As the editor of TechRepublic’s
Career net note, I often receive requests for information from its subscribers.
Most of these questions refer to issues in the workplace itself or come from
someone seeking answers to problems encountered in a consulting practice.

Of course, the best answers to these questions are going to
come from the experts themselves–TechRepublic

So I will occasionally describe an issue and open it up for
discussion among you. Here’s the first scenario I received from a subscriber:

“I’m a consultant working at a company, through a
placement agency. (A placement agency can also be a head hunter, career finder,
temp agency, recruiter or staffing agency.) I have had my share of challenging
experiences when working through agencies. Contractually I report to the agency
not to the end customer, but the work is defined by the end customer.
Essentially, this means I have two bosses. In a controversy, the Agency will
always side with the end customer regardless of the situation. I understand the
end customer is a meal ticket, but in most contractor/agency scenarios there is
a lack of a due-diligence process to resolve a situation to satisfy all parties
in conflict. Unfortunately, in the placement agency world it seems the
consultant is always wrong.

Do you have a consultant issue to discuss?

Are you a consultant experiencing some problems as you move forward in your career? Send them to us and we’ll get you some answers.

Send us your questions.

I recall one project where the end customer was extremely
difficult to deal with. They dealt with everyone in a threatening manner and
finally towards the end of the project, asked me to perform a three-month task
in three days. When I informed them that I would be delighted to deliver what
they were asking for but it would take three months, without even discussing
the matter further they phoned the placement agency and threatened to remove
the agency from their preferred vendor list. Rather than working towards
extending the contract by another three months (whereby everyone would get what
they wanted) the placement agency phone call to me started with words “We are
not happy with you.” Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with, or
protect yourself against, end customers flexing their
weight and agencies caving in to their demands, with the consultant stuck in
the middle?”

Please offer some guidance in
this discussion