RE: Agency warning signs

Subject: RE: Agency warning signs
From: Brent -dot- Jones -at- Level3 -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 09:50:38 -0700

Ken Wasden wrote on Monday, January 15, 2001 9:02 AM:

[deletia--MODIS IT]

> My question... can anyone out there offer some feedback on their
> experience(s) with MODIS? One thing I'm concerned about...
> I'm told that my
> salary won't fluctuate everytime I begin a new contract -
> I'll still receive
> the same base salary. However, if a job comes in at a much
> higher rate,
> then there may likely be some kind of change.

My opinion is, if you want salary, vacation, and health insurance from your
employer, then work directly for a company rather than contracting through
an agency. If you want great money, and are willing to go to the trouble of
arranging your own benefits, then contract. My experience with contract
agencies that offer benefits is that you get the worst of both
worlds--mediocre pay and mediocre benefits.

I've been contracting for 12 years, and I think the main benefit of
contracting is a high dollar rate, not the ability to change jobs a couple
of times a year. Every ancillary 'benefit' a contracting shop offers its
employees adds to the overall overhead needed to pay and manage those
benefits, and eats into your weekly check. I prefer working with a shop that
takes a little something off the top to process my payroll and justify their
'access' to the job pipeline, and gives the rest to me. I find that I can
arrange my own insurance, training, vacation, etc. much more effectively
(and cheaply) than they can.

Plus, I generally find that when a contracting shop tries to offer benefits,
they're cut-rate. Insurance with ultra-high deductibles and no dental,
limited vacation that doesn't kick in until you've been with them a couple
of years, lame CBT on their website lauded as real training, etc. Most
contracting shops just aren't big enough to offer the kind of premium
benefit packages you get with 'real' employers.

Also, I can't imagine working on contract and not having my salary directly
tied to my current contract's billing rate. Even if the new contract is only
$5 per hour more, that adds up quickly and I can't see any reason on earth
why your paycheck shouldn't reflect it. Your situation also sounds kind of
vague--who decides how much of a higher rate on a new contract justifies a
bump in your salary? MODIS? Maybe I'm being cynical, but don't hold your
breath waiting. Do they disclose the billing rate of new contracts to you? I
doubt it--most agencies don't. So how will you know if the new contract is
more? It sounds to me like you're waiting in the dark, relying on their
largesse. I'd rather count on my own largesse.


Brent Jones
brent -dot- jones -at- level3 -dot- com
"In the Kingdom of Boredom, I wear the royal sweatpants."
--Mark Leyner, _My Cousin My Gastroenterologist_

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