If you're self employed / run your own business, then:
1. No work, no pay
2. If you're doing support, no work, your client loses money, you lose the client
3. There's no three, but two seemed too short for a list.
You are right, at least partially, if we assume that "self employed / run your own business" means that you for professional purposes are completely isolated, alone.
I know of several self employed people, running their own business who in addition to employing themselves also employ anywhere from one to half a dozen others. Here in Norway, you may employ five others and still follow the simplified procedures of a 'single person business'.
Also, it is not that unusual for practitioners of the same trade to have agreement: If your doctor or dentist is sick, he will refer you to one specific other doctor/dentist whom he trusts, and tell you that you can fully trust as well. I have experienced the same with plumbers and electricians.
True enough: I never have been told by a software support guy that 'I am sick but you can trust so-and-so to be able to help you'. That could be because I know of very few one-man software support business, but there really is no reason why one-man software companies could help each other out in emergencies the way other professionals do. (OK, so you might have to give a 'competitor' a little insight in your work, but that might be a good thing anyway. I assume that it would go both ways.)
You're right on all counts, of course. I have in the past worked with other contractors, both as loose "teams" where all players have access to all the code and work just as a normal dev team, and also I've subcontracted specific jobs out to specialists (or generalists where I've just been short of time). I've also worked as a subcontractor for one-man bands, too. However support tasks often need an in-depth knowledge of both business rules, application structure, and code at the lowest levels. It's hard to have someone else come in "cold" and just pick up and run with it on an ad-hoc basis. For one thing it may take them between 2 to 10 times as long, and the client's not going to be happy paying effectively 10x their normal rate, and the subbie is not going to be too keen charging one hour for 10 hours' work. (Maybe if they know that there will be regular work coming in, but even so on a large project there's a lot of learning to do!) Not quite the same as fixing a leaky tap, or even a temporary fix for a broken tooth.
In practice in my case I'm often "the IT department" and while I try my hardest to get clients to take responsibility for their systems, I suspect it's still easier for them to phone me up and tweak a setting than use the 2 menu clicks it takes for them to get to the very same screen that I use to do that. Since the effective pay rate for me doing these tasks is pretty good maybe I don't try quite my hardest...
Hi Eddy. Your comments seem rather contradictory; first you "correct" me to talk about profit rather than "pay" (I actually meant the company won't get paid), but then use "quotes" around company, suggesting it's not a real company. And here is the nub of the issue that has stricken not just IT contracting but contracting as a whole in the UK for the past 20 years. As a freelancer working through a company, if HMRC (the UK tax authority) deem you to not be truly self-employed, but actually an employee of your client, then: Tax is charged on a flat 95% of your company income, REGARDLESS of costs: training, certification, accounting, travel, marketing, consumables, services, software - everything. That might be fair (though not in most cases). But despite being taxed like an employee, you don't get ANY employee benefits - sick pay, holiday pay, m/paternity pay etc. AND on top of that, you not only have to pay your own employEE National Insurance (just like anyone else), but your deemed employer will often charge the employER'S National Insurance, which they are now liable for, back the service provider via a cut in rates. (Google "IR35" if you want to know more, or see What is IR35?[^])
We in the UK have been struggling with this for over 20 years now. Personally I've made damn sure that my relationship with my client has NEVER looked like one of employment - I work using my own equipment from my own office when I choose, I subcontract some of the work out, I provide services to multiple clients at once, and I have even offered discount for prompt payment (something which an employee cannot do). Recently, however, HMRC have changed the rules (again) such that it is now the CLIENT that decides whether you're IN or OUT of the legislation. Clients being lazy, ignorant (of employee legislation) and risk averse tend to just issue blanket statements that their service providers are caught. This is one of the reasons why the UK has been hit harder than the rest of Europe by a shortage of lorry drivers. Self-employed lorry drivers now have, in most cases, to pay tax on 95% of their income - NOT their profits. There is thus little if anything left over to buy fuel, insurance, let alone put aside to buy their next lorry. They've left in droves (excuse the pun) and still the government can't see the stupidity of it.
Sore point? Yes it certainly is a sore point, even though I've always remained "outside" the rules. But if you think a one-person company is in some respect not a proper "company", then you're quite mistaken. Oh, and having other employees in the company doesn't necessarily make you less dependent on the person who normally provides your service, but may engender a false sense of security.
When an employee is ill at home, the limit to how many days they get of "sick leave" is just what the doctor says.
During that period the employee gets paid by the state, not the employer so to work while sick is considered fraud and both employer and employee can be prosecuted if caught
Back in 2011 I had a triple bypass done and ended up on short term disability for a month or so and my boss had to take custody of my laptop. My wife brought the laptop to the hospital and he came by for a visit and took it. He was probably the best boss I ever had. He went the extra mile to make sure that my short term disability kicked in like it was supposed to and I never missed a paycheck.
Once, before starting as a dev, I worked at a company, was sick, had a headache and I miscalculated in a spreadsheet required mass of a component for a project, instead of 800 kilograms I ended up with 8 tons of a certain material. Merely one order of magnitude. We managed to find that error, only because suppliers were returning weird offers.
So from then on, if I am sick, then I would only agree to do intellectual work only if there were people who would double check it and take full responsibility for it.
Did you ever read Tom Robbins: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues? Sort of a cult phenomenon around 1980.
In that story there is this head shrink that after having been consulted by Sissy Hankshaw, the next day calls in well to the office. Sissy made him realize that he has been sick every single day for years, and gone to work sick, but now he has turned well for the first time, so he won't be coming to the office.
I haven't read that novel for at least twenty-five years. It is time for re-reading it.
(Thinking of Tom Robbins: It is always time for re-reading one of his books!)
If I've "got a sniffle" and can still think, then sure, - I'll code.
With a nasty dose of flu / cold, I'll code when my head is clear enough. Full of cotton wool? Probably not going to code.
When I had Covid, I didn't code while I had it, or for a couple of weeks after - I just couldn't think hard enough without actual pain as my SATs dropped low enough that my brain started to noticeably starve of oxygen when I tried.
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