Job History Trumps Skills And Experience


A few weeks ago, my partner in crime Chet headed off to a much deserved vacation. Since he was going to be gone for awhile and traveling abroad, my upper management hired a consultant to cover his absense. His main skill is in networking in case something goes wrong with our Cisco equipment. He would also be tasked with two or three network configuration changes during his time here.

When we reviewed the consultant’s resume, he looked like an IT rock star. He ran multiple million dollar projects. He worked with more Cisco equipment than Chet. He ran rings around me in the server management realm. He even was involved with telcom projects. Chet and my manager joked, he could literally replace Chet, my manager, myself, and our telcom engineer.

The one thing that popped out at us was his job history. He had endless, less than one year contract positions. That was a red flag for all of us. But being the optimist, I thought perhaps he liked the freedom of jumping from contract to contract. How wrong I was. If it is too good to be true, it is.

The consultant was a friendly fellow, but from the get go, he came to work late and left work early. Are you kidding me? I was under the impression, if you are trying to turn a contract into a permenant position, you would be the first one in and the last one out. Apparently my consultant didn’t feel the same.

On top of that, he took many personal phone calls and physically would disappear from his desk. He was quite open and shared that he was working on this next gig since he knew his stint with us would only last a few weeks. I thought to myself, if I were in his shoes, I would be hustling for the next position, too. However, I would not be so blantant and do it in front of my current co-worker. I would also have the courtesy to do it during my lunch break.

Although he did have a strong command of Cisco commands and was a whiz on the networking and firewall side, he gave me the impression that he didn’t really care about being at work. He was more passionate about playing soccer on the weekends. He didn’t go the extra mile during his idle time. The work I gave him to assist my workload took him days to complete. He would also not follow up and leave items unresolved.

Final Thoughts

From an econonic perspective, I thought hiring this consultant was a total waste of money. It also put an extra strain on me as I felt responsible finding tasks and training him to make better use of his time. To be fair, upper management’s main objective was to have a networking expert on site in case of an emergency. He also did complete his handful of networking changes that would have taken me much longer to complete properly. But now it made total sense why his job history was so spotty. A resume’s job history paints a more accurate picture than the easily manipulated and embellished skills and experience section.

The bright side of this experience was that it was a wake up call for me. With Chet physically gone, I was forced to step up my game. My passion for IT was ignited as I felt fully responsible making sure my company’s network was in tip top shape. Before, I could past the buck to Chet as he was the most senior and experienced engineer on staff. Finally, the negative feelings I had for my consultant, I vowed to never give that impression to anyone who works with me. I find myself paying better attention to the details. I care and have pride for my job again. Initially, I felt the consultant was a waste of time and money. In the end, Chet going on vacation and hiring the consultant to work along side with me may have been exactly what I needed.

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4 Responses

  1. Money Beagle says:

    I agree with everything you said, though honestly if you were only looking to get someone for a few weeks, you probably were not going to attract the best and brightest anyways. Even contractors who just want to be contractors tend to want longer engagements than that. Good that you learned various lessons.

  2. Arlee Bird says:

    Some people are excellent at giving a good impression and getting jobs, but the best employees are consistent and dependable and good at staying on jobs.

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