Re: A Sticky Situation

Subject: Re: A Sticky Situation
From: Jane Bergen <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 09:07:44 +0000

On 20 Jan 97 at 15:33, Stephen Arrants wrote:

> A neighbor, Jean, who is also a technical writer, came to me with a
> problem. She one of two writers at a very small hardware company.
> Her manager was the only writer until Jean was hired in October
> 1996. Recently, the company hired another writer, at a salary Jean
> says is 15% above hers. The new writer has six months experience
> (compared to Jean's five years) and has never worked on a complete
> project (from start to ship).
> Jeannie is angry about the siuation and asked me for advice. i'd


My first advice to Jeannie is to go very, very carefully here. In a
lot of companies, any salary discussion is grounds for dismissal. If
there are really only a few places hiring tech writers, your friend
may be shooting herself in the foot.

Second, there are other factors involved: peripheral experience
(perhaps the newer writer has a good background in computers or
whatever is needed to do the work), education, or even that your
friend is perceived as having weak skills. Unless you work with her,
you would not know how she is perceived by her employer and fellow

I think she should raise the issue of salary ONLY at the appropriate
time, such as a next review. To do it just as the new writer is
brought on board gives a "sour grapes" aura to the argument and would
make the new writer very uncomfortable as well. If Jeannie found out
the new writer's salary, the system is probably weak enough that the
new writer would learn of Jeannie's anger. Not good for two writers
in a small company or small market.

I wish her luck.

Jane Bergen

"my opinions are my own..."
Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com
AnswerSoft, Inc.

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