Getting the Sack
By Paranoid Pete.
IT Contractors and the Sack
As IT contractors, we have the perception that like football managers we are only one step away from the sack.
I‘m not talking about companies invoking the four weeks notice clause, which, sadly, is getting more and more prevalent these days. I mean the full ‘˜escorted from the premises‘ situation or in more common parlance, the ‘˜earhole job‘.
However, when I thought over my fifteen or so years in this glorious profession, I can only remember six freelancers who got the bullet. All were for different reasons. Let‘s examine them.
Case A was a chap from Prague. He liked to play chess after work in the office. Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say.
There is if you claim overtime for it. He was subsequently and predictably known as ‘The Bouncing Czech‘.
Case B was someone who thought it wasn‘t necessary to come in to work every day. I think he‘s right but I still turn up anyway. He reckoned that as he wasn‘t paid for the time absent, it wasn‘t a problem.
The team leader, who was at least a budding Napoleon if not Hitler, thought otherwise, as it made a nonsense of his carefully worked plans.
End of contractor!
Case C was very strange.
As often happens, in his first week he was asked to sit at a desk with a different project team to that which he would be working with. In this case, you usually exchange pleasantries but there is not much interaction.
However, he managed to annoy this whole team in that week. He then complained about the heat in the office (it was December) and refused to go along with the dress code of collar and tie.
Next he announced that he didn‘t like the rush hour and henceforth would be working from noon until 8 p.m.
The final straw came when the manager thought that he tried to run her over, one evening in the car park. The irony was that he was supposed to be above average in the work he did.
With Case D, I had some involvement.
I had had an interview with a software house but turned it down. Two months later, I decided to contact them to see if they had anything going.
The upshot was that the person (D) who was taken on after I turned the job down, was sacked and I was his replacement. I felt a bit bad about it, but I was assured that as he had been so abusive towards the client, he would have gone anyway even though technically he was very good. I felt better when my first invoice was paid.
Case E‘s situation was straightforward enough.
He took extensive smoke breaks and said that he had completed his tasks satisfactorily.
When his work was inspected, it was seen that he had barely started these tasks. He got argumentative when this was politely pointed out to him and the rest, as they say, was geography.
F‘s case wasn‘t complex either.
He had pictures of goats on his PC, which showed them doing a bit more than straining at the end of a rope. Even then, I felt sure the company wanted to get rid of him as he was an oddball. This also sent a warning shot to the other workers about what they kept on their hard drives.
The only common factor is that none of these people were fired for mere incompetence.
What‘s also striking is that six is a small number out of at least a couple of hundred contractors that I‘ve worked with. It shows that maybe you shouldn‘t worry quite so much when you start a new job as long as you have the right attitude.