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Month: April 2008

Contracting: Introduction

As I’m in the process of leaving full time permanent employment to become an outcast (also known as an IT Contractor), I thought I’d jot down important information/costs/stages as blog entries for anybody else thinking of taking the giant leap into the unknown in the future.

I’ll say from this point, this “series” (of unknown length), will be based on own personal experience and as I’m writing this (and as I’ll write more posts), I won’t know if these experiences lead to positive outcomes making me millions and billions of pounds (mwahaha!) or if they are brain-dumbing stupid decisions which lead to me becoming homeless. Nothing in these posts (or in this blog generally) is intended to act as legal and/or financial advice of any sort. It’s your responsibility to do your own research and take responsibility for your own actions – if in doubt, consult an accountant or solicitor who you are paying for to act for you and provide you with advice!

Work: Recruitment Companies – did you know…

Were you aware that some of the largest IT recruitment companies such as Computer Futures, Huxley Associates, Progressive (all three of which have recently received my CV and details of my contracting abilities: and if you are interested, let me know!) and Pathway (and 8 others) are all part of the same company SThree? I’ve suspected it for a while, but only now just thought I’ll spend the few minutes looking into it.

It appears Sthree also operate The IT Job and is the same company that found two strangers enjoying “relations” on one of their desks at Christmas!

It’s amazing what you can turn up with a quick search – and if their CV submission systems didn’t have the same placeholder text for the “contractor opt out” section, I might not have looked as much as I did.

Work: Woot – I’ve been incorporated!

Through UK Plc , I’ve just setup my very own Limited Company. After nearly 11 years of “slightly trading” and being partially self-employed, I am now a director of Beebware Ltd which is a private limited registered company under the Companies Act 1985 in England and Wales.

I will soon start to offer PHP, Perl, PostgreSQL, and MySQL web development services – along with cPanel/Linux/Apache server administration services through Beebware Ltd (once the site has been redesigned): but if you’ve got anything that needs doing soon, please feel free to contact me!

Funny: 60 Things I Am Not Allowed To Do At Work

Whilst searching for something slightly related, I found (via the almighty power of Google – bow down in its presence!), I found I_Am_Xenon’s 60 Things I Am Not Allowed To Do At Work including such gems as:

6. ‘That’s what you think,’ is not a suitable tactic when attempting to de-escalate an angry customer.

7. I am not permitted to answer calls in any language except English.

8. Especially not one that I just made up.

9. No one wants to know why I brought duct tape to work.

15. When the managers foul up, they are not honor-bound to commit seppuku (Japanese ritual suicide, a la ‘The Last Samurai’), and I should not insist that they do so.

16. The security checkpoint is not a storm trooper roadblock, therefore it is inappropriate to perform ‘Jedi mind tricks’ on them.

18. It is not right to play into the paranoid fantasies of customers that their wireless phone is being ‘tapped’.

21. Customers are not required to answer a ‘skill testing question’ before I assist them.

24. Quoting Dr Seuss should be kept to a bare minimum when assisting customers.

25. Same with ‘Full Metal Jacket’.

26. Combinations of 24 and 25 are just way out.

27. There are no rewards points awarded for bargaining customers into signing away their immortal souls, and I should not negotiate towards this goal.

31. When a customer is so impressed with my knowledge and abilities that they offer to hire me away from my current job, the correct answer is not, “Can you get me a work visa?”

43. “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” is not to be celebrated on the production floor.

44. Even if it only LOOKS like a live grenade, I can’t use it as a paperweight.

49. Not allowed to invent my own sarcastically upbeat or off-the-wall theme days. (Especially not a “Clothing-Optional Day”.)

50. Our call center does not have a mascot. If it did, it would not be a weasel, tapeworm, malarial parasite, Portuguese man-of-war, slime mold, or dung beetle.

52. When they insist that I ‘express empathy’ towards the customer in circumstances of misfortune, they don’t mean while processing payments. (ie “I would like to pay my bill.” “I’m so sorry to hear that.”)

Those are the ones that got the largest laughs from me!