My last “boss” and the contract.

I have absolutely no idea what I intended to write here, but I did have an idea… now I remember.

I can share this, because afaik, I never signed an NDA. I might have during the onboarding process. I guess I redact names, but that’s about it.

My “boss” held me to my contract to a “T”. The contract was no different than the first one I had signed. Here’s the thing: There is no rule saying I have to be at my desk at exactly the same time or earlier, and that I MUST take a certain length lunch break each day. The second part is more of a state law thing that you have to be aware of before you sign a contract, it’s not even because it says so in the contract, it’s just indirectly related to being an hourly employee instead of salaried. Something (among many things) you have to look out for.

If your name is “Jack-in-the-box” and you choke on a pea because you eat lunch so fast you risk seriously chocking on your salad everyday, maybe you shouldn’t put peas in your salad. Let’s translate that to english: If you want an employee who you can work to death and still be able to survive after said torture, you don’t look for someone in New York when the plant is in Maryland. If you’re just looking to hire a warm body, find someone local. Unless of course, that means they’re more likely to walk out on you, which, is exactly what they should do.

You don’t give a test engineer a schematic and a piece of paper with a list of tests, a computer with virtually no internet access, and a stack of test equipment you have to share with another contractor. Nor do you choose a fucked up SSH interface to communicate with the DUT (a very clunky and slow one at best). I can understand that code is in flux on the firmware side, that there are only so many DUTs, but I don’t appreciate it when you take my DUT and start doing vibration testing on it. The DUT needs to be reliable in order for me to validate it, otherwise, when the final product moves to production, it doesn’t matter how “finished” the code is, you’re gonna have to go back and fix a lot of broken shit because of your fucked up DUT.

Also, when you barely have enough time to deal with writing test code, you don’t get told by said “Jack-in-the-box” to follow the lead of “Asian-dude” to write the DVT test panel simultaneously. What “Jack-in-the-box” didn’t understand was that all of the DVT code was modular and would translate directly into functional tests for production. In fact, done properly, the DVT code would actually be a unit tester for the functional test code which actually makes my job a whole lot easier.

I guess this is what happens when you put a moron in charge of engineers. They’re so fucking ignorant about what’s going on, they have to micromanage you and treat you less than human, or at least that’s how it was for me. Hughes Networks is a horrible company to be a contractor for, or at least with “Jack-in-the-box” as my boss it was.

Now, I’ll admit I had some pretty severe mental health issues going on. I went to the local ER probably 4 or 5 times. In Maryland, they don’t have a Baker Act, but they can “suggest” that you seek psychiatric treatment but you must do so voluntarily. I don’t understand how that works, because if you’re having a psychotic break or are seriously mentally ill, you don’t have the capacity to decide whether you need treatment or not. I took an Uber all the way to DC just to go to the George Mason ER. That was exciting to say the least. Utterly pointless, but definitely an experience.

Now, I’m going on a bit of a tangent, but whatever. I’ve been in a lot of ERs. They’re really quite interesting. I don’t think I could be a doctor, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t work in a hospital.

Anyway, always read a contract fully before signing. There are better contractors to work for than others, and there are better, more understanding companies and HR departments that value contractors.

A friend from university adequately summed up the ordeal in one word: robots.

Life isn’t all about work. Go take a break.

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