Once again, being an employee or a consultant?

This is a response to Jim McGovern “s blog titled “Are you a consultant ” . Just for the reference, Jim is employed as an enterprise architect by a major insurance firm. In the past, we “ve co-authored a book together, and I can assure you that he definitely knows what “s happening in the real enterprise world and his insights are often interesting and thought provocative.

Working as an employee or a consultant is an interesting subject and I “m planning to cover it in details in my upcoming book “This life of an enterprise programmer “. But in this blog, I “ll just take Jim “s observations about consultants and will try to see how they apply to employees. I “ll keep quotes from Jim “s blog about consultants in italics.

You work very odd hours. It ‘s difficult to maintain a relationship or a family. You are paid a lot of money to keep your client happy. You are paid well but your pimp gets most of the money. You spend a majority of your time in a hotel room.

You work very odd hours without being paid for all these endless evenings you spent in the office to keep your manager happy. You salary is OK, but you “ve been brain washed that your total compensation package is twice as big, because you are getting extra perks like 401K plan with no or minimum contribution from your employer, free car wash, laundry on premises, gym that you do not use and discounted tickets to the Broadway shows that you do not like. You spend majority of your time at work.

You charge by the hour but your time can be extended for the right price. You are not proud of what you do. Creating fantasies for your clients is rewarded. You have no job satisfaction. If a client beats you up, the pimp just sends you to another client. People ask you, “What do you do? ” and you can ‘t explain it.

You do not charge by the hour, hence it “s assumed that your time does not worth anything. By the way, Joe, can you join the meeting at 6AM tomorrow so our offshore partners won ‘t need to stay late? If you do not like what you are doing, you are pretty much stuck, cause even if in theory you can ask for a transfer within the same organization, you “d better plan to spent the rest of your employment with your current manager. Your only hope is that your manager will get a raise and will be transferred somewhere else. But will the new manager be better?

Your client pays for your hotel room plus your hourly rate. Your client always wants to know how much you charge and what they get for the money.

Your manager knows exactly how much you make, and wants to make sure that he gets as much as possible for the money. He also knows that one can “t get blood from a stone, but given your modest salary, he can live with it.

You know the pimp is charging more than you are worth but if the client is foolish enough to pay it ‘s not your problem. When you leave to go see a client, you look great, but return looking like hell (compare your appearance on Monday AM to Friday PM).

You believe that you are underpaid and it bothers you all the time. You do not think that it “s fair to work your ass off as you do day in and day out. Compare your appearance on Monday AM and Friday PM. Actually, you may get a call on a weekend too.

You are rated on your “performance ” in an excruciating ordeal. Even though you get paid the big bucks, it ‘s the client who walks away smiling. The client always thinks your “cut ” of your billing rate is higher than it actually is, and in turn, expects miracles from you.

You are rated based on the stupid rules invented by someone in the HR department. All year you are earning points for good behavior. The highest points are earned if you fill and submit your timesheets with detailed description of your work on time. If your group will actively participate in one of the firm-wide social initiatives, they “ll allow you to come on Wednesday wearing jeans. Your manager does not expect miracles from you, but is pleasantly surprised when you deliver one. Hint: save your miracles till October/November when the raise and promotion decisions will be made.

When you deduct your “take ” from your billing rate, you constantly wonder if you could get a better deal with another pimp. Everyday you wake up and tell yourself, “I ‘m not going to be doing this stuff the rest of my life. ”

When they deduct your taxes from your gross income, you constantly wonder if you could get a better deal with another employer. Once in a while a crazy thought strikes you, “May be I should try to become a consultant myself? rdquo; But then you arrive to your comfy cube, see all familiar faces hellip; and then say to yourself, “No big deal. I have only 15 years to my retirement. If I control my emotions and maintain good relations with my boss, I “ll spend these years without major cataclysms.

So, are you a consultant or a prostitute?

I “m not going to ask you this question. You know the answer: we all are prostitutes to some degree.


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