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Jan 5, 2009 - 3 minute read - Evil Tester Rants

How not to behave as a test contractor

Original Blog Posting on [blog.eviltester.com]

Sometime back, Linda Wilkinson had a good post on Test Contractor behaviour I shall add a few more ‘things not to do’ to the list based on some recent (and slightly less recent) experiences with contract testing staff.

A few things to bear in mind before we start. When you contract as a tester you represent a company - typically your company. The company has contractually engaged to provide testing services to another company. No matter what happens, you have set out a legal agreement within which you work. Contracts have end dates - you do not get made redundant as a contractor - your contract either does not get renewed or, under exceptional circumstances, gets terminated early (if the contract allows for this). If you don’t like working on this basis then get a full time job.

I contracted my services for well over 10 years. Since all my work came through referrals from people I have worked with, I know it does not pay to create a bad impression or conduct yourself unprofessionally.

Over the past 3 years I have seen increasingly poor behaviour from contractors and I can’t fathom the thought processes behind it - if anyone can shed light on this behaviour then please leave a comment.

So some “don’ts” based on things I have seen other people do:

  • Do not mess with the defect system before you leave:
    • Do not raise fake defects
    • Do not put offensive images in defects
    • Do not amend defects to have fake comments in them
  • Do not just ‘leave’
    • On the last day - “Oh, I’ve nothing to do - I’ll just leave and not tell anyone but charge for the entire day”
    • Do not claim to have had a car accident and then not turn up, feeding excuses for a couple of weeks hoping that they’ll sack you because you accepted another contract.
    • Do not follow the example of people who claim to have had a car accident by claiming to have had a car accident yourself and then not turn up. How did you know you should clean your desk out the day before you had your accident?
  • Do not let your work ethic drop towards the end of the contract
    • keep your work ethic going
      • make them want to have you back
      • if your contract did not get renewed then make them wish they had renewed it
  • Do not fall asleep in meetings (certainly not more than once)
  • Do not take excessively frequent and excessively long breaks.

Obviously the people who engage in this behaviour do not think it unprofessional. I once had a contractor self-terminate their contract 3 days prior to its end date (excuse: in a car accident - desk strangely tidy the day before). Then 4 months later an agent called asking if I wanted to re-employ that person - easy answer - no. Never again. No.

Do not copy the real life examples above.

Behave well. Behave honestly. Behave professionally. Behave.

Have some respect for yourself and others.