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Let’s hear it for the cat herders

Let’s hear it for the cat herders

It’s been a fairly quiet week this week. There’s been nothing to get me throwing things at the TV or harrumphing over my breakfast newspaper. This is good in a way, of course, especially for the sake of the TV set, unless you have to try and find something interesting to write about…

There has been some good news, of course. The economy is still shaky but from my reading of the runes, it looks like it is slowly heading in the right direction. Although it won’t take too much to throw it all off course again.

One good thing was the PCG winning not one but two prestigious awards from the Trade Association Forum. One was for the revamped website, which has gone from being something of a logistical and visual nightmare to something really very slick. The other was to PCG’s Managing Director, John Brazier, who won the Leadership Award. This was in recognition for the work he has done in getting the PCG to where it is today (and which John sees as a reward to the whole team). Organising an association that is 99% independently-minded freelance contractors – you think I’m bad, you should meet some of my fellow members – was once described as being like herding cats. Clearly John and his team are now fully qualified cat herders.

Also, running on the back of the Coalition’s aim to reduce net immigration, a new consultation has been kicked off. This one is looking at Intra Company Transfers, and should they be in the scope of the overall cap on immigration figures.

This is actually something of a tricky one. Clearly the influx of comparatively low-skilled IT workers, brought in under ICT Visas in preparation for moving swathes of UK-based work out of the EU, is not something we want to perpetuate. On the other hand, you have to accept that companies do need to be able to move skilled specialists around the world. Plus, of course, it’s not all about IT and engineering; the reach is far wider, from medical staff to trained Thai chefs.

So an interesting challenge to come up with an fair solution. The survey can be found at the rather snappy website, surveymonkey.com (I guess they won’t be in contention at next year’s awards…). Please take a look if you want to contribute to the debate.

Meanwhile I’m still on the hunt for the next contract. I’m actually getting calls back from people and there are certainly more jobs out there than there have been, but it’s a slow old process. And a frustrating one; too many agents seem to have lost the ability to read a CV and relate it to a real job these days. If I have to answer seriously inane questions like “How many years as a Project Manager have you done?” one more time I’ll not be responsible for my actions.

Then I was promised two call backs from people promising to take a more proactive approach to selling me to the clients, rather than waiting for the right job to come along. You know, a bit like agencies used to do 15 years ago. Needless to say, neither has been in touch.

Actually the agencies themselves understand the current system is rather sub-optimal (to say the least). They are increasingly turning to networking sites like LinkedIn to find people. This, if you’re a bit of a dinosaur like me, leads to a degree of a culture shock. I’m really not too sure I can mix it wiv da kids in da cyberhood, man, innit.

Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Looks like I have some work to do!

Alan Watts can found found at LinkedIn.
© 2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: 3 Cat Cupcakes by clevercupcakes

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