement of fact and confirming it!

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Re: ———> "I am a professional consultant! — I'm pretty! SAY it!" <———

@Decrapifier: Wow. What exactly is your problem? Where does this union praising unhealthy sense of entitlement of yours stem from? You act like you are pissed off because somebody recently broke it to you that the universe doesn't actually owe you a living because your mere existence, and your narcissism can't handle it.

From your comments, it doesn't sound like you are doing as well as the consultants you so bitterly berate. If your skills and abilities are up to the required standard to give you a moral right to be so judgmental, the sane thing to do would be to go become a consultant yourself. If they aren't, then get over your paranoid narcissism and improve yourself until you are actually competitive. Of course that takes much more effort and focus than pitifully whining about how hard life is, and how it's all everybody's fault but yours.

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Actually; there's a few quid to be had clearing up the results of cheap outsourcing these days.

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@moiety

Sure, but do you really want that work?

You are better off starting from scratch most times...

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Re: @moiety

To be honest, I do tend to go for a scorched-earth policy if the client will stand for it.

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@moiety 14:22

See mine from about two and a half years ago:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/800423

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Anonymous Coward

So what was the point, again?

Walked away from a death-march job with a massive burnout, spent four years on the beach without even the dole. Still haven't recovered, in fact unemployed again. And with an acquired burning hatred for anything recruiter-y or HR-y. You were saying?

So yeah, there's always somebody who's had it worse. That's two pages of article dismissed in a sentence, and now I'm left wondering why I read it in the first place. Was there something else you wanted to say?

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Anonymous Coward

been there, done that, proved i have a bionic liver

While I spent my time on a barstool, and not a beach, this was eerily famliar...except for your rebound. I expect to be making what I was in 2002 again...in 2018.

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Anonymous Coward

What a depressing article...

Nuff said.

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