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Sometimes It Is Best To Just Listen

The Doctor Is InToday was a very interesting day.  It was the first day our team had been together in a week.  The DC FedGov closures have really rattled people.  As contractors and consultants, we are not Government employees.  We play by different rules.  Depending on your contract, if the FedGov is closed, you may not get paid.

For those working under a corporate umbrella, where paid time off is offered as a benefit, this has left a lot of people very unhappy.  Without an opportunity to work from home, some were asked to take paid time off or leave without pay.  Either way, it hurts.

I can see both sides of the coin and empathize with both.  From a contract holder perspective, if they compensated each of their employees the 4 days the Federal offices were closed, it could do irreparable harm to the bottom line.

From the contractor and consultant side, there are feelings of desperation and abandonment.  I heard story after story about vacations being canceled or accepting a day without pay because they felt there was no other choice.  32 hours of the rainy day fund just left their accounts and there isn’t a damned thing anyone can do about it.  The lack of control has put many on tilt.

Listening to people speak their minds, some had real rancorous opinions of the situation.  I’d like to think there is a happy ending in all this and it will all work out in the end.  Unfortunately, there is snow in the forecast next week.

Image courtesy of ournameisblog.blogspot.com

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of ALM Platforms at LeadingAgile. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon). Novice angel investor.

8 Responses to “Sometimes It Is Best To Just Listen”

  1. February 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    The big gap from your posts this week sounds like the lack of an ability to work remotely. I’ve worked as a contractor in a federal facility before too, and where I worked laptops were standard issue, with VPN access to the network fairly ubiquitous.

    Sure, we had scientists and specialists who needed to be onsite to use specific equipment but most of the developers, engineers, project managers, and even support personnel could get a lot of work done remotely even when the center was closed.

    It’s also a benefit because at times people on your team need to focus 100% on a solitary task and it can be great to work from home for a day to ensure 0 distractions and save on the commute.

    Josh
    pmStudent.com
    .-= Josh Nankivel´s last undefined ..Response cached until Sun 14 @ 16:08 GMT (Refreshes in 23.99 Hours) =-.

    • Derek Huether
      February 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm

      In this day and age, I don’t think you need to be in the office 100% of the time to get your work done. If a boss or employer thinks you do, there is a lack of trust. It’s just a real old-school way of thinking. Then again, I am working with the Federal Government in Washington DC and it takes situations like this for people to take notice and implement change. I’m working on a project right now that would actually go faster if you locked me in a room and let me get it done. But, I make sure I’m approachable and accessible to the team, sacrificing my own productivity to keep the team moving forward. Considering so many people were stuck at home for 4 days, someone could have completed something. Perhaps other contracts are more lenient or forward thinking.

  2. February 13, 2010 at 11:12 am

    The big gap from your posts this week sounds like the lack of an ability to work remotely. I’ve worked as a contractor in a federal facility before too, and where I worked laptops were standard issue, with VPN access to the network fairly ubiquitous.

    Sure, we had scientists and specialists who needed to be onsite to use specific equipment but most of the developers, engineers, project managers, and even support personnel could get a lot of work done remotely even when the center was closed.

    It’s also a benefit because at times people on your team need to focus 100% on a solitary task and it can be great to work from home for a day to ensure 0 distractions and save on the commute.

    Josh
    pmStudent.com
    .-= Josh Nankivel´s last undefined ..Response cached until Sun 14 @ 16:08 GMT (Refreshes in 23.99 Hours) =-.

    • Derek Huether
      February 15, 2010 at 4:15 pm

      In this day and age, I don’t think you need to be in the office 100% of the time to get your work done. If a boss or employer thinks you do, there is a lack of trust. It’s just a real old-school way of thinking. Then again, I am working with the Federal Government in Washington DC and it takes situations like this for people to take notice and implement change. I’m working on a project right now that would actually go faster if you locked me in a room and let me get it done. But, I make sure I’m approachable and accessible to the team, sacrificing my own productivity to keep the team moving forward. Considering so many people were stuck at home for 4 days, someone could have completed something. Perhaps other contracts are more lenient or forward thinking.

  3. February 15, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Hi from the Olympic zone. The weather isn’t our problem here but many businesses and consultants were scrambling to figure out how to continue work during the events.

    The companies that seemed to have the easiest time were the ones who looked to their business disruption plan – a component of the disaster recovery plan.

    Every business needs to have a plan of how work will get done during disruptions.

    Let’s hope your next snow fall will be easier on the people who need every paycheck.

    • Derek Huether
      February 15, 2010 at 10:51 pm

      Perry, you hit the nail on the head. The interesting thing is, we’ve all had a disruption plan in place for H1N1 since the Summer. Why didn’t someone at OPM tell everyone to just use the H1N1 plans? The question remains, if Agencies had a plan for H1N1, why on Earth didn’t they have a plan for snow?

  4. February 15, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Hi from the Olympic zone. The weather isn’t our problem here but many businesses and consultants were scrambling to figure out how to continue work during the events.

    The companies that seemed to have the easiest time were the ones who looked to their business disruption plan – a component of the disaster recovery plan.

    Every business needs to have a plan of how work will get done during disruptions.

    Let’s hope your next snow fall will be easier on the people who need every paycheck.

    • Derek Huether
      February 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm

      Perry, you hit the nail on the head. The interesting thing is, we’ve all had a disruption plan in place for H1N1 since the Summer. Why didn’t someone at OPM tell everyone to just use the H1N1 plans? The question remains, if Agencies had a plan for H1N1, why on Earth didn’t they have a plan for snow?

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