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> There doesn't seem to be any formal protocol or standard for job
> seeking. I've found the experience exhausting. It makes me want to
> continue as a contractor only, because at least if I can get the job
> done, I'm in, whereas to be accepted to a company as a salaried worker
> has meant dealing with the most capricious elements of corporate
Amen to that! Unfortunately, that attitude is found across many job
categories in the computer industry. Compounding that, your observations
about salaries varying widely from locale to locale is also correct.
Having now been in the sometimes-not-so-enviable position for several
years of the one who makes budget decisions and hires/doesn't hire, I
can also attest to the fact that the best laid plans for hiring
sometimes have to be put on a back burner when some client doesn't pay
his bills, or when a contract suddenly goes sour, or when earnings
aren't what they need to be. Or, for that matter, when a candidate
materializes who possesses qualifications for a job that didn't exist up
to interview time, but who also could solve the problem the original job
was supposed to handle but in a different job configuration. This, of
course, doesn't make life easy for the person who was also in
competition for the original job.
One of the standard, old-line reasons for hiring permanent employees is
to keep the skills your company needs. With more and more companies
realizing the value of hiring contractors, the contractors themselves
are finding they have to have these skills anyway, and the companies are
generally coming to realize they really *can* find these skills on the
open market, if they're willing to pay for them.
When a company won't pay the going market rate for a worker, that says
something about the company's understanding of the market in general,
possibly including the market for its products/services. I'd tend to
stay away from a company so short-sighted, partly because there are
other opportunities at market rates, and partly because a company with
that kind of vision isn't likely to succeed.