Say what you mean; the second.

Off-ramping: The practice of taking a break from your career path to either go back to school, start a family, look after an aging parent or seriously ill child.

Really? Seriously? “Off-ramping”!

How about… normal life events? Everybody has a time in their life where other things take priority over their career. Going back to school to change careers, or improve one’s qualifications (MBA, perhaps). Starting a family (women, mostly). Family issues (divorce, illness, death).

Not only that, some smartly dressed professional HR people with that sharp useless look about them are actively collecting statistics about how “off-ramping” impacts one’s career path.

Is this really necessary? I can’t imagine that this is some kind of new trend that is suddenly impacting the business community at large. People are living their lives. Stop making it sound dramatic and important. Paticularly when it’s not something that needs to be changed, solved or cured.
Also, “Vertical Markets”. What is that? Really tall shopping malls?

My agents (and I’m being very generous in that description) are trying to sell me on their strong position in “Vertical Markets”. Cool! What’s that mean then? Well, it means that they are going after a particular set of business sectors. Now that can mean TelCo’s, Financial Intitutions, Pharmaceutical Companies, etc…

So as a senior IT professional I’m in a Horizontal Market with a cross section across most Vertical Markets. Daaaamn. And here I was thinking I’m just an IT project manager. Nope. I’m a core market player!

More importantly, if I choose one of these “Boutique” Vertical Market IT agencies, I can have a more client “visibility” because of a flatter management structure. Plus, I will never be asked to travel like I might working with the BIG consulting firms like Accenture or KPMG.

Translation:

Boutique firm - Staff of about 25 (or less). Billable consultants, maybe 50 to 80. Basically a staffing firm, much like high end temping.

Flat Management - We don’t have the infrastructure of an Accenture nor do we have the same billing rates. It’s both a pro and a con depending on the point of view.

Visibility - You’re on your own once we find you work. Fuck it up and we don’t know you.

No Travel - We’ve only got one office and don’t work outside the immediate metro area.

<sigh>
I’m not built for this. The more time I spend in this business the less bullshit tollerence I have. Why are these people wasting my time with this transparently apparent crap? They can’t possibly believe any of this shit they are trying to pass off as roses. Can they?