Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mercenaries, sell-swords and other contractual operators

The Ninja Librarian wishes to comment upon the nature of contracts, contract companies, and being a contract employee. The Ninja Librarian will also be referring to himself in the third person today because he feels like it. Cope.

You see, the Ninja Librarian finds himself in a fascinatingly unique circumstance. The library in which he works (under contract) is operated (under contract) by a company that has recently entered into the Library/Information field. One would imagine, as the Ninja Librarian did, that there would exist a standard corporate relationship between the contracted employees (who had all been employees of the last company to hold said contract), the project manager, and the company.
By standard corporate, the Ninja Librarian refers to other such contracting companies who would bring in a corporate employee to act as project manager and pass the dictates of the Home Office down to the rank and file.

This mode of operation was, as the Ninja Librarian understands, rather similar to the way mercenary companies operated within national armies during the European middle ages. And afterward, for that matter. This is also similar to the way companies of Bushi hired their services to warlords in Japan during the same time period.

That, however, was not the case. The project manager from the old company transitioned over to become the PM of the new company, but the loyalty to the troops remained quite strong. So strong, in fact, that several battles were fought for better circumstances.
Tragically, most of those battles were unsuccessful but the point had been made to the home office.
The new PM has adopted exactly the same tack as the old PM, and while the Ninja Librarian is rather used to functioning alone in the world of corporate contracting, he must confess that it is a nice change to have elements of management being supportive for a change.
He must also apologize for the run-on length of the preceding sentence.

Now then. The contractee is displeased with certain elements of said contract company and has made this displeasure clear. The contract employees are displeased with elements of said contract company, and have made said displeasure clear.
One would imagine, as the Ninja Librarian did, that said contract company would take steps to correct the problems to everyone's best interest. After all, the contractee may cancel said contract at any time. The contract employees are not bound to a term of service.

This did not happen. Said contract company staged an impromptu rah-rah session clearly intended to reassure said contract employees, in much the same manner as a medieval king would try to reassure his mercenaries from leaving or worse yet, joining the other side.

It didn't work. In fact, one could argue that it made things worse as certain facts were brought to light. Facts whose implications are assuredly not what contract operators wish to hear, ever. Of course, questions of loyalty to the company are sure to rise but the Ninja Librarian counters with this: Why should the Ninja Librarian be loyal to a company that does not show loyalty to its contract employees?


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