Re: Did I overreact?

Subject: Re: Did I overreact?
From: doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2006 18:56:12 -0700

On Tuesday 30 May 2006 12:07, Kapoor, Shelly wrote:
> A recruiter called me last week to discuss a tech. writer position at a
> company. She waxed eloquent about this "billion-dollar" company, its
> values etc. When we got around to discussing the compensation package,
> she quoted a figure of 24 dollars an hour. Needless to say, I was
> quite peeved to learn that this "supposed billion dollar company" was
> offering me peanuts in exchange for my services.

I got 'quite peeved' with a recruiter once. The following transcript is based
on that formative experience. If you got as 'quite peeved' as I did, and
your "victim" was as sucky as mine, you can probably forget about ever
working for that agency.

Disclaimer: All recruiters but one are quite fair. Call me.

The following is absolutely true enough. I will divulge names on a
need-to-know basis.

I was sitting with a recruiter who had asked me to come talk about some
contracts. I had been to their offices once before, to take the editing test
they use to screen applicants. I guess I passed the first test, since they'd
call me back to talk about work.

Recruiter: You say on your resume that can create custom software installers.
I have an in-house project that needs someone to create an installation
program using the new 32-bit SDK. The deadline is one week away, so we're
anxious. Are you interested?

Me: Ordinarily, I'd say yes. But I've looked at the new SDK and tried to
port some of my 16-bit projects to the new 32-bit API, and it is ugly. I
can't promise you I'll be finished in a week, sorry.

Recruiter: Oh. But you said on your resume that you do ...

Me: I do create installers, yes. I have, right here in my portfolio, an
example of a very complex one I recently created for a client. It uses some
of my custom functions to check for installed fonts, install the custom fonts
used by the software if they aren't already on the computer. Want to see it?

Recruiter: If you can't, you can't. Let's move on. I have another contract
to discuss with you. The client is willing to pay an hourly rate for this
contract of $xx/hour. When can you start?

Me: My rate is about 15% higher.

Recruiter: Oh? Now you're asking for a raise, before you start? I don't
think it is reasonable to expect a 15% raise. Back in Ohio , people don't get
that big a raise. I certainly haven't ever gotten a 15% raise. No no no.

Me: As far as I know, that 15% is more money than you make at all. I don't
care what you make. I am not here to talk about your salary requirements, am
I? I have a mortgage, a new baby, three years of grad school student loans,
and my car is a 20-year old beater. Besides, as you must know, this client
tracks each contractor's rate--if I take the work at this low rate, their
policy is to lock my rate for a year. After a year they'll allow a 10%
increase. What can I say? I'll work for them, but my rate is MY rate, it is
what I need to make ends meet. I know this client will pay what I am asking.
It isn't too much. Now, if it isn't asking too much of you, let's stay
focussed on business...?

Recruiter: Fine. I'll have to talk to my boss, and we'll see what we can

Me: I'll be waiting to hear back about the rate.

Recruiter (later, to boss): Boo-hoo-hoo. He was rude and insulting to me, AND
he lies on his resume. I don't think we should ever call him again.

Boss: Absolutely not, put a note in his file. Make sure that it instructs all
recruiters that they're not to call him.

Me (a week later): Hmmm, no news yet from the recruiter. I'd better give
them a call...


Have fun,

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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