Who says IT contractors don't get any perks?

Even though he's an IT contractor, this pilot fish is in the same boat as regular employees when it comes to being asked to work unpaid overtime.

"Well, not exactly asked," says fish. "Just assigned work that can't be completed in a normal work week. First the project schedule is optimistic at best, then the inevitable problem or major change occurs, then the deadline becomes nearly impossible.

"The only way to even have the deadline as a goal is to work lots of extra hours -- which tends to reduce productivity overall, but apparently the executives haven't taken any economics classes and don't know about the law of diminishing returns."

Fish doesn't mind working a little extra here and there for free. But when he takes a contract with this client in the financial industry, he discovers that management won't authorize paying for any overtime -- but still expects completion by unreasonable deadlines.

Fish is too much of a professional to do shoddy work to meet the deadline, but he really doesn't want to work a heavy unpaid overtime load -- or any heavy overtime load, really.

But he knows that, technically, he's a vendor. And since it's a financial company, his client is heavily regulated. So he digs around on the company intranet, looking for the company's rules in the corporate policies and procedures about "receiving anything of value from vendors."

And he finds it: Pursuant to REGULATING-BODY Rule X, employees are prohibited from receiving gifts and gratuities, including services, in excess of $25 per person per year...

"A printed copy of that policy was dropped anonymously on my boss's desk," fish says.

"Almost immediately, I was being asked if the work could be completed in time, schedules shuffled and a bit of paid overtime authorized..."

Sharky's working overtime to find true tales of IT life. So send me your story at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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