Re: First time for everything

Subject: Re: First time for everything
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net
Date: Sun, 05 Nov 2006 17:15:04 -0800

James Barrow wrote:

On Sunday, November 05, 2006 12:41 AM, Ned Bedinger said:
James Barrow wrote:

Although I received an application and disclosure form from my current
employer's HR department, and have verbally accepted my manager's offer of
full time, I have procrastinated in sending the application back to HR.
Why? Well, although the compensation that I was offered is good, last
week was the Week of Personality Conflicts. I began to wonder if I really
wanted to work in that environment.
You don't sound like you especially need this job as a career move or skill builder. I'll assume that you could opt out without undue regrets.

Not especially. I've honed my Frame skills, learned how to use Camtasia,
and have gone from "expert" to "guru" with WebWorks. Beyond that, this job
has been much like the others.

At the same time, I received two calls from recruiters regarding job
positions in the same industry. The pay range for both of these positions
are significantly more than what I was offered from my current employer.
Nice timing.

Story of my tech writer life. When I read posts about 'feast or famine' or
'time between contracts', I thank my massive, compact bodies of plasma in
outer space. In 15 years as a teach writer, I have never been out of work
for more than one day.

Wow! My patron from outer space is The Big-Eyed Beans From Venus. Thanks to them, I also have had remarkable runs of plentiful, interesting work. I've taken staff positions along the way, but the industries I hook up with are damnably plastic--they make some acquisitions, rise to major-player status,hire everyone in sight, and provide 401K matching. A couple of years later, they're staging all-hands meetings to tell us that we've been acquired and the HR department will be available to help us find new jobs.

So, you're in cahoots with the most fortunate celebrities who populate the celestial big screen?? That's wicked cool. I may have to consider this at more length.

Can I assume that you're well-qualified in your industry and that your
industry snaps up qualified tech writers?

That's actually a trick question. The industry in question is the
Entertainment industry. It's the same as any other sector or industry
(IMO), but several recruiters have said the same thing: "Once you've worked
in that industry, you're "in".

I've worked in commercial software, telecom, and manufacturing, to name a few, and I see them as doing the same thing you're describing.. My region has giants like Microsoft, Boeing, Cingular, Seimens, The Navy, ...), where contractors are golden if they can land a contract and do a respectable job of delivering the required goods. They'll get contracts over and over. Of course, an ongoing "Hiring Freeze" is often in effect (manufacturing and services stockholders love it), so the contracting picture I see is not so rosy that I anymore go skipping from one contract to the next. I've been happy working more and more for state government, where I get to (finally) work in IT production environments where they're customizing major packages like SAP, or developing software using the latest and greatest methodology. State government processes A LOT of data. Their IT is about as fun as it was in telecom, which is like a 100-ring circus. Fun!
Or are we proceeding on the assumption that these are 'just recruiter
calls' with unknown odds that they'll take you to the next level?

(There's a lightbulb flickering above my head). IT in the Entertainment
industry is a bit more hectic than in other industries that I've worked. If
IT gets a call from an Exec VP requesting a software application, and he
wants it yesterday, IT is expected to turn back time to meet that request.

Ewww. Sorry, that just slipped out. I have a permanent mental image of The Unreasonable Executive gouged into my view of work. When they make trouble, the earth moves, reorgs happen, departments fold their tents and go silently into the night. My career quest has been to find the place where executives, managers, and 'contributors' understand each other very well and take each other seriously. I can feel it in my bones, it must be possible to work in a level-headed organization. If I never hear another mutton-headed developer, manager or (heaven forbid) executive asserting that tech writers are just glorified cosmetologists, it will be too soon. Still, adrenaline junkies do get used to the pressures of IT, don't we :-)
To keep my options open, I authorized the recruiters that called to submit
me to the client companies.
I suppose that some recruiters or their corporate clients wouldn't appreciate you taking this step if you're not more or less interested in an offer. But of course that's the cost of doing business, and you sound like a straight shooter, so as far as I can tell you've still got your integrity.

When I contacted my current recruiter he said that he was completely unaware
that I was offered FTE.

This gets another WOW! Recruiters I have worked with can earn a handsome fee for sending a contractor that gets hired as staff. Last time I was hired from contract, the new boss paid something like the equivalent of 3 or 6-months of the fees they would have paid if I remained on contract to them. I would have thought your recruiter would have been all over the topic of getting you hired. Wowow.
No biggie. When I told him the salary that I had
accepted, he laughed at me (yeah, WTF?). He said that he could have gotten
me more money if I had called him first.

Big hat, no cattle.

Okay, thanks for making me feel
like a boob (notice the subject of this email). This is the first time that
I have been offered full time once my contract was fulfilled.

As an FYI, I have completed the project that I was originally hired for.
That being said, here is Jim's short list of ethical dilemmas questions:
Since the last thing I told my manager before he left to work off-site was
that I accepted his offer of full time, I'm guessing that later refusing
that offer AND submitting my resignation would burn this bridge. Everyone
concur? Disagree?
Nope, but you know better than I how flexible or inflexible your worksite manager is--the fact that you appear a bit worried about it suggests to me that you're working with someone who occupies primarily the serious-minded axis, to whom a deal is a deal, and who might not be happy for you or accepting of your decision, especially when you reveal that your changing fortunes have caused you to rethink your commitment.

My manager is a very serious about work and, as I previously posted, used
the word 'loyalty' several times when discussing FTE.

Is the entertainment industry fraught with espionage & intrigue, and peopled with self-aggrandizing ambitious cut-throats? That's sort of what comes to mind. Loyalties are important, but indoctrination takes time!

I would advise you to leave the truth about your change of mind buried in the sub-subtext when you do this. Your instincts should be telling you the facts that you and your boss need to bridge. It is all virtually self-reconciling: "I was hired to do what I did and now I am done. I've changed my mind about staying and I know why, but I don't intend to elaborate on that, so if there are any issues, you can reach me through my agency, and now I'll be moving on." You get the idea?

That pretty much sums it up.

Although I believe that honesty is the best policy, what the heck am I
going to tell my manager is the reason for declining his offer *and*
resigning? I really don't think it's appropriate to discuss the
personality conflicts I mentioned above (makes me sound like a whiner)
Diplomatic tact is your best bet. I can't offer you better advice unless you are going to reveal something pretty drastic that you've withheld from the discussion so far.

Nope, nothing drastic, although the individual personality conflicts are
interesting (IMHO). When one of the project managers mentioned that my
online tutorial webpage should be 'prettied up', I offered my services to my
manager. The project manager went ballistic, sending several emails stating
that he didn't believe I knew what I was doing and that I was lying. When I
went to discuss this with him, I found him sweating and rocking back and
forth in his office.

Oh, oh oh. What a complete drag. Your first instinct was right--drop them like a hot rock.
What should I tell my current recruiter (since I actually work for him)?
They hear it all the time: "I've found a new opportunity that I want to take." If you're on good terms, they'll want to keep it that way so you'll come work for them again. You're not screwing anyone over, are you?

I don't think so. I have a lunchtime interview with a potential employer
tomorrow and, if they want to hire me, I'll certainly try and give my
current employer two weeks notice.

You mean give your recruiter 2-weeks notice? Did they ask for it?

Believe me when I say that I am fairly able to deal with just about
anybody, but last week was a nightmare. Imagine every
quirky/arrogant/abrasive/obnoxious co-worker you've ever had the
displeasure to work with, and that was what last week was like for me.
OK, now you've done it. One bad week is not much of a reason to bolt
>from a gig where they like your work and you're content with the pay.
Are you saying this co-worker went off on you instead of welcoming you to the club?

Good phrase. The project manager mentioned above has real issues with
class. Status and power and doesn't miss an opportunity to highlight others'
mistakes to our manager. Couple this with his extreme competitiveness, and
it's bad ("Hey Jim, how do you like your new office? I think mine's

Roger. That sort of hotshot energy is perfect for pumping up aggression. Hotshots, I think they are good at getting things done, but I think they would go crazy managing tech writing. Is this guy an ex-NFL lineman or something? Marketing could use him to make sales presentations, maybe. But I can't imagine harnessing it to any good effect in cubie-ville.

Good call, Jim. Jump as soon as you're got your parachute strapped on tight. Happy landing!
Like, they set up a big blaster by your desk at 6 AM (when you do your best
work) and blared "A little bit of Monica in my life, a little bit of ..."
all morning as if you wasn't even there? I had a co-worker who did stuff
like that. Is that the magnitude of the indignity you're talking about?

Hehe..nothing quite that bad. When we first started, lunch was a big thing
- we all ate together as a group. In the last six months, this guy has
drawn some clear lines between permanent employees and contractors. He
believes that these two groups shouldn't co-mingle in the cafeteria. Again,
just annoying

You know, there might be some practical business reason for not assimilating contractors into the regular staff culture. Or it might truly be as extreme as it sounds. Hey that would be a good name for a company: X-Stream. I'm going to google it, no doubt some kid down the coast has had it trademarked for years..
Your comments are appreciated,
Oh sure, I've seen how you handle commitment.

Heh heh. :-)

Subveni, Domine! Habemus aliam felem!
(Lord help us! We have another cat!)
--Ned "Not a cat person."

LOL! Would you like one or two for the weekend?

Are they up to the law of the jungle? I have a manx attack cat, strictly for security, it has never been petted :->.

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RE: First time for everything: From: James Barrow

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