Author Topic: Career Ending "Move" ?  (Read 837 times)

joeb

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Career Ending "Move" ?
« on: April 07, 2015, 03:26:10 am »
As most might determine, I've had a really, really difficult last few years in this business.
Fraud and abuse have been rampant...and I've been on the receiving end of it for the most part.
After all of the discussions, I don't think anyone should be surprised by this reality.

My current gig, which started in Feb is just a perfect depiction of the state of the IT consulting business:
I was contacted by a small consulting company/agency from New Jersey. After a phone interview and in-person interview, I really didn't think I had qualified.
They were looking for a data analyst with extensive SPSS statistics experience as well as Business Intelligence and warehousing experience.
After the interview, I told the agency that what they were looking for was really more than I could offer.
Nonetheless, 2 weeks later I got a call saying I got the gig.

What happened next was telling.
The C-to-C contract was initially written with an hourly rate. The IT Director who interviewed and hired me then insisted at the last minute that this contract be on a PER DIEM basis.
I didn't think twice about it and agreed without retort (boy, that was dumb !!!).

So when I am 2 weeks into the new gig/project, I determined the following:
1) the project had failed twice before resulting in the firing of the two prior IT directors.
2) all of the other 3 consultants on the project were engaged at a much higher rate on an hourly basis
3) significant overtime would be required to complete several phases of the project

After this revelation, I got angry and could see the IT director was out to "dupe" me...and thus the per diem vs. the per hourly rate.
First I complained to the agency. All they said is "Why don't you quit ?". That was brazen I thought.
Then it became apparent, the agency was in-cahouts with the IT director. Were "kick-backs" involved I wondered ?

So what did I do ?
I got friendly with the founder of the company, a company which he started over 30 years ago from scratch that is now pulling in $200 million in revenue annually.
Then I documented everything and presented it to him yesterday.

He called me into his office and first words out of his mouth: "I am concerned about the reputation of my business".
Indeed. After further discussion, more facts came out: He did not hire that IT director, his CEO did.
He in fact said he would have NOT hired that guy for that position......cold, callused, impersonal....all of these traits have surfaced since my arrival at this company.
During the first 2 weeks, the IT director didn't even talk to me...never came to my cubical to ask how I was doing.
Essentially, the IT director treated me like a slave....and especially with that last minute contract change.

The owner treated me like a genuine human being and he and I discussed that if I retaliated here, I could lose the contract.
I thought about it for 2 seconds....and said yes, please take this further and discuss this matter with the CEO....I risk that loss and find other work.
Although he was a bit surprised by my response, he agreed.

So here I am....awaiting my fate.
If anyone on this forum thinks this is unusual, this is TYPICAL in this industry now. Dealing with agencies is a huge, huge problem.
Dealing with abusive IT directors and managers.....it's just so commonplace.
They are NOT on our side...at all....despite all of the money they make from our efforts.
There are no regulations pertaining to the operation of these agencies and in fact they get away with murder.

So everyone will be asking ? What are you going to do ? What can you do ? I am  helpless, right ?

WRONG. If I lose this gig, all of the details of my experience is going into the public blog I will be starting.

unix

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2015, 05:55:10 am »
Thanks for posting, it is enlightening.

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I D Shukhov

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2015, 05:58:09 am »
A disclaimer:  I'm now semi-retired, meaning I'm trying to figure out how to earn an income doing something other than what I've always done, which is/was mostly C++ software development, but mostly maintenance, on big government contracts.

I spent *a lot* of my time hating almost everyone and everything:  managers, offensive co-workers, the code archaeology and reverse engineering I had to do under pressure.  I'm now 2.5 years out from that world.  I worry about money, but the feeling of being exploited doesn't hold me in its grasp like it did when I was actively engaged.

I'd say be clear about how much money you need and if you really do need the money, then keep marketing -- i.e. keep trying to find a decent place to work.  One mistake I made was to stop marketing after I got a job that I knew was tolerable at best and hateful at worst.

I think if I had just followed the steps in What Color Is Your Parachute  on an *on-going* basis:  i.e. kept iterating through the steps and really worked at it, year-in and year-out I would have had a much better career.

BTW, I don't think you are in a career-ending situation.   I've known people who have gotten repeatedly fired and are still working in the field.  The reason must be that their resume and past experience show that they can do the work an employer needs done.






The Gorn

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2015, 07:30:44 am »
With respect, Joeb, how could things be any worse for you career wise? All you talk about is the high stress you're under. You have technical skills, those skills have a certain market value, and you're certainly not wired into any network that grants you good paying work with little effort. I honestly don't see how a political fight inside one business will make or break you. I didn't even have the focus to read your account. Much simpler drama gets misinterpreted and discarded in real life.

I think the biggest ongoing mistake you make is being someone else's temp employee. After all of these years in the industry, you don't, can't or won't find your own projects? You don't have the business, life and negotiation skills to find your own gigs?

The most miserable people on this board consistently accept the victim hood of working through agencies and they never, ever grow as professionals. Which for an independent professional person means learning some business and deal making skills.

I know the jobs are all locked up. I hear that all the time. I lived OK in Ohio, a complete IT dead spot, for 15+ years never working through an agency, and nobody thinks I have any business skills.

I never earned enough to make me rich but I am not a broken man like you.

Temps are always treated like shit. And an IT professional working through an agency is a temp, just as surely as a 9-$10/hr factory worker going through Labor Ready for work is a temp.

Christ almighty, change something in your work life already. I'm not posting this to humiliate you or diss you but to say that you're not fixing something within your power to change.
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joeb

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2015, 11:04:32 am »
Gorn - As usual, you are right, and yes I just keep thinking things will change with a new gig, a different company, or a different agency.
But guess what ? THEY DON'T !!

And yes, I am planning on my escape out of this miserable business...as soon as I build up enough cash.
If, and only if this gig continues for a few more months, I'll be "good to go".

The Gorn

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2015, 12:07:48 pm »
...yes I just keep thinking things will change with a new gig, a different company, or a different agency.
But guess what ? THEY DON'T !!

And yes, I am planning on my escape out of this miserable business...as soon as I build up enough cash.
If, and only if this gig continues for a few more months, I'll be "good to go".

I just wonder how long you've been telling yourself that - hold out a little longer and you'll turn a corner.

About the comments about changing things. I actually meant NO BROKERS or a different technology niche. The bolded is exactly what I absolutely didn't mean,  and which I am saying are the things that are making you miserable. The bolded passage is your rearranging of the Titanic's deck chairs.

NO BROKERS. I mean, it's a pretty simple concept. And I did it for years.
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pxsant

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2015, 02:13:44 pm »
You made some mistakes in your dealings with agencies.

I assume your C2C arrangement is with the agency and not the end client.   NEVER, NEVER do a C2C deal with an agency, especially a small agency from NJ.  The only reason they want that deal is because you become nothing but an invoice which they can ignore for a long time.  As a W2 to the agency, they have no choice but to pay you on time.  As a C2C to a small agency  you are guaranteed to get screwed - it is only a question of when and how bad.

When I go direct to SMB corporations, I do C2C arrangements, never through agencies.  I insist on COD payments, i.e. the invoice is due on presentation and I stand there until they hand me a check - no excuses.  I have never been burned on a C2C contract with a direct client.

Large corporations will not allow C2C arrangements between agencies and consultants.   They insist that the consultant be a W2 employee of the agency.  Obviously the small corporation where you have the gig is not experienced enough to understand the issues or problems with C2C agency deals.

How did the IT manager interject himself into the deal and demand per diem?   Are you not paid (some day) by the agency who then bills the end client or is this some other kind of a deal?  The more I read your post, the more this sounds like some kind of screwball inside out deal.

Just curious but have you been paid yet?

I think it may be time to cut your losses and move on.

The Gorn

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2015, 02:49:38 pm »
Just curious but have you been paid yet?

I think it may be time to cut your losses and move on.

An exasperated aside... totally agree Pxsant... I'm not talking about you, now ---

Why do techs ALWAYS, without f*cking fail, have the WORST business, negotiation and life skills, with almost no exception?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 03:00:28 pm by The Gorn »
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unix

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2015, 02:50:19 am »

The most miserable people on this board consistently accept the victim hood of working through agencies and they never, ever grow as professionals. Which for an independent professional person means learning some business and deal making skills.

I know the jobs are all locked up. I hear that all the time. I lived OK in Ohio, a complete IT dead spot, for 15+ years never working through an agency, and nobody thinks I have any business skills.

I never earned enough to make me rich but I am not a broken man like you.


The most miserable people on this board, who might that be? Hm. What an elliptical reference.

You are usually right, but I have to call BS on this one. First, anecdotal data - I had an independent gig with no agency. It was essentially all of the same drama. In fact, it was worse than a borked contract. With a rate that wasn't that great. Independent gigs are nowhere near that consulting Nirvana that we seek. It's basically the same excrement piled in a different dish. I billed the client, made over 10K/month.. had to deal with envious co-workers who tried to sink and badmouth me. It's a lot of work and non-stop marketing. In the end, *all*  of the existing political issues remain.

Give the guy a break - a lot of this stuff happens completely outside of our control. It's not like we purposefully seek a "career-ending move".

Independent work in a smaller dot-com startup is a political hornest's nest. You have to be extremely good at navigating these waters on top of being technically excellent and a jack of all trades.

With all due respect, I think you have become disconnected from the state of IT.  Right now the most viable tactic is, take any gig you can, to stay afloat.

It's not his fault. Some people are doing 100% of their best. Misery is optional.






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The Gorn

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2015, 07:14:14 am »
The most miserable people on this board, who might that be? Hm. What an elliptical reference.

You are usually right, but I have to call BS on this one. First, anecdotal data - I had an independent gig with no agency. It was essentially all of the same drama. In fact, it was worse than a borked contract. With a rate that wasn't that great. Independent gigs are nowhere near that consulting Nirvana that we seek. It's basically the same excrement piled in a different dish. I billed the client, made over 10K/month.. had to deal with envious co-workers who tried to sink and badmouth me. It's a lot of work and non-stop marketing. In the end, *all*  of the existing political issues remain.

Give the guy a break - a lot of this stuff happens completely outside of our control. It's not like we purposefully seek a "career-ending move".

Independent work in a smaller dot-com startup is a political hornest's nest. You have to be extremely good at navigating these waters on top of being technically excellent and a jack of all trades.

With all due respect, I think you have become disconnected from the state of IT.  Right now the most viable tactic is, take any gig you can, to stay afloat.

It's not his fault. Some people are doing 100% of their best. Misery is optional.

I stand by my comments. You're not happy. Joeb is not happy. And taking anything on anyone's terms is a way to live?

I used to post about freelancing and entrepreneurship here but it's gotten little traction.

Pxsant pointed out that Joeb will probably get screwed, after all of that emotional drama and angst.

I have a platform to say that most IT people have zero life, career and business skills. Why: I have never gone through 1/10 what people talk about in terms of horror stories. So it sounds like a pattern, in both cases. And I am pretty ignorant about all three: life, career and business.

No skills is implied by things like "no intuition" - Joeb took a C2C contract through an out of state brokerage. Intuition tells me that I'd get screwed so it's better to not move on it.

My worst past contract is better than almost any story I hear from you guys.

I pointed out that Joeb's current predicament is NOT career ending. For this reason: does Joeb seem to reap the slightest benefit from his past reputation? He hasn't exactly been "up". What, really, will bring him "down"?

Career nirvana? Srsly? I never said that. I'm not living a dream now, either. But I'm not broken.

Fuck's sake, any business in IT is HARD. Direct contracts at least put you more in the driver's seat. How you negotiate and handle things is completely up to you.

Once more...  Being over 40 + Borks + Neediness like a crack addict for his needle to have reliable hourly billing + being a pushover with any anonymous asshole who wants to say they have you a "contract" == recipe for unhappiness and disaster.
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joeb

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2015, 12:16:43 pm »
Guys - great discussion all.
Yes, I do have a couple of DIRECT (no broker) clients, but they only give me a month or two of work each year.
Yes, Brokers rarely go for C-To-C arrangements so in that regard I am lucky to get one right now and yes, they did pay me the first month.

On my last W2 gigs, I was living hand-to-mouth....wow, those withholding taxes after bills, alimony, child support, legal bills, healthcare bills, dental bills....
ARE A KILLER !!!
I think I was netting like $30 per day.

choppedwood

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2015, 02:10:53 pm »
To sum up Gorn,

There is no joy in Mudville.

The Gorn

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2015, 02:46:06 pm »
Chin up, Joeb. We're pulling for you. Not that you can do a whole hell of a lot with that...  :(

OK, I get the reason for C2C with brokers now. It's to avoid garnishments. Sounds like you have things taken care of best that you can.
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unix

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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2015, 03:35:44 pm »
I am not sure Joeb needs career advice. Maybe he just wants empathy and to commiserate.

Nothing wrong with that.  You should listen to people. Been there, done that.

I am convinced, no matter what you do, you cannot find Nirvana in this field.  Not even sure it's worth any significant investment.
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Re: Career Ending "Move" ?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2015, 04:05:09 pm »
I said I now understood, once he explained it, why he did C2C with a typical lying untrustworthy fly by night bork. He has specific reasons that make perfect sense.

Sorry if I bring my baggage to the discussion. But if I didn't say anything, the responses would generally be the "you can't fight city hall" stuff.
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