Tag Archive: workmarket

So, I had been taking quite a few OnForce and WorkMarket jobs lately.  Anything that paid $50 an hour or more then $80 in total.  Yeah, I am a Technology Slut and whore my skills out at less then pizza delivery wages.  See, America has this whole huge network of outsourcing that lets people sit back and exploit those who are between jobs or lack recent applicable employment to seek other employment.  They often violate the Employee / Employer versus Contractee / Contractor relationship.  Very few of them calculate travel distance, time, gas mileage and wear and tear on a vehicle.  There are many situations where there are consumables that must be eaten by the contracted individual where there is no real mechanism for requesting repayment.

OnForce was the first, it basically acts as a middle-man between labor or people who are seeking work.  The buyer is a company that needs boots on the ground in a state and area where they have no other employees.  Most of the time the work is emergency break/fix of a production system.  In the majority of the work it is retail point of sale systems and the signature capture (Credit Card) machines.  Some buyers are better then others, some have gotten placed in a management position over a nationwide upgrade or roll out and just lost the ability to support people in the field.

I paid OnForce to do a background test and a drug test a few years ago.  Some buyers require this, others do not.  The contracts come through from the buyer and they often act as your support although sometimes they just act as a middle-man between you and the retailer you are performing the work for in house IT Department.  Sometimes they just collect pictures and signed worksheets to prove the work was done.  In cases like this, checking in requires two or three telephone calls and checking out requires two or three calls and as many e-mails containing the consumables. 

This is necessary because so many of the contractors were pizza tech’s, everyone knows one.  It’s someone who is “good with computers” and their solution to everything seems to be to reinstall Windows and not install updates.  It’s someone with no ability to function in a real IT department because they don’t understand production environments.  Many of them taking jobs where they barely understood the terminology being used and ultimately fucked things up more then they were before.  Suddenly the job comes through with a higher spend limit and a bunch more controls on the how’s and the what’s, often making it possible to work essentially for free.

So when the job says $50 an hour for up to 2 hours, at 2.5 hours the buyers get difficult about increasing the spend limit.  Even though their check out took half an hour.  Now, this $100 will get taxed about 15% by OnForce who take a fee like our cyber pimp and then fees for Workman’s Compensation and Liability Insurance in case I fuck some shit up.  Suddenly, it’s $85 and I have had buyers take two weeks to pay and the Pimp doesn’t do anything until it hits extremes.

WorkMarket is another and this one added the humiliating procedure of “applying” for work.  I think OnForce has added it as well. You have to submit in. writing why they should hire you.  There are more and more jobs that come through at less then $50 an hour that need a three or four hour drive one way.  It is only a matter of time before the California Department of Labor gets asked to handle a dispute between the contractor, OnForce and The Buyer.  Somewhere in there either the buyer or OnForce is going to be considered an employer.  Suddenly a lot of rules concerning pay and such come in to play.  The Labor Department is who handles contractor disputes like this.

Now, several larger companies like AT&T, Comcast, Charter and several other global companies send contractors in to people’s homes with just the standard background check and drug test.  Sometimes they don’t require it.  California requires you to have a license for small appliance repair appliance repair as well.  The problem is that these background checks can miss things in other states.  There are potentially violent criminals doing the repair work for these companies.  I refuse to do in home stuff as it always makes me feel awkward.

Seriously what if I have to fart or I need to go to the bathroom.  Especially having to take a shit.  I hate taking a shut unless it’s a private bathroom where I can drop fat man and little boy.  Bomb Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  That was a text exchange between MooSe and I one morning with him repeated saying TMI or Timmy.  He was looking for me on campus and I was taking a dump.  I explained that after dropping the little boy, another bomb appeared in the chute.  But I digress.  Yes, I made an atomic bomb poop reference.  You read it and laughed.  Don’t hate me.

So, this is the poverty indentured servitude I have endured of late.  I am reluctant to take even seemingly easy jobs because the middle-men are usually half-assing it.  They schedule jobs on California up until three PM.  They get to work at 8am EST, hour for lunch and out the door by 5.  That’s 2pm here in Sunny California.  They are nowhere to be reached.  You try the retailer’s help desk and they have no answer either.  The end user, the store manager begs you not to leave then fucked like this.

After half an hour of calling and adding notes to the work order and even emailing I call the appropriate pimp.  Some buyers use bother pumps often pricing differently through each pimp and placing different terms.  The pumps always do the same, leave a note in the ticket and try to call the buyer.  Now, sometimes the pimps act as agents for the buyers so they are the buyers and the pimps.  These are often the worst because I am not sure any agent I have ever spoken to has had an IT Support background.

Many times I am asked to present myself as representing another Company.  Sometimes I have letters I printed on my ink jet printer authorizing me to work.  I rarely get questioned and most take it at face value since the parts came from UPS and corporate office has emailed about it.  Sometimes I get overzealous managers who want to know the step by step details.  I have had others watch me like I am going to steal.  I usually ignore the employees and perform the functions I have been asked to do.  It is scary that there are so many people handling the financial security of major retailers and your information.  The Target breach was a man in the middle attack.

Shady Business Practices

I do contract work on several websites, WorkMarket and OnForce are the primary ones.  Every “ticket” I accept always carries the fear in the back of my head that I will do the work and not get paid.  I have been using this platform for about the last 5 years and it has never happened before.  Then in March, I did a job even though I knew the work required would make the payment around minimum wage for the time spent doing it but I needed the money.  It was going to carry me through to the end of the semester paying for the necessary vital things like Food and Gasoline.  It is now May 7th and I still have not been paid for work that I completed on March 21 and calls to the ‘buyer’ or the company that I actually performed the work for always dump me in to the voicemail queue that states they are experiencing high call volumes and to leave a message for someone to call back or wait.  I have waited.  And waited. And waited.  All to no avail.

The ticket came through WorkMarket and I have searched their website top to bottom and it seems that they have taken a page out of PayPal’s game plan and intentionally made it hard to find or omitted it entirely from their website.  They have an automated phone system that is used to check in and out of the jobsite when handling a service call through their platform and using it to get through to a live person is about as difficult as it would be to get through to the President Of The Unites States by calling the main White House number.  I did it on 5/4 and spoke to someone who had an attitude that seemed to be aimed at trying to make me feel like they were doing me a favor for calling me outside of the normal corporate business hours, except that the WorkMarket platform has engineers in the field 24×7 which means that the support line should be open during those times to handle support issues that the Field Engineers that they pimp out can reach them for support.

I am sure that WorkMarket gets their money upfront, when the assignments are posted and only the engineers like me are left to our payment when the buyers decide they want to.  When the platform launched, they bragged about the fact that payment would be required at the time the ticket was completed and that there were no terms.  Then they added 7 day terms and now I have seen tickets with 30 day terms.  Keep in mind that at least 80% of the Field Engineers who use WorkMarket are independent, self-employed people who are basically running their own small business where they are required to pay for their expenses out of pocket and purchase any needed parts on their own dime, and sometimes they are reimbursed by the buyer.

If you own an HP product and get in-home or onsite warranty repair from HP, the Field Engineer is hired via the OnForce platform.  The terms of the work order tickets from the buyers, HP is a buyer, often have clauses that will reduce payment by various percentages based upon what they perceive as partial performance:  not turning in the required consumables within the specified time (usually 24 hours) or not crossing every T or dotting every I can also reduce or completely remove your payment and when this happens, OnForce and WorkMarket always err in favor of the purse strings.  They will suspend your account thus depriving you of the ability to take tickets. 

The truly frustrating part is that this minute amount of money was supposed to be my food and gas money for the last couple of weeks of the semester.  It was also supposed to cover the gas for me to accept more jobs because I used money and gas I did not have to do the work.  Now, I do not have that money nor do I have the money that I laid out to get to the jobsite.  So as a result, I have no money for food or gasoline right now.  I mean, it wont kill me to not eat or to only eat pop tarts or granola bars that I can purchase from the 99 Cent Only Store but it just saddens and frustrates me that WorkMarket and the buyer seem to feel that this is a totally acceptable situation, that there is no urgency on the part of WorkMarket, the Broker, to ensure that I am paid even though WorkMarket themselves got paid.

Ok, so maybe I am just upset because someone sat at the table next to me with Subway and all I have had to eat today is a pop tart and a granola bar.  It also does not look like that is going to change anytime soon.  I am trying very hard not to lose my composure through all of this,  but it is so hard to keep my chin up every time I discover that the soothing light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train coming my way.  If it were not for the flowers in my life, the darkness and despair would surely consume me.