The Locals Only Scam

If you work in IT, even if you aren’t currently looking for a new gig, you get email spam about openings (both contract and FTE.) Many of them will even be for work using products you’ve never touched. You’ve probably noticed the new scam. Most of this spam has either in the subject or the first paragraph of the message “Locals Only.” Do you know why it is there?

They want to pay dramatically below market rate.

It’s true.

I have had many posts on this over the years. At first a good many companies tried to take issue with the formula I use to calculate a minimum billing rate. Now it seems to be the formula traveling consultants are using. The bottom line is your first 40 hours has to cover an entire month in corporate housing. Now that corporate housing is at or well above $4K/month in most major locations that means bill rates must be north of $100/hr no matter what skill.

We aren’t talking about staying at a Hilton or higher. We aren’t talking about a penthouse suite. We are talking about month by month or 3 months then month by month regular old apartments and condos in decent establishments. You show up with your clothes and netbook. Everything else is there. Unpack and go get groceries.

The Great Recession with its associated massive foreclosure rate put a major squeeze on apartments. Builders weren’t building new apartment complexes or condos during the bottom, or even right now. Complexes in many markets have learned they can charge whatever they want, and, sadly, so have the corporate housing companies.

We contractors aren’t looking to “live like a king” while on the road, but we also will not stay in a crack house. You cannot survive at a hotel for projects longer than one month. Yes, when you are twenty-something you can push it to a bit over a month, but, some time after 30 it will begin to destroy you. The long hours and strange location really require being able to come back to the same place where you can cook your own meals in a real oven and do your own laundry while stretched out on the couch watching television. In short, a tiny bit of “normalcy.”

Over the past couple of years a great many consultants and consulting firms, possibly even some government agencies, have woken up and smelled the tea brewing. Those firms claiming to pay “market rate” have been getting taken to task over the fact their “market rate” won’t cover corporate housing. The new scam for companies looking to pay illegal alien wages is to put “locals only” in the posting.

Free advice. Learn how to set up kill filters with whatever email client you prefer. To avoid a lot of pain route messages containing any of the following phrases straight to the bit bucket.

locals only

local candidate only

local candidates only

only locals

only local candidates

need locals

Your life will improve dramatically.

Omari and the People

Action/Adventure – Historical Adventure
Date Published – October 2014

In an ancient time, a people made homeless by a devastating fire are led across a treacherous desert by a thrill-seeking thief, to a land he doesn’t believe exists – and he started the fire.
In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based on descriptions of the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter,) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home on fire to start anew and cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place to which only he can lead them, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The disparate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead – his very life – is jeopardized.


Five Things You Don’t Know About Omari and the People

1. The novel originated as a short story called Bandita, an allegory about a young powerful,  antisocial woman criminal set in the near future. It was inspired by a lithe young woman I saw at a police station.

2. The description of The City comes from my first impression of Beirut, Lebanon as the warship I was on made it’s way slowly towards the coast (the waters were known to be mined).

3. The character “Umal” was inspired by a thin, withered and unintelligible old woman who lay in a gutter in front of a shopping mall in Kingston, Jamaica.

4. The scene where Saba Khan lay on her back and watched clouds above her is a reference to a similar scene in the novel War and Peace. Instead of Napoleon interrupting the view I substituted bin Aswad.

5. The line in Chapter 30. where Omari asks, “Am I of any use at all?” is inspired by the title and theme of an essay by German Theologian and conspirator to kill Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who asks, “Are we still of any use?”


Stephen Whitfield
Chicago-born Stephen Whitfield began writing as a Marine Corps print journalist. His writing has appeared in military publications, as well as the Kansas City Star and the Jersey Journal. He holds degrees from from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Indiana University. Stephen currently resides near Orlando, Florida.

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