Date: Mon Nov 01 1999 - 13:00:25 PST
To Chris Cheng:
Chris, I was simultaneously surprised and disturbed by your comments
regarding "consultants" working for free and being brought up to the
state-of-the-art based on your training. Either you (or your Human Resources
personnel) have grossly led you astray! You have hired what I term "job
shoppers" who are basically average engineers doing contract work. HR folks
love to hire "consultants" at $45 to $85 per hour... and they get what they
pay for. They are not "consultants." Also, HR folks like to obtain all
their hires through one placement company... makes their job a piece of cake.
However, that approach virtually rules out the possibility of getting an
independent consultant (rather than a mediocre job shopper) as the better
consultants generally don't go through agencies.
A true consultant will run circles around all but the best of staff engineers
and is the one doing the guiding and teaching, not the employer. Many of the
better consultants support the "top tier companies," and help them establish
their highly regarded in-house expertise. I have consulted extensively for
HP, IBM, Intel, Motorola, AMD, Cisco Systems, Xircom, Adaptec, Netframe
Systems, Coastcom, Cyras Systems, Boeing Aerospace, Kaiser Electronics, Zeta,
General Dynamics, Aerojet Electronics, United Technologies, and approximately
30 other companies (including Sun Microsystems). These companies all have
some competent internal staff, but they are so few that they are constantly
in demand and generally overworked (you may fall into this category).
On the assumption you are obtaining support from HR, I recommend you do your
own searching when you need to crack a really knotty problem. Virtually none
of the best consultants advertise via "cold calls" looking for work. Their
jobs come from word-of-mouth recommendations. Given that you yourself are an
expert in SI, your experience with a consultant should (as a minimum) be
synergistic, but should also be educational.
If you need support for a large project (that requires more than one
consultant), you might try Ed Sayre at NESA (North East Systems Associates)
who has an excellent staff to support his individual efforts. I am a one-man
show and turn down more requests for support than I accept. I take only
those that are the most interesting and challenging.
To the SI List:
I apologize if this sounds like a solicitation or flag waving, but I have
seen all too much evidence of what Chris has/is experiencing.
Michael L. Conn
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