Recruiters, capitalism, etc.

Subject: Recruiters, capitalism, etc.
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 17:13:18 -0800 (PST)

This is a juicy debate - been waiting for one of these. However, I suspect
we're right at the edge of Technical Writing issue. So I'll try to keep this on

William Lewis <wmlewis -at- attictech -dot- com> said:
> Contrary to what our religious leaders have
> so convincingly been telling us, capitalism DOES NOT improve the lives of
> people; people demanding a piece of the action improve their own lives!

Capitalism works and that is why we have it. Look how absolutely wonderfully
other systems work: socialism, fascism, etc. How would you like to be a
scientist in Russia these days? Boy did that system work like a charm.

Capitalism is simple - you either play the game or the game plays you. You can
see the universe as trying exploit you or you can see how you can work the

This directly applies to recruiters and jobs - you can whine about how
employers don't pay you enough and subsequently wind up getting played. Or you
can cultivate skills that make you valuable and play the system.

You can either open up your brain and protect yourself from the evils of the
world (such as unethical recruiters), or you can become a victim and whine how
the universe didn't protect you. Boo hoo - how do you think the Gazelles feel
when the lions attack? Sucks to be them.

Be a lion, not a gazelle.

And if you are a gazelle, don't ask me to become one. Just because you want to
be in the heard doesn't mean I have to be as well. That smacks of a form of mob
tyrrany. "Don't work harder you'll get us all in trouble." Flip that. I'm
working for ME!

Secondly, one of the overwhelming reasons these systems remain in place is
because MOST of the time they reward ingenious, hard-working, individuals who
are willing to sacrifice time and energy for work. If you are not willing to
work hard and sacrifice - then go be a gazelle and be happy. Us lions have work
to do. Go make $30K a year and live happy. Us lions are going to go after the
big money!

> Jo Francis Byrd wrote "There is a contracting firm here in Dallas notorious
> among contractors..." Jo, if the firm is so notorious, why don't you help us
> out and tell us who it is? Who and what are you protecting and why?

Because this person could be sued for doing so. Slandering a company in public
is grounds to sue. There is NO way to prove or disprove the person's claim
that this company is "notorious". For all we Know, this person was 1 of 9
million who had a bad experience. The other 8,999.999 people all love this
company. A single TECHWR-L poster is not objective and therefore cannot render
an objective statement of fact. It could be argued in a court of law that the
poster used the Internet to disseminate false information about a company thus
hurting their business. It is not fair for one disgruntled person to destroy a
company because they have a problem with it. We have courts and laws regarding
these issues.

> Thank you Lisa Miller for informing us about "multiple-resume submissions,"
> how these are problematic for client companies and agencies. I've contracted
> on and off since 1991, and I wonder why, if this is such a big issue, that
> no recruiter has found a way to explain this to me. Perhaps it's THEIR
> culture of secrecy and competition that keeps recruiters from talking to us.

Recruiters sell a product - candidates for jobs. Recruiters locate and screen
candidates for job opportunities. They are providing a service to job seekers
and employers by matching good people with jobs.

Is it smart to sell a product to a company that already has that product? No,
makes you look foolish. For example, would it make sense to call up a Microsoft
executive and try to sell him/her a copy of Windows NT?

Therefore, it makes a recruiter look bad to sell candidates the company already
has. That is the reason. They are merely trying to sell a person to a place
that has not already seen them.

> Finally (if anyone has bothered with my tirade this far), what I wish for is
> a kind of New Deal--where we don't have this antagonistic, competitive
> contracting environment. It is possible. Something close exists with two
> agencies in my area. If the writer takes charge of FINDING their OWN work
> (should be easy these days, and we can probably do it quicker than waiting
> on the sidelines while the recruiters run around town like Keystone Kops!),
> the agency handles the W-2 paperwork, never takes more than $5 per billable
> hour, and all three parties, particularly the writer, come out ahead.
> Perhaps best of all, you don't have to sign over your rights to do business
> with the client company (YOUR client!). Nothing is done in
> secret--everyone's cards are on the table. This works for the agency because
> it doesn't invest in a big sales overhead. One or two people run the office
> and their primary expense--payroll accounting--is outsourced!

Some places do this - but not all people want to look for their own jobs. One
of the services recruiters can provide is access to companies that simply will
not speak with independents. For example, here in Portland, Intel simply will
not hire independent consultants. You can call them night and day but they will
not hire you. You could be the second coming of Christ here to bring them the
plans for the Pentium 9000, but they don't care. You MUST go through an agency
to get a contract job. Like it or lump it.

Corporations makes the rules for working for them and you either follow those
rules - or you don't work there. Thank you, drive through.

Furthermore, the instant you remove competition from a free market you lose
incentive to excel. Without incentive, people get lazy, inefficient, and
produce low quality work. Why would I ever work hard to produce quality
documentation if nobody cared and there was no threat to my livelihood? Why
would I even do my job? I would much rather eat cookies all day and have sex.

There MUST be competition for there to be progress.

Competition is the root of all living systems in the universe. To say we need a
"less competitive environment" is the same as saying "we need to cherish the
lazy, ineffective, and weak."

Now, we're at the edge of a huge political, social, and philosophical debate
that really has no place on a tech writer board.

What I will say, is this: tech writing is a skill. It is a skill in demand.
Now, you can leverage your skills and experience and get a good job or you can
bitch how the world doesn't give you what you think you're worth. Merely
EXISTING does not grant you the right to money, power, fame, and security. We
all have to work for a living.

Lastly, as I said before, if you do not want the services of a recruiter -
DON'T USE THEM. When a recruiting company calls you for a job, tell them you
are not interested. Tell them you want to find work on your own. You cannot use
the services of a company and not pay for them - that is STEALING! If you have
a mechanic fix your car, you have to pay him for his/her work. When a real
estate agent finds you a house - you have to pay him/her a commission.

Well, when a recruiter finds you a job, you have to pay. In this case it is
usually merely information. I think telling recruiters where you are
interviewing is a pretty small price to pay for a good job.

Andrew Plato

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