The Loyalty Game: Contracting and the Lies We Are Told

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.

Riddle Me This

A man is walking on a black road, wearing all black: A black cloak, hat, mask, shoes, gloves and pants. All the street lights are switched off and there is no moon in the sky. A black car with its headlights switched off approaches at a high speed and slams on the brakes to avoid hitting the man in the street. How did the driver of the black car know of the man in the street?

ANSWER: It’s the middle of the day

The Representatives Aren’t Representing: The Positive is Too Negative

masquerade mask

 

There’s a show on MTV I watch called Catfish.

“A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”(Urban Dictionary)

The premise of the show is the hosts of Catfish Nev Schulman and Max Joseph ( I feel Nev is the host and Max is the co-host) travel to different places to speak to those that want to find out who they are really talking to on the other end of the screen (computer or phone screen). After listening to their stories, Nev and Max set out to find the truth and bring that truth to the requester.

This one particular episode I was watching had Girl 1 speaking to Girl 2 via text (they met on a social media site prior) and Girl 1 was falling for Girl 2. Nev and Max usually travel alone, but this time they brought along another person named Selita. After they visited Girl 1 the three of them (Nev, Max and Selita) went to a cafe to do some research on Girl 2 and found, as always, that Girl 2 wasn’t who said claimed to be. Selita said something that stuck with me throughout the show and long after which was, “People bring their representatives the first three months” meaning people will present themselves as one person when you first meet them and are getting to know them and then the true self eventually comes out. Some remain the same and others become Mr. Hyde. Well not that drastic, but you get my point.

I began marinating on this a few days after the show and began thinking back on the people I have known and people I’m in the process of getting to know. I think the three month deal also depends on how much time you spend with the person and where you know the person. Three months could turn into years if you don’t spend that much time with them (co-workers for instance) or three months could turn in to three minutes if you are around them often. But in today’s age of social media, three months can turn in to eternity because people represent themselves totally different via Facebook and Twitter. I find Facebook to be the real culprit in false bravados being presented than Twitter but it could be because those I follow on Twitter I don’t have as “friends” on Facebook and vice versa.

I used to comment a lot on posts on Facebook (most comments weren’t to kind) and decided to stop because I didn’t want to be perceived as being a negative person. I limit my comments to certain posts and to a certain number of words and when I do post, its usually something I am re-sharing or re-tweeting and they are usually pictures or stories of animals being rescued or funny posts. I try to post funny things, because that is the true me – to a point. I don’t complain about things and I don’t try to come off like the world and life is grand and I’m the most positive person in the world, yet there a few on Facebook that do that all the time.

There are those that want to post positive (or sappy) comments about their life or their beliefs ALL THE TIME and it makes me wonder who are they trying to convince, me or themselves that they are these positive people and you can always take the frown and turn it upside down? Too much positive is like too much rich frosting – eventually its going to make you sick.

Then there are those who provide nothing but negative posts. I quickly unfollow them for as with all the positive, and I use the word extremely lightly, I don’t care to see negative posts all the time.

I came across and article today on LinkedIn (which is what got me motivated to write this blog I’ve had in my head for about a week now) whose title is “Stop Being So Nice & Start Being More Real” by Eric J. Romero

People are obsessed with happiness and “positive thinking”. They want to be happy all the time and often delude themselves into thinking that “its all good”, even when it’s not. They somehow believe that labeling things as positive can make them positive. However, just thinking that everything is wonderful does not make it so. That’s not being positive, it’s being delusional!

I strong believe in the above statement. No one can positive all the time just as no one can be negative all the time…well wait a minute, yeah there are those that can be negative all the time for this is their motivation for living. But I digress.

People do need to be more real – especially in the social media age. If I am constantly reading positive posts by someone I automatically think this person is so full crap and are lying to themselves…delusional!

Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time” or as I like to call them, red flags. But how long will it be before the Representatives decide their work is done and its time for them to leave? Who will emerge from behind the mask? Will it still be the same person or someone we end up not liking? What if the real person is much better than the Representative they sent?

I like to think people are their true selves upon meeting them but we all know that’s not the case most of the time and this when the Representatives are not representing.

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” HawthorneThe Scarlet Letter

 

 

 

From This to This = The Zoo is Not Fun for the Animals

 

I went to my first Zoo about mid 2000’s and hated it. I found the animals beautiful but found the environment to which they were subjected to to be disgusting and inhumane.

One of the images that still sticks with me to this day and probably will for the rest of my life, is when we entered the area where the gorilla’s stay. I remember seeing this one gorilla sitting against a tree with his arms folded looking extremely bored and a bit sad. The other gorillas were sitting around elsewhere in the pen with the same look and disposition on their faces. I felt very sorry for them and wanted to free them.

The areas in which these animals are confined is not right. As the saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig. So, these zoo people can put grass and hay and place water in areas, but the fact remains the same; these animals are confined to small areas that resemble nothing to what they are used to ore should be living in.

Now a perfectly healthy Giraffe has been killed at a Zoo in Copenhagen: http://world.time.com/2014/02/09/marius-giraffe-copenhagen-zoo/

I will never visit another zoo as long as I live.

 

Bored gorillas. I feel for you!

 

Nothing Is Worse Than Having Something Haunt You

I’m sitting here today, Saturday 1 Feb 2014, watching the American Idol auditions on my DVR and I wish American Idol had an older age category. The age limit for the show is 27, I believe. Well I am way past 27, but I’m starting to realize that, although not young, I’m not out.

I recorded two CD’s (2001 and 2007) and that’s where it ended because my mind was not in the right place as far as making it in the music industry. I was shooting in the wrong direction and that direction was the making big bucks, touring, making big bucks and making big bucks. I have since come to realize that I don’t want to make the big bucks, I just want to get paid to make music.

I put my guitar and keyboard down about two or three years ago thinking I didn’t have a chance to make a living with my music. I picked up the guitar last year and tried a bit but got discouraged. I actually discouraged myself. It wasn’t until I was watching Mob Wives on 23 January 2014 (yeah that Mob Wives on VH1) that I realized that giving up on music and calling it quits is not something I should do. How did Mob Wives make me realize that? Glad you asked.

There’s a character on the show (and yes she’s a character) named Drita D’avanzo who has ventured into the rap world. She has rapped with Lil Kim on stage and recently, has recorded with Method Man, who is one of Drita’s top five all time favorite rappers. Drita was at home trying to write lyrics for a track to which her and Method Man would be singing on. Drita’s oldest daughter comes in the room and Drita has her listen to the track. Down the line, Drita begins talking to her daughter about following your dreams and to never give up because it will always be “in the back of your head and I wish I did that’. Then Drita said the following (talking to the camera now) that has stuck with me and plays over and over in my mind, “You can’t just give up. Nothing is worse than having something haunt you and say why didn’t you do it.”  That whole line keeps repeating in my head, but its“something haunt you and say why didn’t you do it” that really sticks out.

As mentioned, I’m watching American Idol on DVR and this particular audition has a lot of people playing the guitar and singing. Most are singing someone else’s songs and some are singing their own creations. Hearing them play and sing just brings Drita’s quote to the front of my face with Paramount lights wrapped around it.

My dream is to have my music in movies and documentaries…mainly documentaries because I am a huge documentary fan.I just have to make that happen.

Thank you Drita for that quote which reminded me of what my real purpose on this earth is.

Cheers!