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From the information you've provided, I'd say yes, you ARE underpaid.
A few questions--
Do you provide your own equipment (software, hardware, etc.)
Do you pay for the costs of doing business (telephone calls to office,
postage and the like?)
Do you receive any benefits (vacation pay, sick pay, insurance) from your
I wouldn't go in and DEMAND a raise. Take some samples of what you've
written and ask some technical writers or a writing manager in your area
(STC meetings are good places to meet these folk) and ask them to estimate
what the local rate is for the work you've
produced. Start interviewing for other jobs in your area as a backup. Then
talk to your present employer. Be frank, be calm. Tell 'em the reasons why
you want to stay with them (telecommuting, a more flexible schedule, etc.).
Tell 'em what rate you could get from other employers. Then negotiate. If
the employer isn't willing to raise your pay closer to market, you'll need
to decide if you want to leave. If you do want to leave, PLEASE make sure
that you state it in terms of compensation--you feel--and there is
evidence--that you aren't being compensated equitably. Don't make it
personal and get into an argument. Remember there is always room for
negotiation. You could accept a smaller raise for stock or for a change in
hours or for something else you'd like.
Please let us know what happens!