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Fees and Salaries are excellent topics; however, I think there is
so much more to what we are "paid" than just money. Atmosphere,
stress level, commute, benefits, and hours worked all played a
part in what pay I was willing to accept. And, of course, the
experience and expertise required will affect our pay rates.
Determining what my time is worth has been a journey for me. I
had a high-stress, high-benefit, low-paying job at a big company
doing system administration. My time was not worth doing that
job. So, I set out to contract. I decided the rate I wanted and
the rate I was willing to work for. I would adjust it up or down
depending on the situation. When I needed money and couldn't find
an ideal contract, I would accept a lower-paying SHORT-TERM
I only had to contract for a year before I found the job I am in
now. It is ideal _for me_. I am willing to take less pay for less
stress and less hours.
My advise to anyone looking for a job or contract: the STC salary
survey (at least, the one in my area) gives a really good perspective
on what the market will bear. Within that range, determine the pay
you would like to get and the pay you would accept. Think about the
factors which might affect what you are willing to accept. Now, this
is the hard part, DON'T SETTLE for less than a good match (every time
I have it has been a disaster). Find temporary solutions and keep
striving towards a good situation. If you need more experience and
skills to get what you want, find a way to get them. You will get
whatever you want. It may take time. It may take courage. It may
take some hard lessons. But you WILL get it eventually.
I will never work in a situation where I tell myself "they do not pay
me enough to do this" again. When I accepted what others told me I
was worth, I was paid it. When I decided what I was worth, suddenly
others decided I was worth that as well.
I think some form of disclosing payrates (such as the STC survey)
really helps us get a perspective on our job market. However,
getting more detailed than that is really up to each individual
person and situation.
The Tech Writer
ABM Data Systems, Inc.
(mrh -at- abmdata -dot- com)