Wednesday, April 4, 2007

this could be either fun or fired....

I didn't post about this last week, because I'm still not actually sure what will happen.

Lying in the bath on Friday morning, 90% asleep, when the cell rings. It's my current boss, asking why I haven't responded to his emails for two months. Irreverent thought of why it has taken him 2 months to ask this goes through mind, but I restrain myself, and ask if he is using my correct address. Which almost everyone else in the office manages to use. Turns out not. He tells me he needs to do a performance appraisal. I say sure, anytime. He says how about today. As is the last day of March and they obviously are due by then. I am still 90% asleep, and therefore co-operative, so I agree to come to the office for a meeting.

First mistake - he needs to be reminded that I don't do meetings, if I do very grudgingly do them, I bill them from the second I leave home until I return, and I don't do them at my employers offices because I hate going halfway to Pretoria through bad traffic. I do them at client's offices, coffee shops or my house. However, we'll give him this one as a 'new boss' bonus.

Oh boy, meeting. Now as background, I resigned from permanent job, where I was supporting 6 clients. One took their services away (planned). One took their services away (unplanned) - they just weren't willing to have any of the other people in the team working on their system. One was my client only, because of the specific software they run. No problem says my company, we have hired someone with those skills. Took him 4 months to screw up, and given that client is a major retailer who does 30% of business between Nov and Jan, it was not happy. I got called, asked if I would come in, fix, sort paper out later. So I did.

And sort paper out later has become the norm. My boss left about 3 months after I did, and since then, management has been done by a series of "borrowed" managers. And for me, it's worked well. They keep paying me, which is all that really matters.

So new boss says that he needs to confirm my contract, but can't find it. Oh, says I, that's probably 'cos I don't think I have one currently. But you must! he says looking horrified. I say why, as long as they pay me, that's OK. But at what rate,, he asks? Not enough. say I, but it it's still borderline fair. He looks weak, and decides to change points.

"Now we need to do your performance appraisal" (by the end of the day, hmmm??) "and I can't find a performance agreement for you". Oh, says I joyfully, I don't have one of those. Boss looks weaker and paler. I decided to let him off the hook a bit. I point out that I am not a permanent employee, so don't need or want a career growth plan. I have one client, and one client only (who happens to be the most important one by a huge factor). I look after one area of their systems, which was supposed to have died about 6 year ago, and they are currently talking another two years.

If I need space, or downtime, or uptime, it's arranged between me and a select group of people who have the same goals. It works. Client is happy. Client hasn't had unscheduled outage on my bit of the system for two years. Client couldn't care less about what my performance agreement or appraisals say.

Unfortunately, poor new boss does. I think I will hit him for at least a 10% rate increase, just because he is making me do this paperwork. And paperwork it the kilogram. Since he got my actual mail address....there have been 17 mails, all with large attachments. Not sure yet what I should be doing with them, because I haven't read them. Just seeing them was enough to make me go have a nap instead....

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