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  1. #1
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Should I be compensated for additional skills?

    Hello everyone,

    I work as a web designer / developer. I am responsible for the design, XHTML and CSS of the websites at the company I work for. I get paid $10/ hour and $15 / hour after 40 hours. I work a minimum of 45 hours a week and often up to 50. Recently I have begun studying ASP.NET on-the-clock in my free time as approved by the company. I do not have a degree and I'm only 19 but I have been actively designing and developing for profit since the age of 15.

    The company now wants me to use the learned skills to build applications and do back-end development. I was only recently raised to $10/ hour from $9/hour about 2 months ago after my performance review.

    The company doesn't seem to think I deserve additional compensation for this skillset based on what I have seen, but I havent directly approached management about it yet. They are the type of company in which tries to make the employees do many jobs without further compensation to avoid hiring additional resources.

    Should I accept the fact that they don't want to compensate me for this skillset because they let me learn this on-the-clock... or should I push for further compensation?

    This company is very touchy about this type of issue and I'm worried that they will potentially be upset that I requested a raise so soon after my last.

    If I should request further compensation, what should I use as leverage? I'm fairly certain they believe they can deny me and I will go back to my desk and shutup because I don't have other offers.

    Additionally, should I complete a project or two with this new technology before requesting compensation or should I push for it before agreeing to use it? I've already been asked to create a system with ASP.NET and agreed - but have not started - just nearing completion of my studying on the subject. I'm afraid that if I use this technology without requesting further compensation that it will become an expected task of mine without any thought of monetary benefit, as things have in the past.

    Thoughts?

    Alex
    Alex Stanford @alexstanford tumblog about.me in fb G+ K
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict telos's Avatar
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    As an employee, you have the right to ask for a raise. As a company, they have the right to deny it or accept it.

    Just because you're learning it (or know it) does not automatically qualify you for a raise. It's got to be worth it to the company - it's the simple principals of supply and demand.

    You're only leverage is leaving to find another job, and making them spend the time and money to find someone to take your place. You'd have even more leverage if you have another job waiting for you. But in this economy, the company definitely has the upper hand.

    You need to prove to them why you're indispensable to their company. If you can't do that, there's no reason for them to give you a raise, or even keep you hired.

  3. #3
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Start looking for another job. Seriously. For design, (X)HTML and CSS work alone, you should be getting paid more than $10/hour. $15/hour should be the bare minimum, and that's assuming a low cost of living in your part of Ohio (may not be the case). Now you're adding ASP.NET to the mix? Toss in Microsoft's SQL Server and you'll be in high demand, regardless of age or education given that you've already got over four years real world experience.

    Whatever you do though, don't quit the job you have until after you've accepted a better one. And when you do, make sure you leave on good terms - you never know when they'll come in handy (perhaps as a freelance client they can offload extra work to, or a job referral, and so on).

  4. #4
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telos View Post
    As an employee, you have the right to ask for a raise. As a company, they have the right to deny it or accept it.

    Just because you're learning it (or know it) does not automatically qualify you for a raise. It's got to be worth it to the company - it's the simple principals of supply and demand.

    You're only leverage is leaving to find another job, and making them spend the time and money to find someone to take your place. You'd have even more leverage if you have another job waiting for you. But in this economy, the company definitely has the upper hand.

    You need to prove to them why you're indispensable to their company. If you can't do that, there's no reason for them to give you a raise, or even keep you hired.
    Your response feels extremely generic, as if it doesn't even take into account the possibility for variables within a given situation.

    On a side note, the company I work for doesn't seem to believe that it's appropriate for an employee to request a raise. It seems they think that an employee should only get a raise when offered by the employer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz View Post
    Start looking for another job. Seriously. For design, (X)HTML and CSS work alone, you should be getting paid more than $10/hour. $15/hour should be the bare minimum, and that's assuming a low cost of living in your part of Ohio (may not be the case). Now you're adding ASP.NET to the mix? Toss in Microsoft's SQL Server and you'll be in high demand, regardless of age or education given that you've already got over four years real world experience.

    Whatever you do though, don't quit the job you have until after you've accepted a better one. And when you do, make sure you leave on good terms - you never know when they'll come in handy (perhaps as a freelance client they can offload extra work to, or a job referral, and so on).
    Dan, it is indeed extremely cheap to live here in Ohio and I'm a young, single, male. While this is not justification in my mind, it is in the companies.

    Now, I agree I should look for another job. This is is where new questions arise...

    First of all, I'd never leave the job without another job waiting.

    Second, I don't own a computer that does not belong to this company due to personal catastrophe. Does this hinder me in switching jobs?

    Third, I think it would be wise of me to apply throughout the nation as I could likely find more opportunities and better opportunities in cities such as New York, Chicago, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, etc. (I have no personal ties to Toledo, Ohio - just the company I work for. I would gladly move somewhere else for a better opportunity) but I do not have the financial stability to afford relocation. Would an IT company hiring someone with my skill set generally be willing to pay for relocation?

    Fourth, I do not have a resume, don't know how to make one and I'm not sure I'd have a lot to put on it. I have a few years freelance experience (with little record of the work left due to past negligence) backed up by about a year and a half of corporate work. What do you think of this?

    Any thoughts?
    Alex Stanford @alexstanford tumblog about.me in fb G+ K
    TechTalkin The Premier Community for Technology Enthusiasts and Professionals
    Full Ambit Media Zero Sacrifice Web Design & Development; Made in the USA @fullambit in fb G+ K

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict telos's Avatar
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    Alright then, Alex, let's consider the "variables":

    1. You don't own a computer.
    2. You don't have another job waiting.
    3. You don't have a resume.
    4. The company you work for doesn't like employees to ask for raises.
    5. You're just barely starting to learn ASP.NET.
    6. You can't afford relocation.


    It seems the odds are stacked pretty steeply against you. I agree with Dan, however; if you can learn ASP.NET and MS SQL Server, you have a great thing going for you.

    Until then, you're only worth what the next guy is willing to do the job for. Hopefully, your company has a little more integrity then to just blow past you for the next cheapest guy, but companies are looking to keep costs very low in this economy.

    If it's cheap where you live, chances are pretty good that there are others with your skill-set at the same hourly rate. What would be the reason for the company to offer you a raise if that's the case?

    You have to be able to show that company why they should pay you more - what skills and resources do you bring to the team that improves the whole. Feeling like you should be entitled to it is not enough.

    I'm coming at it from an owner stand-point, not an employee, although I've been there.

    I agree with Dan again, you should start looking for another job, since this company doesn't seem to be the type of working environment that encourages employees to be open and honest. However, keep in mind the economy, and the fact that (X)HTML/CSS coders are a dime a dozen (at least here in my neck of the woods).

  6. #6
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telos View Post
    Alright then, Alex, let's consider the "variables":

    1. You don't own a computer.
    2. You don't have another job waiting.
    3. You don't have a resume.
    4. The company you work for doesn't like employees to ask for raises.
    5. You're just barely starting to learn ASP.NET.
    6. You can't afford relocation.


    It seems the odds are stacked pretty steeply against you. I agree with Dan, however; if you can learn ASP.NET and MS SQL Server, you have a great thing going for you.

    Until then, you're only worth what the next guy is willing to do the job for. Hopefully, your company has a little more integrity then to just blow past you for the next cheapest guy, but companies are looking to keep costs very low in this economy.

    If it's cheap where you live, chances are pretty good that there are others with your skill-set at the same hourly rate. What would be the reason for the company to offer you a raise if that's the case?

    You have to be able to show that company why they should pay you more - what skills and resources do you bring to the team that improves the whole. Feeling like you should be entitled to it is not enough.

    I'm coming at it from an owner stand-point, not an employee, although I've been there.

    I agree with Dan again, you should start looking for another job, since this company doesn't seem to be the type of working environment that encourages employees to be open and honest. However, keep in mind the economy, and the fact that (X)HTML/CSS coders are a dime a dozen (at least here in my neck of the woods).
    Well, you are making progress now telos.

    I would only like to point out that you referred to my skill set as "XHTML & CSS." This is not entirely true...

    I currently do all of the content copywriting, JavaScript, SEO, design and print design for the company as well.

    Outside of that, you seem to have considered the variables well. It seems you know where I'm coming from when you say the odds are stacked against me.

    I feel as if I need to find another position, but the odds seemed stacked against me. At the same time, I know that as long as I continue to work for $10 / hour I'm not going to be able to afford a computer or relocation.

    I have attached the basic resume I do have, so it can be taken into consideration for this thread.

    Alex
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Alex Stanford @alexstanford tumblog about.me in fb G+ K
    TechTalkin The Premier Community for Technology Enthusiasts and Professionals
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  7. #7
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    wwb_99's Avatar
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    Not a bad resume for 19. I think mine at that age pretty much looked like "Well, they haven't been able to charge me for anything yet."

    I agree with Dan--I wouldn't think about anything less than $15 an hour. COLA, your life status and all that matter naught, the real question is what is the market rate for someone of your skillset. Once you get ASP.NET and such under your belt, you can demand a *lot* more.

    As for the computer angle--this is one area where credit makes alot of sense. You can get a pretty solid desktop with a good monitor for $600 or so these days. Pull off a small side job and you can mark that loan paid. This isn't buying a shiny new pc to play WoW on, this is investing in a tool for your business, and the ROI can be insane in this case.

  8. #8
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Second on the desktop. Do what I did when I bought my laptop (a Toshiba Satellite Series L305-S5933). Scour Newegg.com for the best deals. Don't focus on the price so much - look for the features. I needed a "desktop replacement" notebook, so I went with power and size. 250 GB hard drive, 3GB DDR-2 RAM, Intel Pentium Processor T3400, DVD SuperMulti, 802.11b/g wireless, built in camera and microphone... granted the battery only lasts for two hours, but that's expected of a desktop replacement. It's meant to be plugged in, with the battery being a backup power source.

    The cost? $499. No taxes, no shipping charges. Just $499 straight to my door from Newegg - I could have gone for the credit option, but I wanted to ensure it was paid for OOB (out of the box).

    Now, back to NewEgg. Once you've figured out what you want feature-wise, then start looking at the price. With a few exceptions (HP, Compaq, anything containing an ATI card or AMD processor these days since AMD's quality has IMHO gone down the toilet the past few years), don't worry about the brand. Just find the best computer that matches your "wish list" at the lowest price and go from there.

    Off Topic:

    One note about Toshiba laptops - the hinges are flimsy, and will break after about a year of use if you constantly open and close the notebook - you know, treat it like a laptop. So do keep that in mind.

  9. #9
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    I don't, and won't have any credit anytime soon. I cant get enough cash together working for this amount to buy one straight-up. Living paycheck to paycheck.

    The good news: I sent my resume to a studio about 2 1/2 hours away in Michigan and they responded with interest. They asked a few questions, just sent a response back. She said she will likely be contacting me to setup an interview.

    I'll keep you guys updated as best as possible.

    Alex
    Alex Stanford @alexstanford tumblog about.me in fb G+ K
    TechTalkin The Premier Community for Technology Enthusiasts and Professionals
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  10. #10
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    I don't, and won't have any credit anytime soon. I cant get enough cash together working for this amount to buy one straight-up. Living paycheck to paycheck.
    Well that right there tells me that you need to be looking for another job.

    Good luck with the new opportunity.

  11. #11
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709 View Post
    Well that right there tells me that you need to be looking for another job.

    Good luck with the new opportunity.
    No kidding.
    Alex Stanford @alexstanford tumblog about.me in fb G+ K
    TechTalkin The Premier Community for Technology Enthusiasts and Professionals
    Full Ambit Media Zero Sacrifice Web Design & Development; Made in the USA @fullambit in fb G+ K

  12. #12
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Well bear in mind that you can't get credit if you don't start building it. A computer purchase may be a good way to start. If you're really worried about them looking at your credit history and FICO score, just keep this in mind - no credit means no prior history of being unable to pay your bills on time. As long as you keep that true, and only use credit when you otherwise have the money to spend on something (even if you have to spread the payments out), you should have a decent credit score and rating in fairly short order.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy
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    ^^^What Dan said. Moreover, if you are living on your own and paying your bills you probably do have a credit rating of some sort. Store credit is still relatively easy to get these days; you don't need to have a 750+ FICO score to buy a laptop. If you have a bank account and regular paychecks you should be golden. Speaking of bank accounts, you might also check with your bank to see if they have a starter card of some sort--many do for customers.

    One other angle--check the local craigslist freecycle options. You don't need a screaming gaming PC, a 3-5 year old box will be adequate for lightish web dev work. And for many people, PCs are a solid waste disposal issue they are seeking to solve.

  14. #14
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    wait til it's been 3 months since your raise (probably has been by now) then make a suggestion on how to improve something using your new skills. once you sell them on it explain that your skills make you a better asset to the company and ask for a raise. it can't hurt. no one dislikes a go-getter.


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