Very nicely stated post from Dean...  (If this is a repost, I apologize,
but it looked to me like it didn't get sent out to the full list...)

Janet Krueger
Rochester Technology Center, part of D H Andrews Group
---------------------- Forwarded by Janet Krueger/dhagroup/US on 01/27/2000
08:57 AM --------------------------- on 01/27/2000 02:52:44 AM

Received: from
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 03:36:33 EST
Subject: Re: AS/400 job market


This would probably be better served on the consulting forum, but as it
impacts full-timers as well, here goes RANT MODE(*ON):

In a message dated 1/26/00 7:52:46 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> A few months ago, there was a thread that discussed the lack of work
>  in the AS/400 consulting marketplace. I've noticed this since last
>  summer. As consultants came off of contracts, fewer and fewer were
>  being placed again. This got really bad in the 4th quarter. There were
>  many reports of consultants leaving the consulting business or even
>  being laif off. So far January doesn't seem to be reversing this trend.
>  I think it's due, at least in part, because of the former consultants
>  taking full time positions, thus reducing the need for consultants. I'd
>  be interested in hearing from others on thier thoughts, concerns and
>  expectations on this.

The market last summer was bad, _REALLY_ bad, for consultants.  January has
not been much better, but then again, it never is.  Plans are being made,
budgets are being finalized, and there's just not that much going on.  My
whole _COAST_ is shut down due to snow right now!

Number one, consultants that didn't deserve them had jobs due to Y2K.
what?  It's _OVER_!  Poor consultants and those that got in it "for the
money" aren't being asked back, and I say good riddance.

Those in "the private sector" that moan about how much money we make
consulting have never checked into paying their own expenses, training,
doubling their FICA here in the US, usurious business taxes, paying 100% of
their own insurance, planning their own retirement, or saving enough money
"ride it out" when things get bad.  This is _NOT_ a business for the faint
heart or the ignorant of money management.  Consulting is not a job to take
while you're finding a job, nor is it the "cash cow" that most imagine.  If
you're griping about the hours you work in a full time position, try being
considered practically slave labor and forced to perform the duties that
"regular" employees won't "because you get overtime".

Those getting out of consulting because of the current _ANNUAL_ (not
_MILLENIAL_) downturn either shouldn't have gotten into it in the first
or should have delayed that BMW purchase until they had at least three
months' salary and expenses (including estimated tax payments in the US)
built up.  In this economy, former consultants taking full-time positions
shouldn't have been consultants in the first place, IMO.  They're not
eliminating jobs for us, just creating _MORE_ once their new employers
out how much work they're _REALLY_ doing.

Packaged software with custom development tools presents a problem if the
client declines to purchase those tools and subcontract to the vendor, but
vendor contracts are available to good consultants -- you just have to be
able to stand fast on your rate.  But why bother with kludgy corporations
remiss in remittance?  In my case, why would a client pay $1,600+ per day
plus expenses for BPCS work to SSA when they can pay a one-time fee for the
tools and have me for less?  I _average_ three more years' experience with
the development tools and the product than most people SSA sends out!  Why
pay IBM's "Global Services" big bucks to tune your machine, when I've been
doing the same thing for less since many of _their_ people were in
school?  Some companies just hire based on names, but many more do not.  If
they want to trade on longevity, I've been in business longer than most of
the ".COM's" in their stock portfolio and have consistently shown a better
profit ;-)!

I don't think that asking for a long-term contract should necessarily
automatically disqualify someone from consideration for a consulting
position.  Us "little guys" would simply prefer to keep the marketing to a
minimum, but most are more than willing to work a couple of weeks in an
interesting assignment.  However, anyone that expects to automatically
"extend" at the end of that contract _IS_ just looking for a job and needs
find one.

Which leads me to my final point.  This is a quote from me, rather than my
usual sources:  "The difference between a consultant and a contractor is
a consultant's job is to ultimately eliminate the need for their position,
contractor's job is to perpetuate that need."  I spent nearly four years in
one place because they couldn't keep talented staff, and the staff that
stayed was either new or incapable of learning what I was trying to teach
them.  The smart ones left with their knowledge once I passed it on to them
because the client didn't pay well, was in a bad location, and had lousy
benefits -- the ones with "ten years of AS/400 experience" yet still didn't
understand positional parameters stayed.  Not ten years, the same year ten
times.  Said client _FINALLY_ reviewed their IS salary policies, promoted a
few folks on my recommendation (and some not), and hung on to a core group
employees long enough to let me go.

In closing (ooooooh, just heard a big _YAY_! on the surround-sound),
consultants can provide an invaluable service to your company _IN THE SHORT
TERM_.  Don't let one bad experience turn you off forever.  Small accounts
are more vulnerable to those of us that are "fast talkers" and charge a low
rate only to work on other client's projects using your machine while
charging BOTH you AND them, but that ain't all of us.  Heck, I specialize
large clients and have watched some of my so-called "peers" being hauled
by the police at more than one -- that didn't mean that the client threw
rest of us out.  Sometimes you get what you pay for, sometimes you don't.
More often though, you do...



Dean Asmussen
Enterprise Systems Consulting, Inc.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  USA

"A friend is a lot of things, but a critic he isn't." -- Bern Williams

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