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Where to people draw their professional lines?

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    Where to people draw their professional lines?

    When is comes to managed services, ITIL, what good looks like etc. I feel I have a good sense having been in some very effective organisations over the years. This includes CS, CX, UX and large US ISP's.

    I'm currently working with a management team that are very political, looking to empire build and make decisions that serve themselves rather than the customer or the wider business they are in. I am being asked to provide solution designs that incorporate their way of thinking. Professionally I feel uncomfortable recommending or designing a solution that is outside of what I feel is a good recommendation.

    Question is, where do you draw the line. Should I care as a contractor (I don't know/have the full context as I am being kept at arms length)? Does personal professional credibility come into it? Do I just shut up and put up?

    #2
    I draw the line at what's going to help me on my CV in future - beyond that, I don't really care. If operating outside IR35 there's that to consider, but if in brolly then whatever.

    I do care about work fulfilment and enjoyment, but if you're asking if I've ever been forced into commissioning some absolutely tulipe projects. Absolutely - and so has every person in every field who can do such things - it's just life, sometimes you can only work with what you have. Make our worries known, in writing, but ultimately you aren't there to steer the ship.

    If I started binning off projects that were a bit shoddy I'd have done very little over the past decade, I fear.

    Edit: I wanted to add, I deliberately stopped short of saying "I don't care" - I think we all should care about our work, and most professionals do. We take pride in it, and we do it to the best of our ability - and yes, there are limits. But there comes a point where it's like a decorator refusing to use a certain colour.

    It's never nice to be doing something that you know is suboptimal or wrong, but I don't think you can start binning off projects left right and centre because of it
    Last edited by vwdan; 27 January 2022, 12:02.

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      #3
      Originally posted by IsayIsayIsay View Post
      When is comes to managed services, ITIL, what good looks like etc. I feel I have a good sense having been in some very effective organisations over the years. This includes CS, CX, UX and large US ISP's.

      I'm currently working with a management team that are very political, looking to empire build and make decisions that serve themselves rather than the customer or the wider business they are in. I am being asked to provide solution designs that incorporate their way of thinking. Professionally I feel uncomfortable recommending or designing a solution that is outside of what I feel is a good recommendation.

      Question is, where do you draw the line. Should I care as a contractor (I don't know/have the full context as I am being kept at arms length)? Does personal professional credibility come into it? Do I just shut up and put up?
      You do the job you're paid (and contracted) to do. If the client wants an insecure firewall configuration or a non-fault tolerant solution, then tell them why they are being prats - but get it in writing so they don't come after you when it all goes wrong. You can only really refuse to do something if it's illegal or fraudulent.

      You are there to do and advise, and record your proposed solution(s) with caveats and risk analyses where needed. Many clients don't always want a perfect solution, just one they are comfortable with.
      Blog? What blog...?

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        #4
        I refuse to work in the gambling and defence sectors.

        I also generally steer clear of startups and anyone who makes point of bigging up 'benefits' such as table football, ping pong, pizza Fridays as they usually involve long hours.

        I try and steer clear of anything involving legacy systems and prefer greenfield work however I don't design or spec entire systems.

        I have worked on many projects that I realised were doomed to failure - I voice my concerns and offer suggestions to the client and then keep taking their money until the project is cancelled or they decide to start again.
        Last edited by TheDude; 27 January 2022, 12:20.

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          #5
          "Where to people draw their professional lines?"
          Non-payment of invoices.
          Everything else is negotiable.

          Comment


            #6
            I'm with Mal on this one.

            You're fulfilling a brief and to not do that is to not do your job. If you think the ask is against best practises, has security flaws, will have a negative impact on other areas of the business, etc make sure it's documented as part of your work.

            If delivering crap to a crap client gets you down, and it can be very soul destroying on occasion, then your only real option is to leave.

            However do remember that much billing can be made of advising plan a, delivering plan b, then fixing plan b with your plan a. Actually getting the gig to fix their mistakes and implement your original recommendation depends on how you handle the communication to the client.

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              #7
              OP... I do feel there is one change you need to make that's going to answer all these woolly questions you are posting. You need to switch from perm thinking to contractor. You are a business now and you need to think like a business. Nearly every question you've asked has come down to you not switching focus. You are a permie in the contractor world which is causing you to have to ask all these questions. We can answer each one individually but it's not fixing the problem which is you.

              You need to start thinking what a business would do. Think you are the client and someone else is delivering to do you. What would you expect. I do hate making analogies with tradesmen but sometimes it can help. Someone mentioned travelling on clients time. If you picked a builder in the next town and not a local guy would you be happy if he says 'oh I'm 20 mins further away so I'll be travelling in the time I should be building and leave early'. Would you buggery. You get me? They have a different engagement so many instances are not comparable but worth a think. If you have experience with a proper supplier then think about that and what they would do.

              You are a supplier being paid to deliver something for cold hard cash. If you could apply that to the last two or three situations you've posted then you wouldn't have needed to ask. This isn't about challenging each situation you get stuck in. Everyone will be different and this will never end. You need to fix your approach and everything falls in to line. Acting a bit namby pamby and can't make a professional decision in every situation you'll find themselves in isn't being a contractor. The only analogy I can think is like that new person that joins a group and acts it but isn't what that group means. I've got it in my head but can't explain it. You are a giddy permie wanting to act like a contractor but you aren't thinking like one.

              Both Mal and VW give the answer, the same I would have, but they came to that answer because they are contractors. It hardly needs thinking about as it's the way they think and what they do.

              Some how you need to start thinking what a quality business would do in this situation and you'd have your answer. Would Accenture come in and have moral qualms about how the client runs their business? Would they buggery, they'd raise a risk, make sure they are contractually in the clear and then carry on delivering what the client wants. Period. And you need to do the same.

              'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

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                #8
                I don't buy that all contractors have to be the same (in the same way all businesses are not the same). We have boundaries and lines and it's interesting to me to understand other peoples views. I like context and opinion. You may be right in the sense of being "successful" in the terms you operate from, but that will differ person to person also (just like business to business).

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by IsayIsayIsay View Post
                  I don't buy that all contractors have to be the same (in the same way all businesses are not the same). We have boundaries and lines and it's interesting to me to understand other peoples views. I like context and opinion. You may be right in the sense of being "successful" in the terms you operate from, but that will differ person to person also (just like business to business).
                  It will. But you are not thinking like a contractor. The biggest change any ex-permie has to make is to step away from thinking like an employee, subject to employee rules and behaviours. That is no longer part of your job, which is to earn money, either for you directly inside IR35 or for your YourCo's shareholder(s) outside it, as best you can.

                  Obviously if you are uncomfortable with a given situation, it's up to you how to react, and leaving the contract is obviously one option. Just don't make a habit of it, you are in a world where pragmatism is by far the biggest parameter.
                  Blog? What blog...?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by IsayIsayIsay View Post
                    I don't buy that all contractors have to be the same (in the same way all businesses are not the same). We have boundaries and lines and it's interesting to me to understand other peoples views. I like context and opinion. You may be right in the sense of being "successful" in the terms you operate from, but that will differ person to person also (just like business to business).
                    I agree but most of your posts have been on roughly the same thing and a fundamental shift in thinking will help them all. All businesses do differ but they fundamentally do business all the same, which is different to being a consumer. You are being a consumer in a business world.

                    The other option is you've just got to toughen up and grow some but that's not very contructive.
                    Last edited by northernladuk; 27 January 2022, 14:52.
                    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

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