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Not losing hours exactly but I kind of am


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I was on a team of three, contracted on an hourly basis to do live sound work. 120 hours a month split even between us on average. Management felt nervous having no back up contractors inducted who could fill in if needed so one more was added. He only gets hours when everyone is busy. Then we got a new manager. Now there’s two of them supposedly equal in rank and power. She does the rosters and she employed two friends from uni to expand our crew and now they are regular fixtures on the roster. 
 

For the month coming I can’t complain, I’ve got my 40 hours. But I can see 20 hours have gone to her friends and I’m finding myself a demoralised that whatever extra hours come up it feels like there is never any scope for me to work them and earn more because her friends get them and b) it actually sucks to have the night off while one of these new people works because I’ve got 14 years experience in my industry and they are just starting out. 
I’m not just losing potential income, I’m losing it to the people who should be interns. 
 

The outcome I’d like is to not be benched on nights I’m available so rank beginners can work in my place but I don’t know how to broach this. 
 

With the new boss who’s brought them in? Do I go above her head to the original boss? Do I tell them it’s demoralising to be losing hours to newbies? 
 

Do I say nothing at all because I’m just a contractor? 
 

I spoke to a colleague who agreed it sucks and suggested I approach the original boss and ask for his advice about feeling demoralised by this development and how should I proceed? 
 

I spoke to a friend who works as a practice manager and she said to reach out and say how much I love working there and would it be possible to pick up any more hours and is there anything they’d like me to improve on? 
 

What’s the better way to proceed?

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1 hour ago, 1a1a said:

 

Do I say nothing at all because I’m just a contractor? 

Basically say nothing unless it has to do with improving productivity - not about how you feel demoralised.  I do like the suggestion of asking for more hours and if it's possible explain how you can contribute (not really as a comparison to the newbies but ok if it is implied).  

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This may sound harsh but needs to be said - nobody cares about your feelings, especially when you are a contractor, so please please just don't go there. You'll end up looking like a drama queen and that will hurt you as people avoid hiring those who cause headaches. Since you are already getting 40 hours, you can't really claim that you are not getting enough hours.

That said, the winning strategy here is rather than talking about yourself and your benefit and asking how you can benefit yourself more, figure out how to present it as a savings for the company to give you more work. After 14 years in the business, you really should know how to frame this in terms of benefits to the company in order to get what you want. You also need to learn how to build relationships with these managers which seems to be a recurring theme with you. New manager and you get pushed out because you don't build a relationship with them.

We've talked about this in your previous threads - you may be very good at what you do, but as a contractor, you also need to be good at maintaining working relationships with managers. As you can see playing out right in your face - these relationships matter more than your skills. People work with those they like and trust.

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I agree, do not mention being "demoralized". Simply say you would like the opportunity to pick up more hours whenever they are available.

Also make sure you have resolved your past issues of being late. If you want full time and extra hours you need to show you are reliable, dependable and prompt in addition to being skilled at your profession.

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A smidge more data, this manager was my work experience kid at a job I did in January. She got an internship at this venue me and then progressed to the management position. 
 

We had rapport in the beginning but there was an incident where she had rostered me for a 10 hour shift and two days later had taken it and given it to someone else. From my perspective I had just had this conversation with the og boss a month previously about losing hours because I don’t work a day job which leaves me available to do mid week shows and how unfair that feels (yes yes, definitely not the best approach but he’s a good boss and he was sympathetic). I felt like Id Just had that conversation. And here it was still happening. She didn’t have that context though, and I was very tactless in flagging it. After that rapport not so much. 
 

There is excellent loyalty from the OG boss, but he’s handed over rostering to new boss and I feel no loyalty there. I’ve always had diverse employers so, still some other work coming. Inclined to agree it’s time to focus more on that. 
 

The work is mixing live bands. I don’t know how one could Increase productivity for it. You can do an excellent mix and be a good host for the musicians but it’s not an enterprise that makes the venue money, beyond giving people a reason to stay in the bar and drink….. if you do it very badly and they leave, the venue will notice and act to get rid of you but in my experience people are happy with pretty average sound tech work. There’s diminishing returns for being good at it in a context like this. …. I used to work for a PA hire company and could reasonably say ‘please give me more work I will do excellent mixes and get along with the clients and they’ll book you again next year’. But I don’t know what angle I could use for this gig where the live music is a loss leader to keep people in the venue. (Any suggestions throw them my way).

 

Perhaps, if anyone has any ideas for how to bolster my relationship with the new manager? The original manager will come and talk to you for half an hour at the start of your shift filling you in on what’s happening and what needs to happen. New manager is much more recluse.
 

I was talking to another tech about the situation today and he responded ‘that’s bad’ which makes me more think there’s a problem. But until I know how to broach it the right way I’ll bite my tongue. 


Thank you all very much for giving me your thoughts.

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Work the hours you are scheduled and do an excellent job, so excellent they will want to schedule you in for more hours because of how specialized and dedicated you are. Let your work speak for itself and ask for more hours. Do not talk about the other contractors or people you work with.

It may be disappointing but that should be motivation for you to do better. If you have free time think about other gigs or side jobs with a flexible schedule. 

You've learned over the years this isn't a regular 9-5 so there's little stability especially with a shift in management. 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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Contracting is contracting. You can accept the terms and perform the work, or not. You can offer to be available for more work, and you can speak to whoever you wish about that, but you'll need to understand that this could either work in your favor, incite backlash from the other, or it could have no impact whatsoever.

The up side to contracting is that your own time is yours to accept work elsewhere unless it's with a competitor as outlined in your non-compete clause.

I'd avoid bringing 'feelings' into this negotiation. It implies that the company's business decisions are somehow responsible for your feelings, which is not accurate.

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I agree with Catfeeder - you're just a contractor.  Bottom line -no matter how long you've worked with them or how well liked you are.  And there's an upside to the sort of work you do because as you say you can't really get "better" at it or do it faster, etc and therefore get more leverage in how many hours/working conditions but also means less pressure on you in general.  Now the "just a contractor" doesn't mean you're not just as good or better than full time employees but it does mean that you have less say in your working conditions (employees likely also can't complain about their feelings being hurt/being offended but at least then there's HR to report to, etc).  I'm sorry the situation is not the best right now!

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I had a shift today that was easy work, decently long hours, excellent musicians. One of those ‘I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this’ kind of days. 
 

At some point during the second set I thought about how glad I was to be there listening to this acoustic duo making magic out of music and with that I think my indignation has faded. (Which is lucky because as has been said, contractor gets what contractor is offered).
 

Still, of my own volition I did a stock take of the hired equipment in a spare half hour and did a spot clean of the storage spaces. 


And I had the thought that on those nights I’m not rostered and I wish I was, I should make those ‘work on finding new clients’ hours. 

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