Re: Grim number, just grim

Subject: Re: Grim number, just grim
From: "Jim Morgan" <Jim -dot- Morgan -at- portalplayer -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 10:33:57 -0800

Emily Berk queried:

> Additional Information
> Salary: from USD 35.00 per hour
> Is living in Seattle THAT inexpensive???

No--we have high housing costs, though not at Silicon Valley levels.

That said, I was job-searching in Seattle this time a year ago, and now
am on the other side of the hiring fence. If I may take the devil's
advocate position for a moment, it would be possible for a junior writer
to meet the written criteria, and I don't see $35 as being unreasonable
for someone who had taken a C++ course ("familiarity"), landed their
first job in the wireless industry (easy to do here), participated in a
usability study at their old job, and doesn't have a college degree.
That's $73K, a salary the finest senior tech writers I know would kill
to earn in a place with a similar cost-of-living (an isolated enclave in
New Mexico). And contrary to popular belief, there are agencies that
provide decent benefits (not many, I grant you). If they have a senior
person on staff, they may just be looking for a junior writer.

So the ad COULD be saying, "If we're lucky enough to find a junior
writer who meets our basic requirements, we feel $35 plus moderate
benefits is adequate," and I think they would be right. What it does say
is "from USD 35.00," indicating a realization that they may have to pay
more. In my experience, the agency customers advertising at that rate
were usually willing to pay $40 or more plus the agency's cut.

Sadly, I must admit that what they're PROBABLY saying is either that
they want a TW god or goddess and don't know anything about
documentation costs (including labor) for high-quality work, or that
they don't care about high-quality work. :-(


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