Pros: usually didn't work a 40 hour week, reimbursement was quick, excellent trainers
Cons: you may not have a job for 3-6 months if at all, poor communication from the company, not a professional job, low pay, use your own car for travel
I worked on two data-collection projects for this company and at first I thought it would be a great adventure to travel and gather data. Overall, it was an unpleasant job.
They ask you where you have friends and family to supposedly put you at schools where you can see people you know. That never happened.
The first project, I did, I had a GREAT – more... supervisor. She was very knowledgeable and supportive. The second project I did, I was given a supervisor who clearly didn't have a clue what he was doing. I'm pretty sure it was his first time around. His communication was horrible and he couldn't answer questions for me when I needed him to.
The job itself is VERY boring and not challenging. You organize materials, you go to to a school, you give the students the survey, you read them the directions, you deal with apathetic students, you collect the surveys, you go home, you report the data to the company. Same story, every time, no variation, no challenge.
I ended up working with some very strange people and I came to realize that this is a job that people hold when they can't hold another job. People who don't fit into the "real world" do this data collection job because they don't have to fit in with society to do it. One of my coworkers was such an obvious annoyance to the school personnel we worked with and had zero social skills, yet ICF deemed him to be "one of the very best data collectors" they had.
On the second project, I was paid $14 an hour, plus travel. I used my own car on most of my projects and was paid mileage. I put thousands of miles on my car and later had to pay for repairs as a result. Yes, I got $.50 a mile, but it didn't make it worth it since the repairs I had later down the road were thousands of dollars. About two paychecks into the project, I realized I was getting paid the wrong hourly amount, it took them the remainder of the three-month project to fix it-after numerous emails from me.
At the end of the project, I asked about the next upcoming project and was told by my supervisor that he "didn't know anything about that project". That was it, I wasn't given any opportunity to apply for it or even find out who was in charge of it. There was never any communication from the company saying, "hey you all did a great job, here's the next opportunity to work" or anything. We just mailed back our surveys and never heard from them again.
So, as a result, I filed for unemployment. ICF lied to unemployment and told them I still worked for them even though it had been over three months since I'd received a paycheck. Because I was still on their "list", I was considered an employee. I had to fight it to get the measly unemployment amount through the state.
About SIX MONTHS later, they called to see if I wanted to work on their newest project. As if I'd been sitting around for six months waiting to hear from them. Needless to say, I declined.
The best part of the job, I would say is that I really never worked a 40 hour week unless I was away from home an entire week. You work 2-4 days and get paid for 40 hours. So, even though the pay was very low, it helped me feel like I was getting ahead just a little.
I'm sure doing other jobs with ICF are better than the data collection job I had. The permanent employees seemed very happy with their jobs and I would probably have loved working at their headquarters. But the collection job was not for me and I don't foresee myself ever doing it again. – less