Merry Christmas, Contractors.

Tis the season to be Jolly, etc. And the season to go 'Ho Ho Ho', have office parties, and suchlike. But remember, fellow contractors/consultants, our main customers are ran by black-hearted accountants - people who think caravans, volvos and wearing socks with sandals all are cool. People with the imagination of a brick, the strategic thinking of an emu, and the sense of humour of an abcess.

So in the spirit of Xmas, *** have decided to cut all contractors rates across the board by 10%. No negotiation, no warning, and no discussion. Take it or leave it. And as you can imagine in this cash strapped times, most folks are taking it. However spare a thought for those poor customers who have entire, mission critical systems which are ran (apparently) solely by contractors. Often overstretched (two or three doing the hours and coverage for five or ten), often already at the end of a very thin piece of patience. And some of them snap. Poor customers. Its not as if *** will pass on any cost-savings to them, is it?

And joining this list of shame is ******** - again cutting all contractors rates by 15%. Because they can.

Its all very short sighted, but for these pencil sharpening, insight free accountants, it makes perfect sense. After all, you can get 10 or more people in a poor part of the world to do the same job as one person here. And lets face it, give someone a few hours training, and they can do that job just as well, right ?

Ah. Wrong, Einstein. Just because you can replace highly trained and experienced guys in stable, non-changing environments, doesnt mean that this short-sighted strategy will work when the customer actually needs something new to happen. Or a new version of the software is released. Or indeed, some issue crops up. Because thats when you need the so-called 'overpaid' guys. The guys who actually know this product, and can fix it, often without anyone actually suffering any downtime.

Lets use words that even an MBA comprehend. Would you rather get on an airplane staffed solely by trainee pilots or experienced pilots. All planes fly the same, right ? Oh - but you want the more experienced guy if there are problems...

All this exercise does is allow the guys who CAN get a new job very very quickly the motivation to pick up the phone and move. Leaving the huge company with precisely the tree-hugging waste of space bodies they really wanted to get rid of in the first place. And of course any future expansion is somewhat stymied by the contractors remembering who shafted them last time around, and not wishing to repeat that experience.

You didnt think we'd forget that episode in 2002-2003, ***-*******, did you ?

You did want to hire *smart* people, didnt you? Smart people by definition dont return to be shafted twice, do they?

So customers of these companies - make sure that your outsourcing contract actually names the guys you actually trust, and dont get stuffed with the guys who are literally learining on your dime. Like the guys from a bank who met their *** "consultants" on the same *** training course...

Dont add actual comapny names if responding to this post. I suspect we all know who these are.