Re: Bad Salary Omens

Subject: Re: Bad Salary Omens
From: beelia <beelia -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 2009 14:32:23 -0800

Gene

Gene

It's just that I don't remember ever seeing anything that low in SV. I
subscribe to a Dice RSS feed and log into Glassdoor occasionally to stay
aware of open positions and salaries, and I haven't seen any of those
super-low salaries here.

But it is true that recruiters will squeeze every nickel out of candidates
they "find" for open positions. My experience is that if you've ever worked
for even one of them, you're on a permanent list for scattershot-emailing on
the off-chance that your very old resume matches one of their Resumix hits.
I get one of these every month or so, even though my resume hasn't been
submitted for anything in years.

But the truth is - I got my present job through a recruiter who took about
40% of my pay for 6 months, until I got offered a permanent position at my
current job. I knew it was a bad deal when I took it, but bit the bullet
because I had been out of work for 18 months (due to an accident) and had no
other options at that time. So I settled for a pittance for the chance to
prove myself, and it worked out fine, but my starting salary still wasn't
anywhere near as low as what was being discussed here.

The main problem is still perception of what value tech writers add to a
project. Now that I need help, even in my own company a program manager
suggested that perhaps I could hire an intern. All I could do is gently
explain why that was a bad idea (without getting all bent out of shape about
it), and my PM understood and backed off. But that just shows that it is
still true that even the most experienced managers in high tech have no clue
of what skills are needed when hiring a tech writer, so it's really easy to
take advantage of professionals who have limited options.

If I were out on the street again, I would do exactly what you suggest - try
to figure out how to bypass the recruiters and work on a 1099. And if that
didn't work, I'd probably hold my nose and work for an agency, because it's
easier to find a job when you already have one.

Bee

On Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 12:52 PM, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:

> These listings are always with us, even in good times (and yes, even in
> Silicon
> Valley). It's just that when times are good, you tend not to notice them
> buried
> in the better listings.
>
> Most commonly, these listings originate from some small company whose
> principals
> know little or nothing about documentation and have been sold a bill of
> goods by
> an agency that normally specializes in office temps. The agency will bill
> them
> $40-$60/hr and try to find someone, anyone, who will work for less than
> half of
> that. If you can manage to deduce who the client company is from the job
> description (the temp agencies often don't know enough about tech writing
> to
> rewrite the descriptions and just copy/paste the client's), you may be able
> to
> approach the client directly as a 1099 vendor and snag the contract at the
> same
> bill rate as the agency.
>
> Gene Kim-Eng
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "beelia" <beelia -at- gmail -dot- com>
> > Like everyone else, I'm surprised, but I'd be REALLY surprised if the
> > location of these jobs was in Silicon Valley or another urban center. Can
> > you give us a ballpark? What part of the country are these jobs in?
>
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References:
Bad Salary Omens: From: Pro TechWriter
RE: Bad Salary Omens: From: Sharon Burton
Re: Bad Salary Omens: From: Bill Swallow
Re: Bad Salary Omens: From: beelia
Re: Bad Salary Omens: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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