I’ve been a IT contractor since 2013 working in various environments and businesses, from well known businesses, mostly, to lesser known businesses and one thing I’ve learned is there is a thing called The Loyalty Game. I didn’t realize this existed until I was speaking to a representative of mine and was explaining an experience I had at a contracting job I was at for almost a year; between September 2013 and August 2014.
Working at various businesses and environments you start to get a feel of what works best for you. I’ve worked in large corporate companies, supporting over 5K employees to smaller companies, supporting up to 300 employees. I find I like the large corporate environment much better. The other good thing about doing contract work is if you get bored with a job or place you can ask to be reassigned. I have never done that for I felt it would look bad on me and placing me again might not be on the top of the agencies priority list. I have always completed my assignments and move on.
I was working at a well known company as a Client Support Representative. Basically a Help Desk Support person. They liked to use fancy titles to make themselves seem better than what they really are. This wasn’t titled as a Contract to Hire position but it was sold to me as being that. The only difference is instead of them hiring me on after a certain amount of time (although they could and they did for other contractors), after about three to six months, if a job became available in the IT department then I could apply for it. During my time with the company a position never became available but we, me and the other contractors there, were told that they, upper management, were working on some job requisitions and if we continue doing a good job, we will get hired on. We were being told this about six months into my contract there (side note: the contract was 4 months to a year with the possibility of going longer than a year).
The “keep doing a good job and you’ll get hired on” speech was a constant one being told to us contractors. Eventually, the people I started out with soon left or were dismissed of their duties. They were the lucky ones. I hung in there believing what they were saying. I had convinced myself that I wasn’t going to find a better place to work for or have a better chance of getting hired on as a tech due to skills at that time.
I worked my behind off at this place. There were times I was there early. Staying late was not an option for two reasons: 1. My commute in was over a hour (45 minutes on the commuter train, 10 mins waiting for the shuttle and 20 mins drive to and from the commuter train station) and 2. I didn’t want to miss the shuttle going back to the train station in the evening for the last one ran at 6 pm and getting home between 6:30 pm and 7 pm after a long day and long commute as it is was not leaving much time for a life. However, during the time I was there I gave my all. I asked questions. I took on projects and even asked for projects. My knowledge base and know how was to a point that I knew enough to train/assist the new contractors who arrived between June and August of 2014.
They (I keep saying they because it was management doing this, but one person would deliver the lie) began having one on ones with everyone (contractors and permanents) and when I was in my one on ones I was told the lie in there as well. The lie became a weekly thing and these were lies told to my face, eye to eye.
The faithful day came in which after a month or so of the new manager getting the IT department to where she wanted it I was let go. I wasn’t let go because the job ended (well, it ended it for me) and I wasn’t let go because there wasn’t enough work for me. I was let go because I fell into their trap; I did what they wanted and was kept there until their plan was complete. I played The Loyalty Game. Because I thought they were being loyal to me, I continued to be loyal to them. I bought into the lie.
I didn’t have a hard time finding work after that. The skills I built from my previous job got me a job within three weeks of being relieved of my duties. I will forever be grateful for my time at XYZ Company for I took a number of things with me which I have applied to other contract jobs (I acquired one that last three months and the company I work for now I started out as a Contract to Hire position – I got hired on)
What I took with me: I took bitterness with me to my next job, including the one I got hired on to. I took the knowledge that I will not give my all at my next contract job and I didn’t. I took positive things said to me by management with a grain of salt. I reveled in the kind words at the time told to me but quickly dismissed them. I took all of these with me for I wasn’t going to get caught up in The Loyalty Game again.
It’s been eight months since I have been gone from XYZ Company and I still hold a little bit of bitterness towards how I was treated on my last day, which I didn’t know was my last day until I was sitting at one of my favorite restaurants about to have a good meal when I got the infamous call.
They say hindsight is 20/20 but looking back I didn’t see the obvious signs that one would see that things are not going to go in their favor. Instead, I created new warning signs, the main one being, if your current employer tells you what a great job you are doing and pats you on the back, run in the opposite direction. Update your resume, apply for jobs and reach out to your recruiter right away. Try to find an end date to your contract and prepare to move on. I am not saying this is the case with everyone, but it is the case with me.
My current job was a contract to hire in which I got hired on. I came in here with the same attitude but felt different here. My current job didn’t treat me like a red headed, freckled face, one armed foster child. When I walked in the door I didn’t feel like I wan’t part of the crew (I’m not a fan of the word team). I was given the same accesses as the permanent help desk folks. I, did however, ask a lot of questions and learned a great deal in my three months here and am still learning being four months in and one month as a FTE (full-time employee). Compliments were given to me by my recruiter which I was more apt to believe than if they came from someone here. This is not a reflection of the company, but this is how I react to things now. Mind you, it doesn’t take much to traumatize me to where I change the way I do things, and my experience at XYZ Company is a good example.
As a friend of mine said, “If it wasn’t for XYZ you wouldn’t be where you are now, so it served it’s purpose.” Yes, it did serve it’s purpose in more ways than one way.
For any darkness I go through I am grateful. For the light I see I am grateful. There’s a lesson in both the darkness and the light, but in the dark you can see things more clearly than you can in the light.