Contract vs. Full time

Subject: Contract vs. Full time
From: Steve Fouts <SFOUTS -at- ELLISON -dot- BITNET>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 1994 08:52:50 CST

[stuff deleted]

|} At another location, one
|} of our other departments had only one Xerox employee. The rest of
|} the department consisted of contractors who had been there for 8, 10,
|} and 12 years.

[more stuff deleted]

|} It seems to me that if a company values the work that you do and the
|} skills that you have, it would be wise to hire you and give you every
|} reason to stay. Is this naive?

Look at these to statements for a second, and consider them fully. Why
would a company invest all the extra overhead to hire permanent employees
when they seem to be getting all of the benefits of permanent employees
without? It is that "truism" that mothers used to tell their daughters
in the bad old days, "He ain't gonna buy the cow if he can get the milk
for free."

I am an exempt full time technical writer at Texas Instruments, and about
50% of our writers are exempt, the rest contract. Since we hire most of
our exempts as college new hires, our exempts tend to be better qualified.
(I'll defend that statement to the death on the side, if I must) These
writers tend to have higher expectations for career path and advancement
than the average contractor, so many times the contractors have longer
careers at T.I. that the exempt employees do. Exempts will jump ship
if they feel that their career path is stagnating. Contract employees
have no illusion of career path, so will tend to stick with the
security of a steady paycheck.

So lets see, no benefits, no training costs, low turnover but you can
fire 'em whenever you want without having to give 'em severance pay,
and you don't even have to call it a reduction in force so your stock
stays strong. Any one want to diagram that last sentence?

Since most companies still consider documentation an overhead cost
anyway, why would they bother hiring full timers to do it?

Please don't construe this as a defense of the practise. I deplore it.
What can we do?

/ ___ __/__\ \ / / _\ Steve Fouts
/___ \| | ___\ | / __\ sfouts -at- ellison -dot- ti -dot- com
/ / \ | \ / \
/_______/__|_______\_/________\ "Read over your compositions and, when you
meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out"
-- Samuel Johnson

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