I was pulled aside today by my target lead. He told me he had tried to put me in for an award. This was to show appreciation for the work I did on our current product. Due to me being a contractor, and the associated politics, it is not possible for me to receive the award. The award itself doesn’t matter to me, but having someone recognize you for your sacrifices and achievements does.
Being recognized, as a contractor, was unheard of at BBPM as contractors were seen as less than “real” employees. The ranking order at the BBPM campus goes like this:
“real” employees -> spouses and children of BBPM employees -> interns -> geese that shit all over the sidewalks -> contractors.
All that BBPM’s institutionalized marginalization of contractors does is breed animosity. Who do I want to work harder for? The folks who treat me as less or those who treat me as an equal?
This doesn’t mean that all BBPM people treated contractors poorly. I have people I consider good friends there that treated me just fine. It has more to do with corporate’s attitude towards contractors. Not that there weren’t lazy contractors. As team-lead, I dealt with some of these guys daily.
One of the funniest things I heard regarding contractor ranking was in one of the weekly meetings my team had with our BBPM liaison. We had just gotten a new project manager and I made the comment that we had just gotten sold for cigarettes. One of my guys said something like, “We don’t rank high enough in the prison economy for cigarettes. Maybe a dessert once or twice a week, but not cigarettes. There was no controlling the laughter in the room after that.
Before you go thinking that I’m overly bashing BBPM, there were some good things that came out of my time there. I actually really enjoyed the work I did for BBPM. Having come from an almost 100% UNIX/Linux background, BBPM gave me the opportunity to expand my Windows knowledge. I also learned a ton about building and maintaining virtual servers. Like I said, I made some great friends there, who I continue to stay in touch with. The time I spent at BBPM prepared me for the much-better job that I am now working.