Urgent: Stooge required to act as stool pigeon for "us." Send Red Adair, now.


I got this in my work email on Thursday. It looked on an initial scan like a Nigerian prince email. On further investigation it appeared a more subtle version; the outsourcing emergency.

"Dear Don,

I am the head of ******** airlines media ....... covering the European network. We work year on year with leading brands and services from all over Europe.

I am urgently seeking an Ireland replacement advertiser for the Christmas & New Year period for 300k monthly Irish customers due to a major problem with one of our current advertisers. See examples below (excluded from this post).

Please let me know the best number to reach you or one of your team on today.

Name (withheld to protect the indifferent)"Author undisclosed

I did my usual thing, went to connect with Mr.X on Linkedin and replied to the email in a "forthright manner."

I was going to use the phrase; "it took them 40 years to get to this point, I'm not going to fix it in a week," but thought; be a little more subtle, so I toned it down 0.5%. Getting more pro-social in my old age, it seems.

So, why is some guy representing himself as the god of advertising chasing me, especially as I am gainfully employed and doing quite a bit of legal prostitution already. If you're a positivist you might imagine the tooth fairy or Santa Claus sent me a seasonal gift.

What we're talking about is outsourcing. Something I wanted to cover in the previous post, but didn't because it was slightly out of context. Coming back to it now because it is the topic.

There are three strands at work here.

Rule 1. Big players only want to work with big players.

Rule 2. Traditional big players are more snobby than tech snobby.

Rule 3. In state run, traditional businesses, *everyone is someone's cousin. (*To be taken as a general over-generalization) It does effect how contracts get "managed." It is the most incestuous level of the three.

Nobody from those tiers are calling me, ever, ever..even though my mother gave them rides to school as children (yes, you minister) and my product is the best in town.


Let's develop a persona. Call her/him Shaun/Shauna. Shauna is androgynous (probably not a gendered pronoun), went to good schools, hung around with the right people, right colleges, right degrees, thereafter entering some institution or other. They have "an air" of superiority and are usually an inch or two taller than the "average" person. They've always had a good middle class lifestyle and speak with clear diction in short sentences with lots of eye rolling. That is who develops the outsourcing contract (couched in terms of RFT or RFQ). They tend to like i phones,*generally speaking, and are FAF (Fake as F**K). Trivia: In later life they become the chief source of income for incompetent plastic surgeons.

They then outsource contracts to people with Big Agencies. The value here is that Shaun or Shauna might one day want to go private (shiver that thought), so it never hurts to know someone in Accenture, Ogilvy or ...insert brand (Refer to Rule 1).

The agency takes "a make or buy" decision (as in buy a small digital marketing company {or a few big ones} or sell on the contract). They really only want the profit, so they "sub out" the work (They never knew how to do it from day 1).

That is where I and my peer group come in. We take the subcontract and a far smaller cut. We do the work, unless we subcontract it to India or, well, India. At that point all you've got is chiefs and Indians.

At each step you add a chief, but no (native american) Indians.

We also have to deal with the regular nonsense that comes from Shaun through Mr. Contractor.

Is it agile enough? Have you scrum? Are you waterfalling? Salesforce? Pardot? Slack? PMI, TQM, CMS..."we" just obsess over buzzwords. Note: buzzwords are another form of hierarchy building. If you let them, you'll be neck deep in pointless meetings about pointless shit. A mirror image of Shaun...but unpaid. Literally, a cheap clone.

Shaun likes to be managerial, so he/she loves reports. Those reports take time (which is already budgeted for in other areas). Mr. Contractor also wants "different reports."(which also take time).

Shaun/a and Mr. Contractor have lots of? Yes? "Time!" Good.

Note 2: Never give Shaun/a your direct dial, ever. Mr.Contractor at least wants some work done (to get paid).

Note 3: The longer the chain gets, the more "employees" Shaun manages. The worse the project becomes, the more resources and money Shaun can ask for to "fix it." The longer it goes on, the higher the chance that it becomes a huge fixed cost. Sweaty Shauna, frothed in lather, bailing buckets from a sinking ship. She might even get rewarded for his/her incredible perseverance against insurmountable odds with an even bigger project.

So, some guy from the UK is contacting me (at work) because Shauna, who rarely reads the reports is a bit miffed at the lack of quality in Mr. Contractor's initial choice of gimp. Mr. Contractor is working on commission, so he scans the hinterland for a different patsy. I am that patsy. I am Patsacuz. (Triple word score pun).

Which brings us to the point of this ramble.

Agencies will always try to F**K you. (Read this as Joe Pesci ... sensitive readers look away now!)

Leo Getz :Oh, that's great, Riggs. Ha ha. That's great. Well, you know what I say? They F**K you at the hospital! First they drug you, then they F**K you! And when they're done F**KING you, along comes the insurance company and F**KS you some more! Ten dollars for a F**KING aspirin...

Example A.

I was hired to be the "marketing coordinator" for a rather large company. I cannot discuss more because I signed a NDA, as an external sub-contractor. Never discussed once, the phrase JUNIOR marketing coordinator appeared on my contract. My guess is that wasn't what they billed the client for - that is conjecture. I would bet a month's salary on it, if anyone is open for the wager.

I asked: Junior to whom? In their parlance "junior" applied for the first three months, then I'd get the official nod from someone's HQ. I had heard that one before too, a few times. My guess was that their (client side) contract specified a salary level for particular roles and they were gaming that contract and presenting me with different one, playing both sides at once.

You get very slick at employment contracts, when you're the biggest recruitment agency in the world (allegedly).

I had given my notice to my previous employer, who was not best pleased, so that door was shut and double bolted. I was pissed to be shafted in such a carefree manner, but I'm sane and with kids, so I signed on the dotted line, with a merry twinkle.

A few months later I was the gleaming star of the show. The no.1 girl was giving me global control of an entire sub project (with no salary bump and the odious "junior" still hanging around). Taking the numbers and the profit margin, I was probably the cheapest widget in town. Junior was asked to run a 15000 person sub routine, while getting paid the junior wage as a sub contractor + they had fired my intern the previous week. The golden goose was most definitely cooked, browned and basted.

By this time I had been working on my get out of jail free card, so I drew it from the deck and just said: Adios! No mas.

There are more examples, but that one will do. Some people love a caste system, white ones on top with a deeper shade as you go down. I'm not in that crew, their time is up.

One of the main issues with Shauna is that she always wants to be my boss, without the management, conceptual or technical skills to do so. The university paper that gave him or her their position doesn't talk "computer." I can do their job. They can't do mine. The only recourse is to "their position." For now.

Key takeaways.

1. Shaun/a doesn't know my name, nor wants to know it.(Power)

2. Mr.Contractor is in it for the money.(Money)

3. Value your work, no one else will. (Labor)

* I just wanted to use those star things.

** For effect

***It's Christmas!