I stared my new job yesterday. Overall, my feeling is that it could be much worse.
The nice part about being a contractor is that I don’t have to meet diet and fitness standards, just dress and appearance. It also means that I can work a maximum of 40 hours per week and can only change schedule with prior approval from both the supervisor and the temp agency.
The downsides to the job are mainly the result of the corporateness of the environment. I work for a financial services company in a facility called the Center for Advanced Product Engineering. It’s essentially their R&D think tank. As a result, security is tighter there it is on the several military bases I’ve been on. There are security guards patrolling the cubes every minute to ensure that nobody is out of their seats without permission, and also that everyone is doing what their task sheet says they should be working on. All papers must be in a file plan and you can only work with the papers or information during the hours listed for them on your file plan. Outside those hours, the papers need to be filed in the cabinets specified for them on your file plan.
Guards patrol the outside of the building with dogs. Guards patrol the cafeteria. No one is allowed to leave the building until their shift is over without permission from a supervisor. That means no going outside for lunch (not that there’s anywhere to go anyway – it’s in the middle of nowhere). No personal items may be stored or left in cubicles after the shift is over – it must be returned to the condition specified in the facility usage handbook for that workstation. Network logons are by fingerprint and security door access is by keycard with security guards standing by.
It sounds oppressive (and it is) but it’s at least understandable. All the new laws and government regulations about financial industry practices make it necessary to take the maximum precautions.
But the other main objection is one I knew about when I started the job: It’s 0% technical. It’s entirely paperwork. I literally get an order form for a custom e-bill-pay site and then must put together the correct package to include the right content files, stylesheets, modules, etc. to make the site according to the order form. Then I send it for QA. Then it goes to the client for a final check. Then it goes into production and out of my hands. It’s purely assembly-line paperwork. But again, I knew that going in.
All in all, it could be much worse. But it’s likely to be a very boring six months.