RE: Are technical writers not eligible for a good pay packet?

Subject: RE: Are technical writers not eligible for a good pay packet?
From: Marguerite Krupp <mkrupp -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2000 10:32:59 -0500

Never being one to hold my tongue, I'd probably say, "Well, you get what you
pay for. What standards are you citing?"

And I usually get away with it.

I suspect that this particular interviewer has a low opinion of what tech
writers in general are worth and is not comparing you to a programmer. If
you know what the market will bear in your area, you can enlighten him or
her (politely, if you want the job). If you get an offer that's out of line,
turn it down and say why. I always say that I'm "looking at the total
package of salary, benefits, bonuses, perks, etc." Remember that before
you're hired, you have your strongest negotiating power. It's a little like
buying a car. You may get a better deal if you walk away. (Of course, you
may not, but if they don't come up with the bucks, do you want to work there
anyway?) Recruiters and hiring managers, like sales people, have quarterly
objectives to meet, especially in placement and hiring, respectively. So
find out when their fiscal quarter ends, and you'll know when they're
hungriest. A bit of "Deviousness 101," perhaps, but it's YOUR career, and I
see no problem with using any advantages you have.

As far as comparing us to programmers, while there can be considerable skill
overlap there, it's a different job. Having done both, I use my persuasive
skills to convince interviewers why I'm worth what I'm asking for.


PB wrote:

Sometimes it makes me furious when an interviewer says
"For a technical writer, your salary is great".

Why are technical communicators compared to programmers
most of the time? Isn't technical communication as
complicated as anything else? How would you handle this?

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