So here's a sort of FU money story I guess:
2 jobs ago, I worked on a help desk for a public company that does HR work for other companies. When I first saw this job online, I realized quickly that I was going through a staffing company to get it. I never quite understood this concept, at least in this instance, since i only did 1 phone interview with the staffing guy, before meeting him for breakfast, before having to do an in-person interview with the HR company anyway. So basically this vampire was getting like half or whatever of my wages for the 6 month contract that I was working for the main company with the idea being they would take me on full-time as long as nothing went wrong. I was working the same hours as the rest of the helpdesk team and doing the same work, but got paid substantially less, no benefits, and had to take a shorter lunch for some reason too. Now I've worked in several IT capacities my career, but this was hands down the WORST.
First off, to even call what I did a helpdesk was kind of misleading. This company was apparently so big and bloated with red tape, probably from being a publicly traded company, that we had a sub-department for EVERYTHING. I was level 1. Basically taking in all the incoming calls/e-mails and making trouble tickets out of them. If the problem wasn't related to a small handful of things we were in charge of fixing, we would push the ticket to the correct department. I'm talking a network team, microsoft team, apple team, hardware team, telecom team, security team, sales support team, development team...the list continues. It was a glorified call center. I used to work at a law firm where we had a small team of about 7 overall with only me and my boss in the regional office I worked out of that would do everything ourselves. Needless to say this was jarring. On top of that, being similar to a call center, our every action was monitored and recorded. You had to log into the phone system to get put in the call-taking rotation, and everyone's status was up on a big screen tv. We were in one open area of half-cubicles with our backs to each other. You got 2 15-minute breaks to use for the day, and if you wanted to use them, you had to go into break mode. So now your status on the tv changed and everyone could see how long you were in the crapper for. And heaven help you if you went to 15:01 in break mode. Then your name would go red on the screen and start flashing at about the 17 minute mark. Your calls were all recorded and 2 random ones were chosen to be evaluated and you would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for every time you went off script or your ticket wasn't up to what they considered par. The majority of my co-workers were annoying and almost always went overboard on their break times, but being full-time they didn't really get reprimanded as the contractors did.
Why would I put myself through all this you ask? Well I had discovered MMM a few years prior to this, and this job was only 4+ miles from home.
Oh the sweet sweet bicycle commute! And this was when gas was still pretty high up. Internally laughing every time I would receive the traffic report from reception about when to avoid the nearby interstate was one of the few things that kept me sane at that job. I quickly got rain weather gear (Florida sucks for that) and was bike riding rain or shine. My best month saw me only filling up my car once. I had to fight with building management to move the bike rack from being next to a pond (not even bolted to anything) to at least a covered outside break area.
So after 5 months there was some falling out between my staffing company boss and HR company boss, so they bought out my contract and took me on full-time a month early. But because there wasn't an official "opening" or whatever phrase they used, I was still in this weird holding pattern. I got an incredibly small pay bump, but still no medical insurance, 401k options, or even vacation days, so I was basically a "direct contractor". On top of that, they had hired another employee after me direct to full-time when I was still under 3rd party contract. I later discovered that the HR company also advertised for job openings on their own. So basically I was just the victim of clicking on the wrong application online. Unbelievable. The final nail in the coffin, was another 3rd party contract employee who started after me getting moved to full-time during a somewhat large re-structuring in my department, where my highly unqualified boss was let go, and a much more reasonable person came in from level 2 to take her place. However at this point the damage was done, I was fed up with going nowhere, leashed to my cubicle like a prisoner for fear of missing a call and having that statistic on my record, and generally being treated like crap despite the weekly metrics being posted and my always being in the top 3 for call availability time, calls taken, tickets created, and tickets closed. Not even bike commuting could help this in the long run.
So long story not made longer, I threw down the gauntlet and gave them one month to make me legit full-time or I would walk. 1 month came and went, I had now been there a week or 2 shy of a year, and I was not about to end up bluffing. FU money let me put in my 2 weeks and I quickly found a job doing IT at an elementary school. So quick in fact that I was leaving work early to go on interviews during those last 2 weeks. 2 of the 3 schools I applied to hired me on the spot (having a college degree for a position requiring only a high school diploma probably helped put me at the top of the resume pile), so I chose the closest one. It was back to a car commute and even worse pay, but holy crap the FREEDOM. I was the only IT guy on site. Got to run the morning news crew with the kids and come up with new intro videos and other multimedia stuff, had the district's helpdesk to call if I needed any assistance (I could only pray they weren't treated like my last job treats helpdesks), and basically got to hang around the school with a walkie talkie, helping out classrooms and computer labs that radioed for me. I even got all the holidays off teachers get too. But like I said, the pay was horrible and I was barely breaking even with just the bare minimum in bills. It's like they knew how little it would feel like "work" and paid accordingly.
So luckily an old friend asked me if I was still in IT and I now work at an accounting firm that she works at (the sad part is that I left the school a week into summer vacation :(((((((( ). But it's the best pay I've ever had, small IT team, no metrics or stats to keep track of, just a general honor system that everyone pulls their weight (and with only 4 of us you can't exactly slack off unnoticed), benefits (I just became eligible for the 401k w/ 50% match on the first 4%, and the best kicker of all is that although the main office that I currently work at is about the same distance the school was (~15 miles one way), they have a smaller satellite office just down the street from the HR company! I currently have negotiated getting to go there once a month, but have a verbal yes that I could start working their full time over the summer after tax season. The plan is to just stay the course and get enough reputation/power to make the trips to the main office become the rarity, since so much troubleshooting can be done remotely these days.
FU money really does help make changes happen easier.
Thanks for sticking through the long read!