Re: FWD: Advice on contract vs. captive

Subject: Re: FWD: Advice on contract vs. captive
From: George Mena <George -dot- Mena -at- ESSTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 1998 21:45:22 -0700

Leonard Porello asks a good question when he asks this of us:

Also be aware that you may be earning less than half of what the agency
gets for your labor. How do you feel about that?

For myself, I feel just fine about that. I feel fine about it because
it means the agency is marketing my skills, my abilities and my
professionalism on my behalf, something that I think most of us do a
mediocre job of at best. Let's face it: most of the time, meeting new
people can be a real bitch. A job search is constantly fraught with
rejection. Even in a best-case scenario, there's always an awkward
moment between two people sooner or later. Why shouldn't I let the
agencies handle that on my behalf? They know the people I need to know.

One of the things I need to do is remind myself that I have to write
down who I interviewed with for what position and to enter that into a
database of some kind. Why? Because nobody's going to do it for me,
and if I want to know where I should be looking for my next paycheck,
I'd better be taking notes! The recruiters have already fought that
battle with the employers and made peace and friendship with the HR
folks and the hiring managers. Besides, I've got my own ongoing issues
to deal with, such as keeping my database of contacts and companies
current. Staying on top when it comes to identifying the hidden job
market is a full-time job in and of itself.

If the agencies charge $68/hr for my services and I get hired on at
$30/hr, so what? Because I'm working at a company the agency knew was
in the market to hire good help, they get to pay their rent, their
clerical support people and still make enough to keep the business
going. They worked for me when I needed to get back to work, so now I'm
working for them. That's an entirely honorable and equitable situation.
And I don't have to worry about office politics. That's a client
company's internal problem between their employees. I'm there to do a
job. When it's done, I'm gone.

I think where we all are these days -- whether we're staffers or
contractor types -- is in Ramblin' Mode. No sooner do we start a new
job, either contract or staff, when we start to see what the place is
really like. Frequently, we don't like what we see, so we start
thinking there's got to be a better game somewhere else, greener grass,
that sort of thing.

And there is. Problem is, it's still the same old grass -- and it's
usually not smokeable (that's a joke, folks), even though it does feel
good to lay down on it during the summer. :D The way I cope with the
itch is to obey it and always look around, especially when I'm on a
contract assignment as I am now. I call it keeping my options open by
taking the time off and going on the interview. Why? It's fun. And
who knows? I might click with the hiring interviewer better than I had
with the folks I report to now. Besides, as long as the work gets done,
nobody cares where you go around here. :D

When I got here, I was told this was a four week contract. Assuming
I'll be here next month (which I think I will be), I'll mark my one year
(!) anniversary as a contractor here. :D During the first couple of
months, I would always go on interviews because I had no idea when my
time here would end. In a very real sense, I HAD to always look around!
And while I still do, I've now stopped worrying about it. Why? I was
looking for work when I got here. I'll be looking again when I leave.
:D And you know what? It doesn't matter if you're a staff TW or a
contractor: this philosophy applies to all of us, regardless of our

As for the moving around being good for the TW career, I'd have to say
yes. These days, staying in one industry or with one employer seems to
me to be on the rare side. My 17 years have been pretty much an even
split between staff and contract work, with staff work having only a
slight edge. When people ask me which I prefer, I tell them I don't
care, because I really don't; I just want to work. :D And I've been
fortunate enough to work in six different industries, some more than one
time only. And that's really where I'm at. :D

I'm truly amazed at how many hiring managers just don't understand that
simple concept. It doesn't have to be an "either-or" situation, and I
refuse to accept arguments to the contrary on the subject. Not
everything in life is black and white, something we "learn here on the
terrain", as Janis Joplin once said at Monterey. There are not only
shades of grey, there's a virtually limitless rainbow of colors; at
least 16.7 million if you want to use VGA color palette terms. ; )

I've found that by moving around, I've been able to upgrade my skills
set. Until four years ago, I didn't know anything about Photoshop,
Robohelp or AutoCAD. Now I do, though I do have to get more time in on
RoboHelp. For me, that means buying it myself (probably from David
Knopf here on the list) and upgrading my 486 to a Pentium-level machine.
I'll get around to it, I suppose. Right after I learn how to program in
C and Visual Basic, buy a secondhand SparcStation (they're finally out
there!), lose 100 pounds, start saving more money, paying off all my
bills and all the rest of that crap. :D

After I do all that, then I'll think about saving the world -- or not.

George Mena

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Porrello, Leonard [SMTP:leonard -dot- porrello -at- COMPAQ -dot- COM]
> Sent: Friday, September 04, 1998 2:24 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: FWD: Advice on contract vs. captive
> There is also the issue of training. As a sub-contractor, the
> companies to
> which the agency sends you are not going to want to fork out the dough
> for
> you to get training. How willing to pay for training is the agency for
> which
> you'll work? And by "pay" for I mean both pay you a wage and give you
> the
> time, say a week in Chicago for example? Also be aware that you may be
> earning less than half of what the agency gets for your labor. How do
> you
> feel about that?
[George Mena] snip

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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