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The Almighty Buck IT

Getting Paid Fairly When Job Responsibilities Spiral? 495

Posted by timothy
from the for-an-honest-day's-work dept.
greymond writes "I was originally hired as an Online Content Producer to write articles for a company website as well as start up the company's social media outlets on Facebook and Twitter. With budget cuts and layoffs I ended up also taking over the website facilitation for three of the company's websites (they let go of the current webmaster). During this time the company has been developing a new website and I was handed the role of pseudo project manager to make sure the developer stayed on course with the project's due date. Now that we're closer to launch the company has informed me that they don't have the budget or staff in place to set up the web server and have tasked me with setting up the LAMP and Zend App on an Amazon EC2 setup. While it's been years since I worked this much with Linux I'm picking it up and moving things along. Needless to say I want to ask for more money, as well as more resources (as well as a better title that fits my roles), but what is the best way to go about this? Of course my other thought is that I'd much rather go back to writing and working with marketing than getting back into IT."
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Getting Paid Fairly When Job Responsibilities Spiral?

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  • Just ask. (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated@NOsPaM.ema.il> on Saturday June 12, 2010 @10:38PM (#32554038) Journal
    You and your client need web servers to launch the site. It's as simple as that. Tell them that if they can't afford cloud-based hosting, the alternative is a local solution that YOU (or whoever you hire) will be fully responsible for, from software maintenance all the way down to help desk support. Make sure they know that this is MUCH more expensive (because you WILL charge them accordingly for this, right?) and is not recommended (because I hope you value your time).

    If I'm reading the problem right, I find it very irresponsible that the client went ahead with a website redesign project without thinking this far ahead. I hope they didn't rely on you to provide everything, because that definitely tells me they were looking for someone to abuse.

    Either way, you need to be confident and ask for what you want. At this point and with this predicament, it would be more expensive and less wise for them to find some cheaper, so you have the leeway to do this.

    I speak for the rest of us freelancers when I wish you good luck in getting it done!
  • by gink1 (1654993) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @10:57PM (#32554150)

    It seems that ever since this "Great Recession / Depression" started that a lot of things have changed.
    Our Fearless Leader has been trying to convince us it's all over now, but the EU would no doubt disagree!

    The outlook for Corporations has improved though and some are hiring key people they can find now for some slots (but pay is not too good).
    For most though, they have learned they can make a lot of money without their former staffing.

    So individuals are doing more, often much much more for the same or less money. Grab a better position if you can, but it might be tough to get the next one. DO NOT do what a friend did and quit before securing the next position. Several of my Professional friends have been out for about 2 years now. I can't understand how they are surviving!

    I was quite fortunate to find an Engineering position right at the start of the Recession and have held it.
    It's a great position - great work, learning many skills and much programming.
    After putting in the required long hours, I actually received commendations for my efforts.

    I received a raise after that, but my manager told me he had to fight tooth and nail to get me 3%.
    It was eye opening and after reflection, I consider myself quite lucky.

    The #1 Goal of ALL Corporations is to maximize profits. Why wouldn't they take full advantage of the current employment situation?

  • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @11:10PM (#32554224) Homepage Journal
    He entered the comment in code mode.

  • by /dev/trash (182850) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @11:21PM (#32554312) Homepage Journal

    have you not heard? The economy sucks! No one is hiring!

  • Re:Bad, Bad Idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by xmundt (415364) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @02:22AM (#32555088)

    Greetings and Salutations...
              Haw! I KNEW that when I wrote that line, I was going to get a response like this. Please note that my point was VERY NARROWLY focused on the controls of the backhoe...not the job as a whole. I have a great deal of respect for the skilled trades-person, as they can be craftsmen of the first order. I have seen (and happily paid) heavy equipment operators who have been able to manipulate their machines with the delicacy and accuracy of a surgeon's scalpel. And, since I have a fair number of hours on a backhoe myself, I am VERY aware of the challenges of that sort of task.
                However...to my broader point...how did those artists GET to that point? Partly from a natural gift, I am sure...but MOSTLY through years of seat time manipulating those levers and moving that earth. I am also QUITE sure that every one of those artists will have a story or two of when they were a newbe, and, how they produced some pretty impressive disasters by digging in the wrong place, or mis-judging the stability of their tool. We are all there at one time....and it takes time to get that level of skill.
              Dave Mundt

  • by they_call_me_quag (894212) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @02:47AM (#32555160)
    Every time your boss hands you some new responsibility ask him "which of my current responsibilities should I push to the bottom of my prioritized list so that I can take on this new responsibility?" Be persistent... he needs to provide an answer. Explain that you can only make a small number of tasks (1-3) your "top priority" and everything else will either get worked on sporadically or fall by the wayside entirely. Force him to prioritize... that's his job. Be sure to get this in writing (email).

    Learn to tactfully say "no". I do this ALL THE TIME at my job. I explain that my primary duty is too important to the company for me to get distracted by some additional work. I simply refuse to be assigned the work. This only works if you are really good at your core duties and are not easily replaceable. It also help if you generate revenue. (Suck on that, developers).

    Start looking RIGHT NOW for the job you really want. When you find it, drop this one like the stinking bag of shit it is. Life is too short to hate your job... you could get brain cancer next year and die within 18 months... why spend your time between now and then being miserable?
  • Re:Bad, Bad Idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vectormatic (1759674) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @04:39AM (#32555448)

    It could be that the bosses don't have anything extra to pay him or hire more people.

    In which case the business is likely going down, and you are better of finding that out through a raise-negotiation, then by showing up to a locked down office with a "closed due to bankrupcy" note on the door...

    If you go about a raise-negotiation politely (dont start with demanding X percent), it can end in three ways:
    1) No, sorry we simply cant afford it, even though you took over much more work
    2) No, and pack up your stuff, you are fired
    3) Yes, figures to be discussed

    One could argue that in cases 1 and 2, you are better of getting out of there anyway, in case 1 you might soon be out of a job anyway, in case 2 it is very doubtfull you would want to work for people like this.

    this all is assuming that you are paid under 'market-value' for what your tasks actually are, so it is probably very wise to look around a bit first. It will help you make a well-funded argument for the raise, and a realistic demand, and will help you find a job much faster when shit goes pear-shaped

  • Re:The main issue (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @04:49AM (#32555488)
    "When I was last in the corporate world, we strictly acquired perks like nicer chairs and our own white boards via commando-style raids. We would actually have strategic planning meetings for the raids. The 8 pm Network Operations shift change was our standard time, and the 5th floor our standard target."

    In most of the companies I know, you'd be written up or fired within 8 hours of pulling such a stunt.
  • Re:what not to do (Score:3, Informative)

    by John_Sauter (595980) <John_Sauter@systemeyescomputerstore.com> on Sunday June 13, 2010 @07:11AM (#32555908) Homepage

    The company clearly had no idea what the job was worth, and your ability to step in and take over made them think it was worth much less than it really was. After you left, they found out how much it was worth when they hired someone. That person either cost what you were asking, or did a horrible job.

    I dropped by a year after they let me go and learned it was the latter—my friends told me that the quality of service had declined. However, they did start obeying the part of the contract which provides that people who are given temporary extra responsibilities get a temporary bump in pay.

  • Re:The main issue (Score:3, Informative)

    by ImOnlySleeping (1135393) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @08:27AM (#32556180)
    The company doesn't need to pay the going rate because this guy is doing it for less.
  • by dave562 (969951) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @11:53AM (#32557122) Journal

    The most elegant approach that I was able to devise was to ask for a new title and job description to reflect all of the new responsibilities. In my case the IT department was reduced by 50% and I absorbed a lot of my previous boss' responsibilities, in addition to responsibilities from other departments. By taking the initiative to ask for those things I let the HR department know that I knew I was doing a lot more than was in my job description, and I wasn't being officially recognized for it. HR departments are notoriously ambivalent about changing job titles because doing so is a tacit acknowledgement that the position needs to be compensated the market rate for whatever the job title is.

    I believe that asking for a job title change is the most subtle, "safe" way to bring up the disparity of your situation with the rest of the organization. By doing that you get to ask what is probably really on your mind.. "Are you going to pay me what I'm really worth?" If they flat out deny you even a title change, you know you're completely replaceable, or at least HR believes you are. If you get a title change and new job description you are in a better position to ask for a raise next year to reflect your increased responsibilities, and your proven track record of meeting them. In my case, I was given a raise along with the title change.

    If money is really important to you and you get a title change but no raise, the new title puts you in a better position to find a new job. When I was sorting things out with my company I put my resume online just in case. Despite deciding to stay put where I am, I still get calls from recruiters a couple of times a month. I highly suggest posting your resume on an appropriate forum and responding to a couple of job postings. Figure out for yourself whether or not the market has any interest in you. The odds are that if you are competent enough to pick up the slack of a down sizing, you are worth significantly more than you're currently making. I've had good luck with Dice.com.

  • Re:The main issue (Score:3, Informative)

    by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @12:15PM (#32557254)

    What I do is go on reliablilty first, time of completion of tasks, if it is a male or female: IE I have given raises and next thing I know she is preganant and that pisses me off

    As a non-CEO of a non-Corporation I can tell you that you should have consulted your attorneys before admitting to that, and if you really think /. is anonymous...enjoy your golden parachute.

  • by they_call_me_quag (894212) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @05:59PM (#32559160)
    > I was so astonished by this statement that I didn't know how to respond

    And that was your first mistake. By agreeing to this ridiculous statement you lost all leverage.

    Some simple but effective ways of handling this:

    (1) Tell her, "Let's try this again... I am going to leave the room, wait a for 30 seconds and come back in." That gives you some time to come up with a better response than "OK, I won't try."

    (2) Pretend you never heard it.

    (3) Tell her, "In that case this meeting is over." Turn around and leave the meeting.

    (4) Ask her to put that opinion in writing. If you she won't put it in writing it means she's afraid of the repercussions from above.

    If nothing else, appease her but make an ally of her boss and her boss' boss. And look for a new job.

    Instead, you did nothing and you got everything you deserved. Sorry, but that's the truth of the matter.
  • Re:The main issue (Score:3, Informative)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @06:37PM (#32559384)

    I'm pretty sure he was joking, and he's not the CEO of any major corporation. He's just playing a stereotype, which is a very accurate one BTW. He could have done a little better with his post, however. He should have talked about how denying raises gives him a bigger bonus so he can buy a bigger yacht.

  • Re:The main issue (Score:3, Informative)

    by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans.gmail@com> on Sunday June 13, 2010 @07:45PM (#32559802) Homepage

    LOL reminds me of the time I worked for Citibank. I was on the overnight shift and there were few people in the building so we regularly staged "midnight acquisition raids" on different areas of the building. He's right though, sometimes the only way to get your perks is to take matters in your own hands.

    I was at a place that used to be part of Lehman Brothers. I guess well executed commando raids may be somewhat exclusive to the financial sector. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but it feels oddly correct.

    And, to all the people who think a person would be fired for it... You seem to misunderstand the nature of the commando raid. You don't wander around going, "Hey everybody, I got my new chair by taking it!!! Everybody come look!!!" Among other things, we would steal chairs from the 5th floor, and assign them randomly to people in rows near us to see if there was any response first. Once we had used unwilling patsies for the "training missions," we were able to establish the safety parameters. The overnight guys would then assign a nice chair to the cube next to them so that they could have a nice chair overnight, but them move it to the patsy's cube during the day when anybody might be around to look for it. Because we were moving slowly, I think most people assumed that the cleaning crew was occasionally getting chairs mixed up when they pulled them out of the cubes to vacuum. When a person from our group was going to be assigned a nice chair in a commando raid, they might be seen to leave a little early, so that if there was a new chair in their cube the next morning, everybody knew they had nothing to do with it. (And we had already deployed a handful of random nice chairs to people who knew that they weren't in on it, so they would have no reason to make any accusation.)

    Also, since we were one of the only groups that was in the office late, we got to be good friends with security, so we knew for sure that the only major intelligence resource in the building was sufficiently loyal to us.

    Like a third of the department was former military. We ran clean operations.

  • Re:The main issue (Score:3, Informative)

    by fractoid (1076465) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @09:58PM (#32560478) Homepage
    Even if you DO pay them for 160 hours a week, most people can't manage more than 40ish productive hours in a week over the long term, and even during crunch time, any hours past about 80-90 hours a week ends up being increasingly unproductive.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy