Per Diem Issue: Conclusion

Subject: Per Diem Issue: Conclusion
From: Matt Danda <mdanda2 -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 07:15:44 -0800

I just thought I'd finish my story.

A few weeks ago I posted my per diem/contract dilemma, about how I
felt I had been taken advantage of by my contract company. I
"accidentally" discovered that they were paying me less than 50% of
the billing rate. Since then, I have been aggressively pursuing this
case and as of today I believe I have reached a happy conclusion.

For about ten days I was calling the contract company leaving messages
to call me. (It seems they never answer the phones--voice mail only!)
My account rep answered two of the six messages, and was not very
supportive of my request for a 30% raise. She kept promising me a
meeting with the big boss, and she continually fell through on those
promises. Finally, in a fit of anger, I wrote a nasty (but
well-written, IMNSHO) letter to the big manager (my account rep's
boss), stating how many times they have failed to return my calls, and
that such behavior was not representative of a company that cares
about their employees.

Well, what do you know! The big manager calls me 20 minutes after the
fax went through, and took me out to lunch a few hours later. Well, I
dropped the complaining immediately (that's a separate issue...their
failure to return my calls), and spoke to him about my contract and
how I felt that I was worth more money. Fortunately, I had had the
previous ten days to polish my pitch, and I articulated rather well
IMNSHO how my skills are unique in the TW world (half-truth), how I
expect my current contract to last for seventeen more months
(half-truth), how I can get my requested rate elsewhere (a bluff, but
I was feeling cocky), and that while I understood and respected his
position as a business-person, I felt that the contract company was
making too much money off of my labor, and I wanted more money or I
would walk. Basically, I adopted the same inflated confidence and "I
am valuable to you" bravado that the recruiters used on me, when I
first started interviewing for contract work in the first place.

He offered me an hourly rate that met my demands. Today I sign the new

I did kindof risk the farm on this one, because my contract was not
too bad to begin with, even before this renegotiation. But the
contract company's take was above 50%, and that just did not seem
right. I now hope, when this contract is over, I can command that rate
again. But that's tomorrow's battle.

Now...its time to refocus back on the technical writing tasks at hand,
so I can earn my (hard-won) paycheck!


Matthew Danda
Technical Writer in Software Development
Orlando, Florida

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