Re: Hiring Publications Managers

Subject: Re: Hiring Publications Managers
From: Kelley <kwalker2 -at- gte -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2002 11:02:39 -0500

CAVEAT: _I_ actually agree with the man who posted to say that employers shouldn't expect employees to be committed if there weren't any similar obligation on the part of an employer. Why don't we all have contracts, FT or not? EXACTLY. Personally, I don't agree with the contracting approach to this wider social problem, I advocate something different. But that's not the issue at the moment since politics is off-limits.

John Posada wrote:

Kelly...
I think over the two years that you've been reading my posts, you've
understood what was going on.
In 10 years, I've NEVER left a contract prior to its end, except for
one. Even when I knew the end date and had a new one lined up if I'd
leave early, would not do so becuase I made a committment, once at
the expense of having the position with more money withdrawn. There
was one exception where the company was bought, management changed
and changed the rules of how ALL workers were treated (and paid).
They only got three weeks notice.

Old Furrowed Brow Entrepreneurial Capitalist (OFBEC) would probably say: Our clients are in the financial industry. We also write for the public more generally--fiction/non-fiction. We don't write for the SWdev industry, though we do produce some writing/training developing SW as a showcase for our main product. Perhaps we do things differently. A contract is a contract; we've never broken ours either and regularly go above and beyond the call of duty. I don't doubt you stick to the letter of your contract.
</OFBEC>


What I DO do is select gigs where I hope I won't be bored and most
times I've been right...some I was wrong, WAS bored, but stayed to
the end of the committment anyway.

Taking the hat off now. I didn't mean to offend you. I don't see what you said a couple of weeks ago as a bad thing. Lots of people say it about why they prefer contracting. Indeed, you were claiming that the best and the brightest like contracting b/c they get bored or burnt out. Like Bruce, it was a generalized claim about motivations. It was actually more interesting to me that you were making these claims _about_ others, not just yourself. Interesting to me in the sense that I spent five years or so studying the self-identities of workers in different occupations/professions.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with acknowledging this. I would analyze it differently than you do, though.

The one I mentioned where I left
because I was bored, it was only after they asked and I agreed to
have the contract extended 3X for a total of almost 2 years (was
supposed to be 6 months)...each of them I could have left gracefully
but didn't because I made a committment. Oh, BTW..did I mention that
at that gig, I stayed while they layed off 10% of their captives
TWICE, they let my boss go on a Friday afternoon WITH NO NOTICE, and
ALL the captive employees (3)in the department bailed like rats on a
sinking ship, leaving me to work completely on my own for another 4
months?

If you find more of a committmenmt to an employer than this, let me
know. OTOH, maybe you should consider that you've misunderstood
others who would have been excellent candidates.

I don't doubt your willingness to stick to the letter of your contract, even heroically. However, this will be unconvincing to Old Furrowed Brow Capitalist. (See the responses to SQ2.0 as to why)

I'm guessing that you understand what I've been getting at all this time. The answers folks have been giving are generally answers that won't soothe Old Furrowed Brow. Those answers are good for preaching to the choir or for preaching at sinners, but not for OFBEC.

I've been wearing the Old Furrowed Brow Entrepreneurial Capitalist (OFBEC) Hat lately. The question that kicked this off was from a woman who was concerned about someone's seemingly spotty track record. As Bruce said in his response, sounds like you're a Full Timer (paraphrase). He wanted to correct her assumptions.

I actually read Bruce's first response as rather patronizing. More importantly, it was answer crafted for the choir (and later, for the sinner!).

Bruce wanted to show to reasons why contractors do what they do:

The first answer to Paula was what I'll call the 'subject to fate' answer: people with contracting histories do what they do because of market conditions. But Bruce also wanted to give the 'masters of their fate' argument: some contractors take the world by the ***** and do it because they have more autonomy than they might otherwise.

As someone pointed out on SQ2 thread, it's always best to attitribute moves to personal or career reasons. It's not a good idea even to attribute them to the "subject to fate" answer. I think Bruce knew that and that's why he offered his second answer.

I jumped in to point out that it's still not the answer to give, particularly in this job market for an FT position. (but see, caveat above.)

There was another response from Justin. He explained that he took three month contracts because they only jobs that were available were FT jobs at lower pay. He'd refused to settle. Not to blame him for his decision, but this is NOT something you tell an employer who want to hire someone FT! What they hear is: "Oh, you're settling for something less-than your optimal choice..." (A new wrinkle in the brow will manifest itself, to be sure!)

Another response was that contracting was great because you could do both. Oh, the furrow in the brow would grow much deeper! What he CEO hears is: I'm going to leave nyeh, nyeh! (but see caveat above!)

These are responses that are more like sales pitches for why one should be a contractor and why FT work isn't as wonderful as contracting. All well and good, admirable even, but not the answers to give to someone looking for a FTer. They are especially not answers to give b/c all employers want to think they're different--see responses to SQ2.

Almost all the responses from both Bruce and Lisa would read by the CEO as good reasons why he shouldn't hire a contractor. I won't go through them all but the best one was the last. I asked the question as I did because that's exactly what OFBEC thinks: _HE_ laid his financial security on the line. He choose to be an entrepreneur and is well aware of the financial risks. He assumes its the same for you. More importantly, _HE_ believes that he's different from everyone else._HE_ believes that you're going to retire with him and maybe take over the company, especially if he's hiring you to basically run the company. _HE_ is not like all the Big Bad Awful companies you work for. On his view, he will never do all the terrible things those companies did. _HE_ thinks that others, like him, intended the same; those who don't are anomalies. (Which is THE #1 reason why SQ2 is sound advice)

The answer to the financial security question would convince any CEO looking for an FTer that you don't need a FT job, that you're better off contracting!

Back when I did fieldwork with the Career Transition Center, the agency's owner established this "game" as regular practice. Each job seeker had to take on the role of interviewer representing Furrowed Brow. It was a horrifying experience for most of them. Game or not, the hostility later on, when unpacking what went on in the mock interview, could be pretty painful for everyone. What made it worse, perhaps, was that these folks were mostly former upper level managers. They'd done all the hiring before, many years at it. All of a sudden, they were on the other side of the process. All those years they'd managed to think of themselves as making rational decisions; in reality, they were making decisions based on "fit", what "felt right", etc. Imagine how they felt to be out of work for over a year (the avg is a year for managers/pros) and living in a severely depressed part of the country, during the mid-90s when we were in the "jobless recovery" and managers were being axed right and left.

Yes, I agree, it's exactly as someone described it and the reason why she went into contracting to begin with--to get away from the politics. But, again, OFBEC believes he's different.

Kelley


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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Hiring Publications Managers: From: Kelley
Re: Hiring Publications Managers: From: John Posada

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