What Would John Galt Do?

A whole different way of looking at "WWJD"

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A call from Arkansaw

There's an old joke that Pennsylvanians tell about themselves: "We have Philadelphia on the east end, Pittsburgh on the west end, and Arkansas in the middle."

Yesterday I got a call from "Arkansaw".

I'm going to use real names here because -- well, there's no reason not to. I mean, what are the chances that these two buffoons will ever find their way to this blog and see their names in lights, anyway? I mean, these guys are almost as funny as Bob and Doug McKenzie, eh?

So, I got a voicemail message yesterday from a Randy somebody (can't make out his last name; he sounds like he's not very bright, but it might just be a speech impediment -- I can't tell which) asking if I'm interested in a contract position just across the state line from here.

Well, I'm getting lots of calls from high-tech recruiters these days 'coz I just finished a contract at Intel Corporation. Once you have that on your resume, you're kind of at the top of the food chain, know what I mean? And I've done a lot of contract work in the high-tech industry here in the part of Oregon that we call the "silicon forest". So I'm pretty accustomed to dealing with the "staffing services" (they don't like to be called "agencies" for some reason) through which lots of high-tech personnel are working here, and I'm pretty accustomed to what a standard contract looks like.

I haven't really had any bad experiences with any of the (pardon me) "agencies" for quite a while now. Kelly IT (part of the "Kelly Girls" company) is one of the best. Tek Systems used to be better than Kelly, but they went seriously downhill during the dot-bomb era. 'Way back when, I took an assignment with one called Modis IT. I don't think they're around any more. I called them Modess IT because I felt that I was getting about as much respect as, uh, the product that Modess used to make. Actually, they treated me about as well as a USED one of those products.

So, I had this voicemail from Randy Bartlett (or something like that) amongst a number of other clueless recruiters trying to put me back in to Intel. Which they're not going to do because Intel won't allow a contractor back in until six months after s/he has finished the prior contract. And I just finished a contract there about, oh, a couple of weeks ago now. At least this guy had a job that wasn't at Intel. So I called him back.

He was still hard to understand. After asking several times, I finally decided that his name is Randy Barley, and he's got a one-day gig over across the state line replacing motherboards in a bunch of Dell computers. Sounds like a piece of cake -- I used to supervise people doing that kind of work, for Pete's sake. So I said fine, and he said he'll have to wait until today to send me the contract and info, because -- get this -- something about how he had to obtain an employer ID number before he could get the bid.

HUH??? Did I just hear what I THOUGHT I heard? He doesn't actually have an employer ID number yet? For those who've never been in business in the U.S., that's the number you have to get from the IRS before you can hire employees. It's what businesses have in lieu of a social security number. Why in the heck is he even calling me if he doesn't have an employer ID number yet?

I finally decided that, given how difficult it was to understand him, I must have heard him wrong. So I bade him a good day and waited for his email to arrive today.

What appeared in my inbox is the most unprofessional piece of business communication I have ever seen. Here was the first email:
Hi Ken,
There will be a separate email with information on
the motherboards The pay is $12.00 a unit and net 30,
means that within 30 days after completion of the job and
completed tages [sic] emailed back to us you will receive a
Here is the second email:
Hi Ken,
Attached you will find our contract, please read,sign [sic]
the last page and fax back to us at 717-384-0114. Attached
and below you will find the information on taking the dell [sic]

Byerly Diversified, Inc
And the "contract"? Take a look at this!
QUALXSERV Project Requirements.

1.Technician Representation on Qualxserv Projects.
a.All Technicians will represent themselves as Qualxserv and/or Dell.
i.NO other representation of any business is permitted.

2.Dress Code.
a.Business Casual Men
i.Collared shirt, NO T-shirts, No Computer Business logo's. [sic]
[remainder of dress code snipped]

3.Pre start of contract.
a.Calling the POC will be done 1 - 2 business days prior to start of contract.
b.Representation will be made as per section 1.
[remainder of "Pre start of contract" snipped]

4.Arrival on site.
a.Be prompt arrive on time and as per section 2.
[remainder of "Arrival on site" snipped]

5.Completion of work performed and or computer contract completed.
a.Report to be called in 1-800-898-0829,1.
i.Report to include
1.Completion of the days work or contract.
2.The amount of computers completed
3.Any issues that arose during the day.
4.If Possible the supplied spreadsheet filled out and sent in that day.
b.Completion of contract.
i.All supplied spreadsheets must be filled out in their entirety.
ii.They must be sent back to BDI via e-mail within 2 business days of completion of contract. Extenuating circumstances must be approved.

By signing you are agreeing to all the terms of the contract and are legally bound by this contract. You will not be able to directly contract for the Company you are doing work for or Qualxserv for up to 1 year from completion of Contract. You are agreeing to work as a sub contractor for BDI.

This is a contract? Holy crap!

Red flags (not the commie kind, the kind they use on race tracks to signal a wreck) were popping up all over. I can overlook the spelling, capitalization and punctuation errors; lots of people these days somehow made it all the way through school without ever learning to write.

But here's an outfit I've never heard of that wants me to extend them credit for thirty days, and they haven't even provided me with a mailing address! I'm clearly identified as a subcontractor, which means I assume all risks associated with performing the work. I have no protection through labor laws, the work is to be done in another state, and there's not even a street address for the people who are supposed to be paying me!


More red flags: email is hosted at a domain that has no Web presence (go ahead, try to find out anything about 'myibocs.com'), absolutely NO results in Google for "Byerly Diversified, Inc.", NO "Byerly Diversified" in the phone book for their area code, and when you call their toll-free number, the automated greeting sounds like a residence.

Boy, this is starting to smell fishy.

So I dug a little deeper. The area code for the fax number is for central Pennsylvania. Uh oh, that's the Arkansas part. So I went to the Pennsylvania's Secretary of State's office and looked up the corporate filing. Byerly Diversified filed about a year and a half ago. NO officers listed. NO mailing address. NO annual reports filed.

Hmmm, fish odor is getting stronger. Has someone forgotten to wash her vagina?

To be continued....


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