Re: Low Pay vs. No Pay

Subject: Re: Low Pay vs. No Pay
From: Chris <cud -at- telecable -dot- es>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 10:59:44 +0200

Actually, I think you can flip burgers for more than min wage in Manhattan and around... I would certainly expect that to be true. I would definitely *not* write for $10.00 an hour - the work's too hard. Data input, maybe. Writing - no way. You would do better finding a co-op or some political organization that needs volunteer writers/dtpers, and hope they bring in doghnuts once and a while. And find a night-job flipping burgers, waiting tables, delivering pizza, or checking in guests at the local motel.
I have done many types of work (all the above included), and I honestly believe the hourly rate I charge for writing is perfectly fair. The work is hard enough, and consumes my off-time, too. It requires specialized knowledge, and an ability to come up to speed with new technologies. The project contributes to the employment of a good number of people, many of whom make more than I do. The end result generally sells for a price that is at least commensurate with my fees. (From 1998 through 2000, the Forbes 400 companies increased their wealth by an average of 1.9 million a day. I find it hard to believe labor is over-priced.)

This isn't to say I think the min wage is fair, BTW. But that's another discussion, and I don't want to be castigated on the list.

It's a fine line, we walk. Most of us on this list have a need to eat
and the safety nets may not be as secure as we all hope they would be. I
have seen ads in the NY area at $10 to $12 per hour for Tech Writers
with at least five years experience. I sincerely question how much value
a company places on someone who would work at that level of pay. I also
question how much value a person who works at that rate places on
themselves. I would rather flip burgers for a smidgen above minimum
wage, then sell my extraordinary professional skills for less than what
they are worth.

Chris Despopoulos, maker of CudSpan Freeware...
Plugins to Enhance FrameMaker & FrameMaker+SGML
cud -at- telecable -dot- es

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