Yet another perspective on low wages

Subject: Yet another perspective on low wages
From: Matt Danda <mdanda2 -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 05:58:24 -0700

Here's a wake-up call for you'all:

All tech writers make around $100,000 a year. If you are not, than
someone else is taking your money:

1. Contract company. If you get your paychecks through a contract
company, and you make, say, $50,000 a year, guess where the other half
goes? In the contract companies pocket!

2. Learner's fee. If you are a newbie with less than 2 years of
experience, you are subject to a learner's fee of $60-$80,000 a year.
This is a cruel fact of life, but should only be temporary.

3. Stability tax. If you refuse to interview for other jobs, or refuse
to leave your current job, you are paying a tax for the stability. The
employer keeps the difference between your salary and the $100,000 you
are really worth.

4. Confidence fee. If you are reluctant to "start over" at a new
company with a new project and a new development team, you are paying
a "low confidence" fee. (This might also be interpreted as an
"Employee Loyalty" fee, which is really the same thing.)

5. Human resources penalty. If your current employer won't raise your
salary to $100,000 immediately, it's because that raise will throw off
the entire Human Resources salary structure for the entire company.
Its easier for HR to say no to you and bring in a new writer at $50/hr
than to give you a $50,000 raise. Thats life...accept it and move on.

6. The "I make what I need" syndrom. If your first response to this
salary issue is, "Well, I make what I need to be happy," than you are
first in line to be ripped off! Well, wait a minute. Ignore that
remark, and send me your resume. I'll start a tech writing contract
company and hire you! Then I'll pay you what you need to be happy, and
I'll keep the rest. Ha!

Tech writers are in demand and are essential for some businesses to
succeed. A skilled writer that produces good work is making $100,000.
If not, than someone else is capitalizing off that labor.

Small Print
This discussion assumes you are good at your work, and able to produce
good output in reasonable timeframes.

Personal Comment
Perhaps I am being dramatic and somewhat Marxist (ie companies are
unfairly capitalizing off the tech writer's labor), but I take the
risk of being PROVOCATIVE in order to get a point across.

BTW, I am not at $100,000 a year yet. But the gap narrows....

Have a happy holiday,

Matthew Danda
Technical Writer in Software Development
Orlando, Florida

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