Thursday, January 29, 2009

Smoke and Mirrors

Late yesterday afternoon I received a call from my contract company stating that the company I interviewed for contacted them about me working for them. They said that they would like for me to work as a contractor versus full-time. The deal is that the pay rate is 8K less than what I'm being paid now and my contract company doesn't think I'll get the job since it's for a bank and my credit isn't good. My contract company has been acting strangely ever since I told them last week that I interviewed with the company. For the first time in seven years they acted quite negative about the job and I never understood why.
After talking with them I called my friend at the company I interviewed with and told him what they said. He then told me the following:
  • My contract company is a vendor for the company I interviewed with and they have a contract between them that states if anyone from the contract company tried to get a full-time job they have to notify the contract company and the employee has to start as a contractor and work for a minimum of six months. They can't hire the employee outright. This makes sense because the contract company doesn't want the company I interviewed for to "steal" employees from them. The problem I have with this is that my contract company never told me this little nugget of information and is acting like the company only wants me as a contractor when in all actuality they want me full-time but can't due to this legal contract the companies have between each other.
  • Since I would be a contractor with the new company, the new company doesn't request my credit information and my contract company never sends this information to them. Why my contract company is telling me that the new company won't hire me because of my credit score is completely mysterious to me.
  • I can't tell my contract company I know these bits of information because my friend working there asked me not to, so I'll never have these questions answered in my mind.
  • I asked if my pay rate for the job could be increased by 4K so that I would only lose 4K and they said probably not because the owner of the contract company set the rate herself. I asked them to ask her for me anyway. For all I know they could be making in excess of $25K on me and not giving me a fair cut of it.
  • I cannot live on 8K less.
  • I don't have  much of a choice since my current contract ends March 31st. My friend said that the contract company knows this and doesn't understand why they would "exploit" (his words) me like that. They are taking more of a cut from my pay knowing that there isn't a lot of jobs in my area anyway and they have the chance to lose me after six months if the company hires me full-time and I'm no longer a contractor.
  • I have been personal friends with the owner of my contract company and her family for seven years now. This is the first time I feel something shady is going on and now I am scared of a) not getting the job at all and b) getting paid much lower than I should if I do get the job.
I was very excited about all of this and hoped to have an answer today. Now I know I have to be a contractor there, that is if I get the job at all. My friend said that the company really wants me to work there, but I hope that an issue doesn't arise with my contract company and whatever game they are playing at.
I visit my contract company today at 4:00pm. This will be an interesting meeting.


Anonymous said...

If this is like most contracting companies, they're making A LOT off of you. Usually they're getting paid almost double what you're making from the client. If you're making $20 an hour, your contract company is probably getting close to $40 an hour and basically splitting it with you. When I most recently contracted at the credit card company, I was friends with my boss. During our "interview" he asked me what the contracting company was offering me, I told him $19 an hour and he said to ask for more. He couldn't go into specifics, but said "I know what we're paying THEM, ask for more." I ended up getting $23.50 an hour once the official offer was made, and this was after I'd already accepted the $19. I told the contracting company that after reconsidering all the job details that were discussed during the interview, I felt that it warranted more money. At first they said they didn't think they could do much more, but I held firm and got $4.50 more per hour.

Immi said...

Ugh. What a frustration. I hope it works out well for you.

Anonymous said...

I've worked as a contractor for about fifteen years, and I can tell you from personal experience that it's a vicious money-driven business. The contract firm is out to maximize their own revenue and they don't give a damn about the people they pimp out. And "pimp" is exactly the right word for what they do and how they treat their employees.

It's sure that want to place a more junior person in that job and keep you where you are, and earn a commission from both. Since your contract ends in two months, they won't be able to swap in another person, so they'll lose that revenue on both you and the other person they want to place. Never mind that you'll be unemployed in two months and they probably don't have another contract lined up. From their perspective, that's your problem. They'll lose that income anyway, and want to keep it as long as they can.

If you want to win in this negotiation, you have to find a scenario where the company stands to lose money, and present the switch you have in mind as the best way to maximize their profit. Unfortunately, I don't see a way to do that. Even if you can work with the "new" company and get them to wait until your contract ends, which is the closest to win-win I can see, your pimp will still see it as revenue lost on the person they could have rented to that client in the meantime.

Probably the only thing you can draw on is your friendship with the owner of the contract company. Does this person value your friendship enough to forego several thousand dollars for the sake of your long-term welfare? Going back to the analogy, does your pimp really love you, or does he just pretend that he does to keep you on the streets? That's cold, but that's the way it is.

Seems to me you're stuck in a no-win proposition. I don't think I've helped with a solution, bu I hope that I've given you some perspective. If you go into your meeting thinking you can make them care about you, as a person, and assume that they care about your long-term welfare more than their own first-quarter profits, then you might as well be talking to a brick wall. If you can see something I'm missing, and show them how this move puts more money in their own pocket, you may have a chance.

Laura said...

I really hope that something positive comes out of your meeting.

Leon1234 said...

Hey, how are you doing?

Karen ^..^ said...

The only thing I can suggest you do is immediately sever ties with this contract company and do not work for a few weeks, letting the new company know you are no longer involved with the contract company. I had this same issue with a similar agency. Those fuckers are all about the money and you are not a person at all, but a dollar sign to them.

If you can risk it, that is what I'd do, why tie yourself to this heartless company any longer?

Let your friend at the new company know that this is what you are thinking of doing, and there is nothing the contract company can do about it. Naturally they are discouraging you from going there on your own, full time, using your credit score as their ONLY leverage. They don't want to miss out on their exorbitant fees.

There might be a way out after all, and yes, they are taking horrible advantage of you, and the fact that there are very few jobs just now. They are hurting too, and acting like the damn mafia about it all. Ugh.

Good luck, hope it works out for you.

Anonymous said...

Good luck! Sure seems like you won't be able to trust any of these people. It's all about the bottom line. Again, GOOD LUCK!!

Barbara, The Spirited Strider said...

Hi, My take seems to be different and you probably already have met and decided things, but here goes.

The fact that you have an offer is something to celebrate, to appreciate. Many people don't have that.

You say that you cannot live with the amount they are offering you. I ask you this: Can you live without the offer at all?

I have been laid off and I thought it was the worse thing that ever happened to me professionally. But I tell you now that I see it as one of the best things that could have happened to me because of what I had to do to get out of the "box" of limited thinking that I was in.

It's part of what has made my journey as The Spirited Strider possible.

I really believe that sometimes these challenges can be truly blessings that force us to think "outside the box," to come up with creative solutions, to pursue those things that matter to us, and to appreciate what we have.

If the amount of money they are offering you will be enough to keep a roof over your head, food on the table and utilities from being cut-off, that's a good thing. Would an unemployment check pay these things?

It's true you are worth more...but your worth is not defined by money! If you are at peace with yourself, then trust your inner guidance, your gut, your instincts...

I trust it will all work out in the end. It just may not always be the way we thought it would be. Wishing you all the best, Barbara

alittlebird said...


I was listening to the radio today and they were talking about keeping/finding a job. The guy works in IT and said something that caught my attention--quote "in IT certifications matter more than degrees." I immed. thought of you working on your degree...just thought I'd pass it on for whatever it's worth...I know nothing about IT. Is there a certification you could get relatively easily?

Let us know, we're rooting for you.

P.S. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the contract co. is focused on $$ and not their employees' welfare. It's called capitalism...they're business people looking to make a profit. I'm not defending it, I think it stinks, but it doesn't make them evil people. Getting angry will not be helpful to you. They're looking out for their interests and you have to look out for yourself, that's just the way it what you need to do but try to keep emotions out of it.

Good luck!

Chunks of Reality said...

Cheri - I don't think that they are going to budge on the money. I don't have the final word yet, but it's just a feeling. I'll keep you posted.

Immi - As always, thanks a bunch! *hugs*

Anonymous - Thank you so much for your comment. I think you're right about the "no-win" proposition. The only good thing is that it looks like I'll be getting a job in this terrible economy.

Thank you for the advice. It means a lot.

AD - Thank you, ma'am! :)

Leon - Hi!

Karen - That is a great idea and I thought about doing it. The only bad thing is that the contract company has an agreement with the company I interviewed that an employee has to wait a year after working with the contract company before they can hire them. They really covered all bases!!

Hope - Yes, the bottom line is mighty!!!!

Barbara - You are exactly right, and your post really brought me to a pause to consider everything you said. I do feel very grateful that it looks like I'll have a job. I need to continue to think that way instead of getting bogged down in the negatives of the whole situation. Thanks for steering my thinking more positively!

Little Bird - Do you have a blog? I went to your profile and it doesn't look like it. Just curious. :)

Concerning certifications, you're right. I've often thought of going to get one, but can't afford it right now. That is one reason why I hoped to be a full-time employee at the place I interviewed with because they have tuition reimbursement. Hopefully, in the future it will be possible.

Thanks for all of the great advice! It means so much!

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