Re: Low Pay vs. No Pay

Subject: Re: Low Pay vs. No Pay
From: "Melody Akins" <melodyakins -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002 01:48:26 -0500

Hi Cheryle,

You wrote...

Subject: Re: Low Pay vs. No Pay

> As someone who is about to be laid off for the second time in a year, I've
> been following this thread with great interest. Peter wrote:
> >>>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.

----------My comment----------> I can't flip burgers, as I have to work
from home so I can care for my mom. I'm a newly-unemployed junior tech
writer with three months' experience writing information security newsletter
material, and I will be glad to work for $12 an hour. I agree that those of
you who are highly skilled, should not work for less than what your
experience and skill level is worth; however, my question is, who decides
what the job is worth--and, perhaps more to the point in today's unstable
economy, who decides when the 'going rate' needs to change? The workers? A
union? The hiring companies? The media?
> I completely agree with your statements, Peter. I've seen ads for
> Technical Writer/Administrative Assistants - no joke, paying
> somewhere around that same hourly wage. It's funny that companies
> want to lump those two jobs together. I'm a good Technical Writer,
> but would make a lousy Admin!

----------My comment----------> Professional secretaries (who have always
been 'administrative assistants' of one sort or another) have always been
asked to do more than what they were hired to do. This is a fact of life in
business; pay as little as you can for as much work as you can wring out of
someone. Without 'surplus labor value,' there is no profit. Why should
this 'rule' be suspended for TWs? <cha-grins>
> Friday is my last day, and while I'm fearful of being unemployed, I plan
> take the time to really focus my job search and volunteer for either the
> STC, IABC, or some other career-related organization. I'm also going to
> finally get my Web site up and running to keep my Web design skills fresh.

----------My comment---------->
Go for it! I'm doing the same thing with Web design skills, and am studying
for the A+ and CCNA certifications so I can have something to write about
besides information security. I plan to put some newsletters and 'learner's
articles' up on the site, and would love to hear offlist from some of you
who are SMEs as well as TWs about how you got where you are. Since my site
is geared towards those who, like me, have attention problems, it's very
important that information I post contain clear goal paths, i.e., 'how it I got here...and what I do on a daily basis.' I enjoy doing this
kind of work, and will keep regular office hours while at the same time
doing what I can to find a paying gig. Keeping busy doing something I can
see the results of, keeps me out of depression.
> If by September, I *still* don't have a decent-paying tech writing
> I may be forced to take a "survival" job. But in the
> meantime I'm gonna bust my butt to try and keep that from
> happening.
> -Cheryle
> P.S.: If anyone is interested in trading Top Ramen recipes, contact me
> off-list. :-)

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