Drink and Contracting
To contract is to drink.
A friend of mine – let us call him The Wise One, passes advice on contracting to me from time to time. One of his favourite saying is that ‘Writing programs is only a quarter of what being a contractor is about. You need to know much more’.
Anyway, he is always amazed when a new contractor joins the company, is invited to the pub on Friday lunchtime and refuses to go.
Advantages of Drink
He listed the advantages as follows –
1. It‘s obvious that it‘s much better to work in an environment where you consider your colleagues to be friends.
2. 80 per cent of the time in the pub is spent discussing other people in the office. Practically all of that will be uncomplimentary. Therefore if you‘re there, they’ll spare you this treatment. Resist the urge to join in the criticism, though.
3. You‘ll socialise with managers and team leaders. This will keep you in the forefront when it comes to other vacancies in the company. However, don‘t brown nose too much. People don‘t like crawlers.
4. You‘ll find out what really goes on in the organisation.
5. If you buy the DBA a beer (let‘s face it, most DBA‘s are grumpy so and so‘s), he or she is much more likely to help you out with that database backup or whatever.
6. Perhaps the most important reason is this. Your chances of renewal are much higher if your manager considers you a friend. In my experience there is little to choose between most contractors and things like this tip the balance.
Bear In Mind
Some points to bear in mind. First of all, DON‘T DRINK AND DRIVE. It may be boring sipping mineral water while everyone else is downing pints but it‘s better than losing your licence or worse.
Secondly, the last thing you want to get is a reputation as a tight git. People will remember this about you once you‘ve left, rather than your technical proficiency.
A good rule of thumb is to buy 50 per cent more than you consume e.g. if you drink £10 worth, buy £15. You may feel like a waiter to the permies but so what.
Don‘t get involved in any unpleasantness. Don‘t go drinking on any lunchtime except Friday. Also, don‘t do important work on a Friday afternoon. Keep your documentation to do then.
After work drinking is fine. Don‘t imbibe too much if you can help it. It‘s ok to leave if you want.
If all this seems like too much indulgence, take things easy on Saturday and Sunday.
As ‘The Wise One‘ says, ‘Don‘t ruin your weekends with a hangover. Get p*ssed during the week.’