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Home > Archive > Standards > Rules > Expectations of your Employer

Any organisations have idiosyncrasies. Software consulting firms are no exception. It comes down to what expectation you have of the company you are working for and what expectations they have of you over and above the usual contractual requirements of an employer/employee relationship.

These are some of the rules which, while not in your employment contract, we think are essential to a happy & healthy work environment:

  1. When you spend company money (eg on hardware or consumables) be as frugal as you would with your own
  2. Don't let your job title restrict the scope of your work. eg a database developers responsibilities will may include talking to a client (Account Manager), doing release plans (Project Manager), working out tables and relationships (Business Analyst), designing screens and classes (Software Architect) and testing (Tester)
  3. Keep informed of the clients debt position and whether their invoices are paid on time or overdue
  4. In small firms you always work closely with clients. Often there are no levels of management between you and the feedback a client will give. If it's hard - you just have to be tough. Try and introduce systems that prevent issues recurring (such as asking for a signature on timesheets or screen shots)
  5. Clients will frequently have tight budgets and deadlines. You must set expectations strictly, don't get rail-roaded into agreement to things you can't deliver on - but you must also be efficient.
  6. Sometimes you will have to work weekends and late nights.

Despite these stresses, often small technology focussed firms have great advantages as well, including:

  1. You won't get stuck on FoxPro - new technology rules
  2. Small firms employ smart people who are multi-skilled and multi-talented
  3. At a small firm you're never too far from the decision maker who can make things happen and you can change managements mind if you're persistent enough and have a good enough argument
  4. You rarely get stuck on one project for months or years at a time - you're needed elsewhere all the time
  5. Small firms do things like have annual retreats, go bowling, play tennis, do indoor rock climbing for birthdays (although at SSW we don't go out for dinner - it's better to exercise than eat!)
  6. At SSW we also develop utilities that are used by many people around the world