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Letter "Clients are becoming more litigious, with technology playing such a critical part in the day to day running of businesses they are no longer willing to let mistakes go and bear the cost themselves."

Litigation frenzy driving IT contractors under

Letter Name and address supplied

No kidding, the last two corporations I’ve worked for have demanded professional indemnity insurance up to $10,000,000 – my current employer insisted on me using an "approved supplier". Paranoia about contractors stealing data, or allowing persons into the building also seems to be on the increase.

Example: I’m replacing a member of staff on Maternity leave as a UNIX/Solaris admin and internet/intranet webmaster. My access card for the building will only let me in after 8am, and will only let me OUT before 6:05 pm, one minute late and I have to ask the CLEANERS to let me out!

Because I’m a contractor I cannot request voicemail, stationery supplies, additional equipment or software, or use the company mobile phone I’ve been given (because I’m 'on call' ). I'm not "by company policy" allowed administrator access to any server, workstation or any information relating to the networking infrastructure. Entertainingly enough I am also forbidden from communicating by email with any member of staff above ‘level 60’ (this means I can’t email my boss or any of the senior engineers whose team I’m part of: I have to email the group secretary and have her approve and then forward the email!).

You may spot the obvious problem here – I'm supposed to a UNIX/solaris admin/webmaster but I'm not supposed to have administrator access to any of the systems on which I work nor any access to information about them, nor can I directly request such access from my superior, or colleagues.

Finally after being at work here a month I got the access I needed to do the job I was hired for - only for a more senior ‘level 80’ member of staff to discover this access had been granted and to revoke it.

I leave this week with full pay for a six month contract but after working there for only nine weeks (the most frustrating of my professional life), after the company accepted that I could not even do first line helpdesk because I would require Admin access to workstations to install software.

How crazy is this? Have you heard others like it? I’d love to know … I think this company maybe run by catbert! ®

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