RE: Negotiating for salary and enhancers

Subject: RE: Negotiating for salary and enhancers
From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: "'Pro TechWriter'" <pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2007 12:13:42 -0800

> From: Pro TechWriter

> As I have gotten older, time off is more important to me than
> an extra few $
> in salary. I have turned down jobs that only allowed 15 days
> of PTO a year
> (sick and vacation time lumped together). I work hard, and
> need time to
> recharge my batteries.
> Signing bonus money is good to ask for and some government
> agencies have
> money in place for this due to the shortage of IT
> professionals. Ask for it.

Time-off is one of the reasons why I like contracting. I used to want a
full-time, salaried position with a company, but I've learned that there are
benefits to contracting that cannot really be negotiated into full-time
positions. For example, I frequently have time-off in-between contracts
during popular vacation times and toward the end of the state fiscal year
when getting a start date for a new contract is difficult. For me, I look
at the amount of work (work hours) that I think I will have during a year
and multiply that by my hourly rate, then I compare that number to a salary
from a full-time position.

If I think that I will work about 10 paid months in the year and use my
time-off for marketing myself, honing my skills, and taking a vacation, then
I will have about 1700 paid hours per year. If I had a job offer for
$80,000 per year, then I figure that, as a contractor, if I am making about
$47 per hour, then the jobs are matched as far as salary is concerned, but
there's overhead that needs to be considered, although there are tax breaks
to help offset overhead. Time-off needs to be evaluated, but it is probably
matched too. When I look at my current contract rate, then I would want a
full-time job that surpassed the rate at 10 months because I could always
work more hours during the year.

There is a benefit to working for a company because of the illusion of job
security, although I am disillusioned with respect to job security because I
have been laid-off from many jobs when businesses closed. There is
certainly a break from having to always look for more work, but I don't know
if the skills improvement opportunities are as readily available in a
full-time job as they are in contracting. I can change my marketability and
my rate by adding new skills through training or by taking a contract that
helps me improve skills. I don't know if things like that happen as fast in
standard full-time positions as they do in contracting. But there is a
little more work for the contractor to make those opportunities.

I value my time-off, not only for "recharging my batteries" but for
improving myself and my marketability. I think that there is greater
stability in being marketable than there is being employed by a company.
But I do have that jaded perspective of having worked for companies that
close or get bought-out. I really don't think that I will ever meet an
employer that can convince me to give up contracting. Even in a tight
market when contracts are harder to find, I would rather have the freedom of
contracting than the "stability" of full-time employment.



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Re: Negotiating for salary and enhancers: From: Pro TechWriter

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