RE: Where is the ceiling in TW?

Subject: RE: Where is the ceiling in TW?
From: "walden miller" <wmiller -at- vidiom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 16:55:22 -0700

This is in response to a number of people on this thread:

Mike Stockman wrote:
> The employer's job, realistically, is two-fold: A) get and keep the best
> talent, and B) pay them as little as possible. An employee's job is to 1)
> Get and keep the job that meets her goals, and 2) get paid as much as
> possible.

Maggie Secara wrote:
>
> I don't think I've ever gotten more than a cost of living raise without
> actually changing jobs.

Barb Einarsen <barb -dot- einarsen -at- gnnettest -dot- com> wrote:

> Let me caution you on using another job offer to renegotiate your current
> position.

>...
> I believe in a more up front approach:
> * request what you want, and if that fails
> * indicate what you need (without threatening that you will look for other
work), and if that fails
> * look for other work that will offer you either what you need, or what
you want

Rick Kirkham replies:

I fail to see how this approach is any more "up front" than "using another
job offer to renegotiate your current position." The slang "up front" refers
to not hiding anything. No one's proposing hiding anything.

OK, I am a manager of tech writers and I also write/manage about 6000 pages
of tech docs myself. I have a staff of six writers. This year we gave out
raises in the 8-13% range across the board with bonuses of about the same.
We don't always do this, but we are a flush company and I believe in
rewarding people. The salaries we have here are above average for the area.
So to Maggie I say that there are companies out there that do give good
raises.

So in response to Mike, my job as manager is not to pay them as little as
possible but it is to put together the best team I can assemble and make
sure they are happy. This means getting them the equipment they need and
the money they deserve. My staff is quite happy and I don't plan on having
any of them leave. In fact, in 15 years of managing writers, I have had
only one leave me for greener pastures and that was to get a managerial
promotion. That is not to say I haven't fired writers. I have fired two over
the past 15 years.

Generally, everyone gets a cost of living raise + raises for merit. This
year we kicked ass and everyone merited a big raise (the largest was about
13%).

Finally, because of my managerial philosophy, I expect to know about any
problems with my staff well before they are seeking employment elsewhere.
If someone needs a change of pace, I try and work it out with them. If
someone thinks they need a salary adjustment, we try and work that out as
well. But if I had an employee come in with another salary offer and say
she/he is leaving the company unless I meet the offer, I would feel somewhat
hurt. It feels a bit like blackmail, although I do understand the problem
if you were being underpaid to begin with. I keep on top of local salaries
(this is a managerial duty). Occasional blips, like Sun and Level3 hiring
30 writers at California salaries in a locally depressed market, cause some
consternation, but generally Vidiom can continue hiring writers above the
average. I have no problem with people leaving my employ for greener
pastures. I would wish them well and give them good reviews and
recommendations.

I guess what I am trying to get at is that managers and employees do not
have to be at odds with each other. Antagonistic relationships are two-sided
and perpetuate a system in which job hopping for better pay is a viable
answer to one's desire for a better situation.

I know I am lucky, but I also have been working the system for 15 years in
three different companies with better success as I go along.

Walden Miller
Director of Engineering Services
Vidiom Systems


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