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Helping Your Ex-Employer? 878

ali_bubba asks: "A funny thing happened to me today, I have beeb unemployed for over 5 months, and all of a sudden my ex-Boss calls me and demands (well, it sounded like a demand) that I help her out, because her entire corporate LAN was down. Naturally, she knows that I'm kind person, but boy what attitude, so I did help her save the day. She did not even bother calling me back to thank me, (like if you get slapped, turn the other cheek, as Jesus once said) Has anyone else had this happen to them before? What actions did you take?" While I can understand that some people in this situation may harbor some ill will if place in this situation, it may behoove you to see this as an opportunity, and at the very least, an opportunity to make a little money off of your old company. It doesn't pay to burn bridges, especially if they need something that you can provide. For those who have been in this situation, how did you handle it? For others, if you were offered work from your old job, would you do it, and under what conditions would your perform said work?
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Helping Your Ex-Employer?

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  • by emag ( 4640 ) <slashdot@gNETBSDurski.org minus bsd> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:23PM (#4686474) Homepage
    "$200 an hour, minimum 8 hours"
  • by Sc00ter ( 99550 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:27PM (#4686503) Homepage
    Thank you for calling on the services of ACME Consuling.. Here is my bill for 3hrs (min.) of work at $150/hr.. Please pay the total amount of $450 by the end of the month or there will be an added interest charge of 15% per week after that.
  • by Arctic Fox ( 105204 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:27PM (#4686506) Homepage Journal
    Woke up one morning to an email from a former boss wanting "information about the current SCADA applications" at a place I worked for while under his employ.
    That was pretty bad.
    Then he said, "Sorry for sending it to you so early in the morning, I need it for a lunch meeting".
    It was actually a sales pitch at lunch.
    I was pissed, but that didn't set me off.
    He sent the email with a HIGH PRIORITY MS Outlook flag, so it had a red ! in my Inbox. !!!!
    I debated sending a nasty flaming message regarding compensation for my time, etc.
    Then I looked at my clock. 1PM.. Oops. Woke up too late to help you pal.
  • by axxackall ( 579006 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:27PM (#4686507) Homepage Journal
    If you had a problem to find a job all that time - take a payment for all 5 months you've been laid off. At least begin your negotiation from that point.
  • One way... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fruity1983 ( 561851 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:28PM (#4686515)
    If she doesn't pay you, or get you into any kind of employment situation, post her company's webpage on slashdot!
  • by ACNeal ( 595975 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:35PM (#4686561)
    This is like the old joke about the doctor and lawyer playing golf. Another golfer runs up and asks the doctor some medical question. The doctor gives some advice and the man runs off. The doctor asks the lawyer if he ever has similar problems. The lawyer responds, "Not so much anymore. I used to have people asking for free legal advice all the time, then I started sending them bills. They don't ask me for advice so much anymore." The doctor responded that he'd have to start doing that also. A week later the doctor got a bill in the mail from the lawyer for services rendered.

    You might not expect (i.e. probably can't force them) to get paid, but it does send the message that you are willing to help in the future, but you aren't going to do for free anymore.
  • by po_boy ( 69692 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:47PM (#4686642) Homepage
    Hey, Ali - I've got a problem with my network over here, too. I can't seem to DHCP addresses with my wireless cards sometimes. Come over sometime today or tomorrow and get it fixed for me before business starts back up on Monday. Call me and let me know what time is best for you.

  • by Cyno01 ( 573917 ) <Cyno01@hotmail.com> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:51PM (#4686658) Homepage
    You only spent half an hour testing @ $70 an hour?!?
  • by chaidawg ( 170956 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:55PM (#4686682)
    My ex-girlfriend called me up a couple of nights ago because she needed my talents to work on her setup. I used to get paid for this sort of thing (dinner, massage, her talents on my setup). Should I charge her for that night, or do I have no expectation of compensation?
  • Better yet (Score:5, Funny)

    by cscx ( 541332 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:57PM (#4686693) Homepage
    Burn down the building. Just look at Milton.
  • by SexyKellyOsbourne ( 606860 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @04:07PM (#4686759) Journal
    Seriously, just refuse the idiot if they refuse to pay you. Since they're EX-employers, you're free to tell them what you think of them, though it helps if you've got a job first.

    I worked at a grocery store as a teenager, and a few years later went back -- when the asshole manager who chewed me out every day for insignificant things said "Hi," I responded with a middle finger and a "Fuck you."

    It felt, at that moment, with his mouth gaping open and his eyes wide open, as if I had finally put much of my angst behind me and let loose.
  • by mcslash ( 626817 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @04:15PM (#4686797)
    Isn't this why caller ID exists?
  • by Zapman ( 2662 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @04:17PM (#4686816)
    From: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/1999/vestspeech.h tml

    In the early years of this century, Steinmetz was brought to General Electric's facilities in Schenectady, New York. GE had encountered a performance problem with one of their huge electrical generators and had been absolutely unable to correct it. Steinmetz, a genius in his understanding of electromagnetic phenomena, was brought in as a consultant -- not a very common occurrence in those days, as it would be now.

    Steinmetz also found the problem difficult to diagnose, but for some days he closeted himself with the generator, its engineering drawings, paper and pencil. At the end of this period, he emerged, confident that he knew how to correct the problem.

    After he departed, GE's engineers found a large "X" marked with chalk on the side of the generator casing. There also was a note instructing them to cut the casing open at that location and remove so many turns of wire from the stator. The generator would then function properly.

    And indeed it did.

    Steinmetz was asked what his fee would be. Having no idea in the world what was appropriate, he replied with the absolutely unheard of answer that his fee was $1000.

    Stunned, the GE bureaucracy then required him to submit a formally itemized invoice.

    They soon received it. It included two items:
    1. Marking chalk "X" on side of generator: $1.

    2. Knowing where to mark chalk "X": $999.
  • Jesus Saves (Score:5, Funny)

    by horati0 ( 249977 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @04:20PM (#4686827) Journal
    [...]like if you get slapped, turn the other cheek, as Jesus once said...[...]

    Yeah, but Jesus never had to fix a LAN.

    Boss: "My Lord, could you get our 250-node token ring VAX LAN back online? You'll need to check every inch of the coax cable, duct-taping nicked insulation as needed."
    Jesus: "Fuck that!"

    waiting to get smited,
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @04:27PM (#4686866)
    ask for consulting fees

    Heck with that, Invoice for consulting fees and emergency Lan repair. The amount of the invoice should come to about 5 months of your old salary.

    If you want to ask for something, contact your old boss's boss and ask for you old boss's job. She's pretty much made your case for you.

  • by archeopterix ( 594938 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @05:09PM (#4687079) Journal
    Listen, just because the entire world of 6 billion people is motivated by money, it doesn't mean that the few thousand of us here at Slashdot have to be as well.
    When we're all dead, people will remember us for the kind deeds we did while we were walking the streets and talking the talk. The little league team you coached, volunteering at a Mormon church, and all those bake sales for the PTA will be what you were best known for. Contract #189533 for $1,730.39 will not be relevant and no one will care how much money you made.
    Go give blowjobs to the homeless. They will remember you for that.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @05:17PM (#4687117) Journal
    Funny, yes.

    But I think we now have an alternate definition for "Flamebait".
  • by coolgeek ( 140561 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @05:36PM (#4687190) Homepage
    The boss was probably believing the smear campaign launched by his successors. "He didn't leave a shread of documentation" and maybe he didn't, if it was textbook. "We can't make heads or tails of what he did" probably because they're twits. "He was building an empire" etc.etc.etc.

    I've been on the receiving end of that, after killing myself for about a year on one gig, they hire a full-time tech director. Turns out he wants to hire his buddy, and being smarter than the both of them, I represented a serious threat. Get this - the new guy told them they had to install accessible cable trays (in a school) down all the hallways because the cables I had installed in the walls/false ceilings "were'nt expandable". And the client bought it! Guess they never heard of a hub...or 802.11. And I'll bet the cables dangling out of the cable trays and the holes punched through the drywall look so much better.

  • I just said no.
    Same thing happened too me

    If you don't need the money and/or the company treated you badly, this may be an appropriate response. If you feel neutral towards the company, I'd be more inclined to negotiate the money up front -- This is when you've got them by the balls. They're more likely to agree to whatever pops into your head at this point.

    If you really really liked your ex-{company,boss} and/or you just want to get into your ex-boss' pants, all bets are off. I still think you should bill them for your time, but you're less likely to listen to me.

  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @06:05PM (#4687356) Homepage
    If you're at a strip club and you say "no thank you" to a lap dance but she performs anyway, you don't owe a thing because even though they performed a service

    Your ideas intrigue me, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
  • invoice (Score:5, Funny)

    by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @06:16PM (#4687417)
    Basic case handling fee: $500,00
    Case study: $280
    Rapid deployment fee: $843,00 ...

    The look on your boss's face when she gets the bill: Priceless.
  • by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @06:20PM (#4687437) Homepage
    If you're at a strip club and you say "no thank you" to a lap dance but she performs anyway, you don't owe a thing because even though they performed a service for which you would normally expect payment, you expressly said you don't want a business relationship.

    If you see a kid mowing your lawn and you wave to him (or otherwise prove you know he was doing it), you owe him money. By acknowledging that he was performing a service for which you would normally pay you agree to a business relationship./I.

    But if you get an erection during the lap-dance, surely you're acknowledging that she's performing a service for which you would normally pay, nullifying the prior express denial of interest in a business relationship.

  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @07:24PM (#4687687) Homepage Journal
    If you aren't motivated by money, would you like to help upgrade our Oracle servers next weekend? I'll bring some soda for you, and pizza. You might even get a free teeshirt.

    - A.P.
  • by Wolfrider ( 856 ) <kingneutron @ g m a i l . com> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @08:34PM (#4687959) Homepage Journal
    >They may balk at the number (any good businessman would, on general principle), but you need to start somewhere. Remember, as well, that this is probably cheap for what you saved them. One place I worked had a productivity analyst going through the company when we had a major failure. My boss mentioned to me that he estimated that the outage was costing us something like $25/minute to have the system down. When faced with those sorts of costs, $90/hour isn't a big deal.

    >Given that they're a company and they came to you and asked you to do the work, they have a legal responsibility to pay you. The only question is how much. Given that they were so desparate that they didn't ask you how much, a consulting rate is pretty reasonable. You could even add an emergency response fee.

    --Remember that part in Ghostbusters where they're in the fancy hotel, and they capture Slimer?

    --They present the bill to the mgr, and he says "Why that's outrageous! I won't pay."

    --And they say... "Well that's fine, we can just put it RIGHT BACK..."

    --Bottom line: They got paid.

    --This guy's ex-company's network would probably still be down if he didn't volunteer to help. If he don't get paid, he can always reverse the things he did to get the net back up and running... [g]
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @09:06PM (#4688115) Homepage Journal
    That's what I'd do. Walk in buck naked with a Zippo in one hand and a 5 gallon Jerry can in the other and screaming that you're gonna fix their tech support problem once and for fucking all.
  • I wrote massive amounts of documentation before I left my last company, including a 140k "errata" file explaining all the dumb and difficult problems that had caused me to have projects late over the past several years and all the tricks I used to get things back together.

    When I left, I neglected to tell anybody where I put these docs...easy thing to forget. I'm waiting for the "didn't you spend two weeks doing documentation" call.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 17, 2002 @12:30AM (#4688831)
    You're prof must be a real uber-hacker, understand bubble sort and such.
  • by jdkane ( 588293 ) on Sunday November 17, 2002 @01:00AM (#4688926)
    There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines.

    They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine fixed, but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past.

    The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and proudly stated, "This is where your problem is".

    The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service.

    They demanded an itemised accounting of his charges. The engineer responded briefly

    One chalk mark $1
    Knowing where to put it $49,999

    It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.
  • by SamTheButcher ( 574069 ) on Sunday November 17, 2002 @01:10AM (#4688953) Journal
    Unless she's a supaBitch (which it kind of sounds like she is), you're right, they'd pay. They'd pay just to be done with it. And, just for fun, maybe send the invoice to her boss, so that person knows how valuable you still are, and that your ex-boss has to call an ex-employee in an emergency.

    Dangerous? Fraught with peril? Sure, but whaddya got to lose??

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva