IT Contractor faux pas

Having been greatly amused and educated by Linda Wilkinson’s article on How to get yourself rolled off assignment, and Evil Tester’s How not to behave as a test contractor, I have decided to add a few somewhat less aggravating crimes to the list, which are nevertheless behaviours that are unlikely to result in repeat hiring.

These faux pas are not specific to test contractors, as they are behaviours that I have observed in different types of IT contractors. Yes, I know it’s a tough life being a contractor, and I’m glad I’m not one anymore, but try to have a little restraint and dignity, please.

  • Drinking beverages out of strange vessels. Use a mug, for goodness’ sake. Do not use a jar, a bowl, a leather glove, or anything else that would cause people to question your upbringing. Teapots and coffee plungers are probably okay on long contracts if you keep the area clean, just don’t drink directly out of the pot.
  • Falling asleep at work. Even if you’re on your lunch break, taking a power nap at your desk is not really considered polite behaviour, especially if you snore.
  • Using toilet paper instead of tissues. I’m pretty sure in most places it’s perfectly acceptable to leave a small box of tissues on your desk. It’s not so acceptable to leave a roll of toilet paper on your desk, especially if you have stolen this toilet paper from the client’s restrooms.
  • Printing excessively. There is a button in all email systems marked “Reply”. Use this. Do not print the emails and write on them so that you can hand-deliver the response to your coworkers. Also, do not use the client’s laser printer to print high resolution A3 photographs of you and your mates outside at night.

I guess I wasn’t a contractor long enough to see anything weirder than that. So if anyone’s got any more faux pas to warn about, feel free to comment.

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