RE: Working for a subcontractor

Subject: RE: Working for a subcontractor
From: Darren Barefoot <Darren -dot- Barefoot -at- capeclear -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 13:11:24 +0100

To briefly supplement what Ms. Carnall wrote:

All of what Jane has to say also applies to Ireland. In particular,
telecommuting is a rare thing here. Mind you, my company did buy all of the
technical writers laptops, so we do work *from* home every once and a while,
but nobody I know works *at* home fulltime.

This cultural difference was brought home when I recently went hunting for a
desk to put my new home computer on. I probably visited fifteen furniture
stores and only two of them contained anything remotely resembling a
computer desk. I had to visit the Irish equivalent of "Sears" or "Consumers
Distributing" (the latter may have been only a Canadian company, so the
reference may be lost on the majority of apologies) to find any
sort of home office furnishings.

And don't get me started on the poor selection in computer stores here. Or
the rarity of computer stores altogether. I would wager there's 30 pubs for
every computer store in Dublin. Here ends my rant. DB.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jane Carnall [mailto:jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com]
Sent: 06 September 2001 12:21
Subject: RE: Working for a subcontractor


Yes, it does. In the UK, normally, contract employees don't use their own
tools: but particularly in the IT industry, whether you have the technology
at home or not, UK IT companies want you to use *their* tools and *their*
hardware - everyone has to use the same version of the same software, and
they don't want proprietory information saved on someone else's hard disk.
There isn't much of a working-from-home culture, it's very much
presenteeism, or as one contractor I know said "Bums on seats". <g>

But in most companies where I've worked, contractors share in the meetings
and in as many of the non-work social occasions as they want to. The main
difference I've noticed is that contractors don't go through the annual or
biannual "appraisal": a contractor's appraisal is weekly and is based on how
much money they're willing to pay, rather than on check boxes on forms.
Getting to avoid being appraised by check-box is one reason why I would
prefer contract to permanent work.

The extra money, control over my own hours and my own holidays (but more so
in the US than in the UK - US paid holidays are even worse that UK paid
holidays, and UK paid holidays are justabout the worst in Europe), and the
ability to move on, choose and decide is great: the downside is the extra
expenses, paperwork, taxes, etc etc etc and still more etc. Also IME a
departed contractor tends to get blamed for *everything*, whether they could
possibly have been at fault or not!

Jane Carnall


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three and a half days of immersion in the state of the art:
IPCC 01, Oct. 24-27 in Santa Fe.

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