Before I moved to Oregon, I had my own small IT consulting business in California. I have been self-employed for most of my adult life. The truth is I like to wear a bunch of hats, and self-employment, to me, means never having to risk being fired.
When I moved, it was either start all over again to build up an independent business or become a contractor. I found a contracting job soon after moving, which made the decision easy.
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I was also able to keep my self-employment fix for a while, since I still got the occasional call from some of my California clients -- some of whom had been with me since I'd started an independent business almost 10 years prior.
My transition into contracting went well at first, but as time went on I got more and more frustrated at seeing so many examples of poor management. It's like a disease.
One contracting gig was for a silicon wafer manufacturing company that has long since gone out of business -- not entirely surprising given that the office culture was chaotic and management was out of touch with what was really happening day to day. At what other company could a "slight" math mistake that called for an extra 250,000 wafers to be made -- about a 500 percent error -- not even result in a hand-slapping?
Anyway, soon after I was hired as a contractor, the company hired another contract programmer, "Jerry." According to company protocol, every change was to be approved and prioritized by management -- assuming they found out about it.
In Jerry's case, he didn't give two hoots about protocol. If anyone came to him with a request, he would just do it. I had a peer position with Jerry, and it is just not my style to rat out a fellow contractor, and I was new enough that I wasn't yet sure of which office procedures truly were necessary and which ones could be revamped. So I talked to Jerry, whom I liked, about the need to follow protocol. He wasn't worried. His take was that if he stayed on the good side of the guys who needed the programming done, nothing would happen to him, even if our manager found out.
Well, as it turned out, Jerry was more right than I was. When management suffers from rectal-cranial inversion as was clearly the case here, these things happen, as I soon learned the hard way.