Hey, are you getting paid to talk or to work?

This IT pilot fish has worked as an IT staffer and as a consultant, and he knows there can be some real disadvantages to the better-paid but less stable contracting life.

Case in point: "At one consulting firm, I knew there were communications problems when a peer pulled me aside to talk about the regional manager -- the profit-center guy," says fish.

"My fellow consultant told me, 'The first time he ever called me was to find out if I was really resigning.'

"It was not only the first phone call -- it was the first communication of any kind other than a mailing list!"

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