#1  
Old 06-13-2019, 02:29 PM
JcWoman is offline
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I'm a free agent again!


Earlier than I'd planned, but not so much that I'm upset. The current gig was with a company that supported a government contract, and I just learned a few minutes ago that we lost the contract so our last day is tomorrow. I don't know if it's everybody, but a fair number of my coworkers were also working on this contract, so it might be a LOT of people.

I'd been planning to change to a part time freelance semi-career after this job, along with continuing to keep my online shop growing, so that plan's just accelerated.
Actually what I promised my husband is that I would look for another full time job and get the freelance thing rolling at the same time and whichever brings in money first wins!

I'm not at all upset because this place was kind of odd anyway. Not toxic, but... strange.
  #2  
Old 06-13-2019, 04:26 PM
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Being cut free from this odd situation (what was odd about it, anyway?) will allow you to pursue what you really want to do. Go for it!
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Old 06-14-2019, 01:03 PM
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If you're familiar with government contracting, it might not be so odd. My Spidey Senses have been telling me for months that things weren't exactly rosy, so I wasn't at all surprised to hear the news that we've been cut. The contract stipulated that me (and two others in my role) were to be at the client's site 1 or 2 days a week to serve as liaisons. They got us badges to access the facility freely, but nobody would take the additional step of getting us desk assignments. Not even one to share. So if we were the "presence" that we were supposed to be, we'd have been sitting in the lobby all the time, offline, because we also couldn't get access to their network. I tried to be a go-getter for more than two months, asking everybody possible and was just led on a wild goose chase of ask Bob, ask Mary, ask Sam, ask Bob, ask Jim, etc.... When I gave up I figured if it was THAT important, someone with the power to do it would get it done. It never happened.

There was also the oddity of the contract stipulating that we must use Agile development, but at the same time the client must approve our requirements documents before we started development on them. One side of the client was constantly telling us to move faster, while another side of the client (the approval guy) was letting our documents sit on his desk for weeks.

The wildest thing I wasn't even here for, but one of the lead developers told me about it. They actually won the contract about 3 years ago, taking it away from the contractor who did the initial system development. He told me that when they transitioned, the other contractor did not turn over the source code for months so the only way they could learn the system and maintain it was to reverse engineer some of the modules. After they got the source, it was another year or so before they got any of the documentation. That's just one contractor screwing over another one, not necessarily to do with the client. I suspect it got our relationship with the client off to a very bad start!

The more I work around contracting, the more I'm convinced that outsourcing government functions to for-profit companies is a BAD idea. Soooooo much money is wasted and much of the waste is hard to quantify.
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:24 PM
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...The more I work around contracting, the more I'm convinced that outsourcing government functions to for-profit companies is a BAD idea. Soooooo much money is wasted and much of the waste is hard to quantify.
Bad idea for who? Sure makes a lot of money for private companies, while allowing politicians to claim they've cut government!

You display a great attitude in your OP - I'm sure you'll end up in a better place.
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  #5  
Old 06-14-2019, 03:24 PM
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As a Gov't contractor for 30+ years, I have seen this kind of behavior before.
I strongly suspect that the agency that asked for the contract didn't get the company they wanted (probably the incumbent) and could not convince the contracting officer to help. The CO is bound by law to follow the regs, most important is cost, and award the contract according to the rules. Well, the customer decided that waiting 3 years to oust the new guy was preferable to learning to live with them. Rare, but it happens. I am surprised they let it drag out that long, but I bet it was a 3 year award with possible extensions-which the customer decided not to exercise. If you hear of the new winner, I wouldn't be surprised that a) the company has a new name and b) it is the previous incumbent. This is not by itself a commentary on the Gov't using contractors, it is a shining example of the problems with Congress trying to force Gov't agencies to do something they really really don't want to do. The civil service can be very stubborn and very patient when it wants to be. In this case it would have been far better to award the contract according to "best value" rather than the rules that were followed. But the CO is bound in ways mere mortals will never understand.
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Old 06-14-2019, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Bad idea for who? Sure makes a lot of money for private companies, while allowing politicians to claim they've cut government!

You display a great attitude in your OP - I'm sure you'll end up in a better place.
Thanks! This is actually the first job I've suddenly lost where my feelings were "eh, easy come, easy go". And it wasn't even a job that I hated or wanted out of! LOL! I think I just realize that at my age and with my skills, I can do anything I want. I know from the last job hunt that it takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r to land a new full time job, but I'm not worried about it anymore. I'll work on freelance gigs or take short term contracts and just enjoy life.
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:41 AM
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So, um... I'm not a free agent anymore! This is the fastest turnaround in my career to date - unemployed on Friday, new job offer the following Friday. I have to put it down to the combination of an active clearance and ten tons of luck (right place, right time). Weee!
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:17 PM
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Congrats! I sometimes wonder if having the right "I don't really care" attitude helps things move along. You only had a week off, not too shabby!
  #9  
Old 06-21-2019, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JcWoman View Post
So, um... I'm not a free agent anymore! This is the fastest turnaround in my career to date - unemployed on Friday, new job offer the following Friday. I have to put it down to the combination of an active clearance and ten tons of luck (right place, right time). Weee!
If you start on Monday you don't even qualify for unemployment, with it's one week waiting period.

Congrats!
  #10  
Old 06-21-2019, 01:03 PM
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Damn - that was quick! Good thing to have confirmation of your marketability.

No idea where you are in your career, but this is the type of experience that will make your life's work more fulfilling, and will enhance your self image as long as you live.

Major congrats in order!
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  #11  
Old 06-22-2019, 08:45 AM
JcWoman is offline
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Thanks, all. I'm actually late career, looking forward to retiring. I wasn't entirely happy at the last place (details below for those who want a good laugh or to exercise their eyeroll muscles) so was planning to go freelance as a way to work part time. This past week I signed up with Upwork while at the same time doing a full time job search.

I do agree with Jumpbass that this gave me an "I don't care" attitude that likely came off as relaxed confidence. When they asked when I could start, instead of something like "as soon as possible please" like I would have when I was younger, I answered "anytime, I'm a free agent at the moment". LOL!

I'll actually start either the 2nd or the 8th. It's contingent on client approval and verifying my clearance, neither of which are causes for concern. I can financially float for a couple more weeks. And if this job turns out to be pretty good, then I'll drop the Upwork/freelance stuff. Oh, the new gig is a 15 minute commute, too, so hooray!

Okay, laughter/eye rolling time about the last job. Skip forward if you're not interested in mild drama.

I liked the work and the company, but they made one huge mistake. The person I reported to started the week before I did. I'll skip how I learned this to make the story shorter, but I quickly found out (from her, so I knew it was true) she had no management experience. They hired her to be a lead developer and on her second day asked if she'd be a manager. Apparently she didn't feel like she could say no, so she said yes.

I'm pretty sure she didn't say yes because she wanted the bump. She did not feel comfortable with authority of any kind. We were in a meeting, just three of us, when her boss interrupted to ask her to choose between two candidates they'd interviewed. She was making sour faces and telling him she didn't want to choose. She actually said she wasn't comfortable making that decision. I thought to myself, "If hiring someone makes you so afraid, wait until you have to fire someone!"

So anyway, the job moves on. I notice over time that she's awful at many things. She struggles to manage tasks, struggles with Outlook, Excel and Visio. She assigns tasks to me and emails my coworker by mistake letting them (me) know it was a hot item, and vica versa. She assigned a testing task to me instead of the tester and vica versa. She wasn't comfortable calling meetings so tried to make our team meetings as short as possible if she couldn't skip them altogether. I tried to get her to do 1 on 1's with me but she seemed to think it was a performance review ("I asked around about you and nobody has a problem with you"), so I didn't persist with that. I wasn't sure how to diplomatically teach her what 1:1's were for. Toward the end we settled into a routine of just getting our work done, and she just hid in her office never talking to us as much as possible.

Icing on the cake: The day after our termination she gave me a call (which was nice, honestly) to see how I was doing. During the conversation she asked me if I knew what the contract we were working on was. She was client-facing like I was, and she managed to work there for 8 months without ever understanding what the hell we were doing?!
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