No freelancer and no contractors. We never needed them or, really, wanted them. I'm sure you're great and all that - that's not the problem. The problem is that it's not a jail and you can leave any time you want. The reason they don't want to leave is because we paid well (I'll touch on that below) and had great benefits.
I think I'll touch on both of those and remember to say thank you for the compliments - I appreciate it. From the sounds of things, you'd have fit right in. I just wouldn't have given you an incentive to leave.
For starters, well, in my industry we paid more for hardware and software than we paid for employees. Yeah, and we paid the best in the industry though I suppose you could say we were, at the time, pretty much the only ones who did what we did. (Traffic modeling, both vehicular and, eventually, pedestrian but "on a computer.") I don't know every industry out there but I can say that labor is absolutely one of the lowest expenses a business has. If your boss says they can't give you a raise call them a liar. We spent more money on Xerox (I kind of hate those pricks) than we spent on a single employee. (We did a lot of printing.)
I wasn't really expecting much of a response so I hadn't thought this through or anything. Hmm...
We weren't a "family." We were all friends. I'll try to give an example? I'm not the most articulate.
The office shut completely down on a number of occasions. At one point we had a guy in the server room who lost a good portion of his family in an accident - a wife and his two kids. The office was a ghost town and stayed that way for a couple of days and was completely closed during the day of their funeral. We did miss a client visit during that time, sort of. They called me on my personal cell phone (they were bigger back then) and I listened politely, explained the situation in some rather vulgar terms, and the rep actually sent flowers and food - lots of food. It turns out that the money was from their own pocket, the client was a state government and would not have paid for it.
Things worked out well. I posted another reply above to another AC.
I guess my point is that you'd probably have hung up your freelancer hat and stuck with us. Well, assuming you fit in and enjoyed the work. I think that pretty much everyone did both the fitting and the enjoying. I'd like to think they did and would actually feel like a bit of a failure if they didn't. My greatest assets were luck and the willingness to shut the hell up and listen.
I don't know everything - not even close. It's up to you to tell me what I need to do and, importantly, why. I'm not an idiot - you needn't explain it like I am five but making it overly complicated isn't going to help you convince me either. I will stop you and ask you very specific questions and we can waste both of our time extracting the information from you or you can just tell me - it would save some effort and time.
Except DB admins, seriously... Have you ever met a DB wizard who was, you know, not just a little odd? I don't know what those guys do, I mean I know what they do but not really, but they make stuff work and when you're crunching a TB or two of data then you REALLY want a good one. I don't care that he was gay, vegan, or had a habit of not talking to anyone for weeks at a time - and then saying something profound. What I care about is that he constantly looked like the guy who was going to snap and bring an AR-15 to work - and we were NICE people. I was more worried he'd use it on the hardware than on a human.
Anyhow, I eventually was offered an absurd amount of money to sell my child. The parent company does almost nothing except niche fields that fill government contracts. You probably know who they are, actually. They do everything from food to security to information services. I do kind of giggle at the idea that they now have a Human Resources department. I think a distinction needs to be made. Humans aren't resources, they're assets and, more importantly, humans.
As I mentioned above, I've been called back in on a contract basis a few times. It gets to the point where it's hard to leave the place so I don't think I'll go back again. You're not a traffic engineer are you? They pay very well but they only have a 401k for new hires. All employees were given stock options, the chance to keep their pensions, etc... I'd have not sold had those not been in the contract.
The parent company has mostly left them alone but they've expanded nicely. There is also much more competition in the business these days. I'm glad I am out and glad that it happened when it did but I do truly miss it. When I feel like I am missing it too much, well, let's just say the view from the mountains of NW Maine make me feel better pretty damned quick. The bank account balance also works if the view is cloudy.
If you're in a position to start your own company then that may be something you want to do. As society changes I see a trend of more and more single proprietorship and small businesses being the future. I think it will be at a percentage rate higher than anything we've seen in the west since the dawn of the industrial revolution - and that's a good thing.
But, enough of a novella. 'Tis morning and I've yet to sleep. I can't even blame it on drugs or alcohol. To be honest, I've just been watching really bad movies on Hulu. No, I suppose my life doesn't change that much when you get right down to it.