2

This is my second month in a six month contract at a tech company. I am doing dev work, and I have received a lot of great feedback from upper management, and feel like I am doing a good job. But for whatever reason, my manager takes every opportunity he can, in meetings with higher-ups (VPs, Directors, etc) to mention that I'm a contractor. I'm trying to remain cool, but it's really starting to bug me. I feel like I'm being treated differently, and I don't understand the constant reminder that my time is potentially limited.

I'm hoping that someone with experience with this type of behavior (on either the receiving end or giving end) can tell me whether or not I should feel threatened by this, or if I am probably just reading this wrong. Again, everyone, including this manager, has expressed that they are very happy with my work. I just don't understand the constant "shots" being taken at me for being a contractor.

  • 13
    Why do you feel this is being mentioned in a negative way, rather than seeing it as your manager pointing out to higher management, "This guy is doing a great job and would be a great fit for a full time position since he is a contractor"? – jmac Jan 20 '14 at 2:45
  • 10
    I agree with @JMac - Without knowing his tone and mannerisms, I would think he was trying to convince senior management to give him the headcount to hire you permanently, especially if they are recognizing your work as valuable. – Wesley Long Jan 20 '14 at 2:55
  • Are you a threat to his position? Is he fearful he could be replaced with a contractor? On the other hand, perhaps he keeps mentioning it to remind the powers-that-be that you arent a full time employee, and that they need to change that. – GrandmasterB Jan 21 '14 at 17:31
  • If you are a contractor then (in the UK) you have very short notice period - typically a week or maybe two. There is no holidays, pension etc. nor any job security. If you want job security go for permanent jobs. – Ed Heal Aug 13 '15 at 18:41
  • First thing that comes to my mind is pretty much what jmac pointed to as well. It seems like he wants you in his full time team but isn't in the position to hire you. Seemingly he want's his managers to hire you. Take the ball and join this game. Don't make a bad face when he says this stuff, do the opposite. – jawo Aug 14 '15 at 11:12
6

I'm hoping that someone with experience with this type of behavior (on either the receiving end or giving end) can tell me whether or not I should feel threatened by this, or if I am probably just reading this wrong. Again, everyone, including this manager, has expressed that they are very happy with my work. I just don't understand the constant "shots" being taken at me for being a contractor.

On one hand, you don't want to be removed from the assignment and on the other hand, you don't want to be somewhere where you feel undervalued. However, it's not likely that you'd be replaced because it takes time to train and ramp up on a 6 month assignment. Replacing you costs the recruiter and the client more money in the form of time and projects missing deadlines while the replacement learns the ropes. It's not ideal.

Question 1: What leads you to believe that the intent behind your manager's regular comments about you are threatening? The tone he uses when he states that you're a contractor is key. Is he using a sarcastic or demeaning tone?

Question 2: Did your manager hire you or did someone else hire you? Do they have the authority to let you go or is that someone higher up? This could help understand whether or not he has resentment for you being there.

Question 3: Does your manager say "He's just a contractor" or does he say "he's a contractor" - the word just is definitely demeaning.

Question 4: Are you a career consultant or are you hoping to land a permanent job soon?

Question 5: Has your recruiter stated that the 6 month assignment has potential to go perm or is this truly a short-term assignment? If there is a slighted chance of going perm, maybe your manager feels threatened.


Regardless of whether or not your manager intends to make you feel uncomfortable, you're feeling it. Here are a few options to think about:


Option 1: Address it Directly

"[ManagerName], I think of myself as an extended part of your team focused on supporting your departmental objectives and projects for as long as I am needed, and I'm really excited to be here. I've been a consultant for XX years and have worked on a lot of challenging projects. During this time, I have observed how permanent employees can have preconceived opinions when they hear the word contractor and frankly, it makes me feel uncomfortable when addressed as one. Would you be open to introducing me as a 'consultant through ABC IT Agency' or as one of your [Job-Title-Here]s through ABC IT Agency?"

The keyword here is "uncomfortable". He needs to know that how he's referring to you is making you feel uncomfortable. If this were to escalate, this would be an important statement to refer back to with a witness in the room (most likely your recruiter).

If this continues after you have brought it up and you're not comfortable with the situation, then you now have intentional harassment i.e., an unwelcome behavior from your superior that is causing you to feel uncomfortable and could impact your performance on the job.


Option 2: Talk to Your Recruiter

Assuming you have a good recruiter (and not some rookie or recruiter who is only in this business for the money), it's their responsibility to ensure you are in a healthy work environment. They should be calling the client and you at least bi-monthly to see how things are going and address any small issues or misunderstandings before they become big issues/misunderstandings that cannot be fixed. If you have a good relationship with them, bring it up in your next conversation with them. At the very least, this ensures you brought it up for the record, should your manager escalate his behavior even more.

You can ask your recruiter not bring the issue up to your manager at this time; that you prefer to handle it on your on and will update him/her after you have addressed it.


Option 3 (and my favorite) Stop letting it get to you:

So your manager thinks of you as a just a contractor. So what? The higher ups think you're great and that's who you need to impress and build rapport with. Stay visible, build rapport with the execs and just smile when your manager refers to you as a contractor because his opinion doesn't appear to have a lot of weight. Many professionals who work on assignment do so because if frees them from having any attachment to the politics or drama that a permanent employee has. Just look at your manager as a means to an end and let go of the feelings you have about being called a contractor. Needing to put you in your place has more to do with his insecurities and lack of self worth than it has to do with you.


| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Good answer, but I think that discussing the matter with your recruiter doesn't need to be framed as complaining about harassment. Rather, have a chat with your recruiter and ask him if he has any insight into how happy the company is with you, how likely your contract is to be extended, etc. This is absolutely stuff that a recruiter should be on top of if they're doing their job. – Carson63000 Jan 20 '14 at 3:42
  • Mike Beeler, excellent suggestion. I reworded. Thank you for your input. – Raegan Jan 20 '14 at 4:47
  • +1 "Many professionals who work on assignment do so because if frees them from having any attachment to the politics or drama that a permanent employee has."... I totally agree with that! – dsign Jan 21 '14 at 15:25
2

Truth be told, MAYBE before you came around there was an issue getting the right work done out of the EMPLOYEES. Maybe the manager is trying to use the work that you're doing as a basis for getting the EMPLOYEES pushed out.

If you are doing your job correctly, and unless you're hearing cynicism when he mentions you and your work, I wouldn't worry.

BTW, what if you were a plumber doing some significant work? He'd call you the plumber. Or you could be the carpenter. Or the roofer. He might use this for any sort of expertise that a company wouldn't usually keep on-staff. Expertise!

| improve this answer | |
1

Since you are on a contract for six months and you have already completed 2 months with excellent result, don't worry at all. Work sincerely. It's the job of the manager to keep you on your toes. Since you are delivering,they are expecting more from you.Take this positively and go ahead. Good luck!!!

| improve this answer | |
0

The concept of contract working is that you work for what you are paid. Meaning, you will be leaving in a short period of time and you may not be available after that. I don't know what contractual agreement has been drawn between you and the company but most likely there wont be any notice period mentioned. This is the reason why most of the managers are wary of contract workers. In simple terms, you write a piece of code and you leave. And if it has some loopholes in it, maintenance becomes an issue.

You aren't entirely wrong in reading the situation. But it's the manager feeling threatened by your absence and not the other way round. That's why managers try to keep people informed that someone is a contract worker (manager's way of saying - giving a very important, substantially critical job might not be the best thing).

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    Or perhaps this manager just has an issue with contractors. Employees write code and leave at least in this case the departure is well defined and there should be a transition plan defined to move the project before the contractor leaves – Mike Beeler Jan 20 '14 at 0:28

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .