Man thinking at typewriter. (c) everett225.

Let Them Eat Their Desks: IT’s New Contractors

Forrest ChristianManaging Leave a Comment

“Hell, this is brilliant!” he said. “I wish I was still an executive so I could push this Task idea onto people.”

I was surprised. My companion, an ex-executive for a large US corporation, normally took a dim view of Modern Human Resources. And the Internet economy.

I had just mentioned ______’s ideas about going from role-based staffing to tasks-based. In this model, you don’t hire for a full-time role at all. You hire for particular tasks. It’s considered quite the thing among the Web companies.

“You mean that it shows the power of the New Economy and the fall of the power of Capital?” I asked.

“Don’t be an ass! It’s brilliant because these idiots are inviting us to externalize our expenses onto them.”

I looked blank, and he took the hint.

“It’s one of the reasons why your first business wasn’t very successful. If you own a business one of your most important tasks is to get someone else to pay for what you do.

“I mean, it’s even better than using contractors. With a contractor, they’re usually full-time onsite. That costs you a third of a desk — those bastards get stacked and they don’t say [expletive deleted] about it.

“With a contractor, you get out of paying health insurance, unemployment, even maternity. If you’re stupid enough to get knocked up, I don’t have to pay for it. Hell, you’re not even going to be around to have the kid: I’m going to find some way to get rid of you early. And if I can’t I’m going to replace you the moment you’re gone.

“You can’t do these things with employees.”

I mentioned that many people would find this inhumane and maybe illegal.

He snorted.

“Illegal?” he snorted. “They’re contractors. Their rights come from their employer and that’s not me. That’s whatever bunch of Indian slave drivers they’re working for.”

I asked him why this task model is better.

“Because I don’t have to pay for anything. I don’t pay for their training and development, their machines, software licenses, taxes, any of that [expletive deleted]. [Expletive deleted], I wish was still in the game. What a play!”

Image credit: Man thinking at typewriter. © everett225 (Everett Collection).

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