Why sacking sucks

Shuffling from contract to contract is the employment reality for many IT workers.Even those who do want to spend more than three months in the same position face higher odds of a stint or two in the unemployment line if someone decides that IT isn't pulling its weight and the sacking frenzy begins.

Shuffling from contract to contract is the employment reality for many IT workers.

Even those who do want to spend more than three months in the same position face higher odds of a stint or two in the unemployment line if someone decides that IT isn't pulling its weight and the sacking frenzy begins.

Obviously, that sucks.

One of the best explanations of why it sucks, on both an individual and societal level, is Barbara Ehrenreich's book Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. Investigative reporter Ehrenreich poses as a professional seeking re-employment in order to expose "the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed" -- as her publisher rather high-mindedly puts it.

She applies for hundreds of jobs online, pays consultants to fix her CV and her clothing, and attends numerous job seminars and networking events. None of this activity results in her getting offered a position.

Lest you think she's just chronically unemployable, Ehrenreich also notes similar problems amongst the many other job seekers she meets, who include a fair number of retrenched IT pros.

Getting inspired to find a new position also proves increasingly difficult when there's a prevailing attitude of "if you were any good, you'd have a job by now".

Not everything Ehrenreich writes applies to Australia -- our welfare safety net is far more efficient than that of the US, for instance -- and there are some problems peculiar to IT, such as the need for relentless and expensive recertification, which she doesn't touch on.

Nonetheless, Bait and Switch is recommended reading for any tech pro who is currently "between assignments", or who fancies they can hear axes being sharpened in the executive suite upstairs.

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