I'd love to help, and I will, if you'll just...

This pilot fish has been both a regular IT employee and a consultant, and he's noticed a few key differences in what that means in practice -- especially with users.

Case in point: "As an employee, I've been dragged into every request that someone on the business side thinks I can help them with," says fish. "That's mostly related to the systems and data I support, but a lot that's totally unrelated.

"Unfortunately, they don't want to hear that you're busy or have other priorities or don't know how to help them. You're IT, you're supposed to provide service.

"But as a contractor, I've figured out the easy answer: 'I'd be happy to help, but the IT manager' -- or whoever my boss is -- 'signs my timesheet. I need their approval.'

"Which usually results in the same response: 'Oh, never mind.'"

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