Asking for a raise/compensation: HELP (show me the money)

Realizing that I am a verbose creature and not having any experience in doing this, I’m enlisting your aid, Dopers.
The short version is this: [ul][li]My company sent me out-of-town to a client and I’ve been here going on 11 months even though I have a 50% max-travel agreement with them. Related thread []Nobody, company-wide, got a raise this year, so I’m sitting still on the salary I hired in last year, which was comparable to that of the job I quit. [] I quit my old job to move back to Columbus, not because I had a burning desire to take this current job. []It appears I’ll be here at least until years end, regardless of whether they can arrange a replacement or not (training time.)[/ul]Here’re my question- [list=1][]Should I ask for a lump-sum or per-hour increase? I’m salary but bill my time on an hourly basis (weird, but I get O/T, so…)[]How much do you think I should ask for?[/li]//////////// money talk to follow, so if you think it is tacky, skip this ************
[sub]I make $50,000, or between $24.50 - $25/hour, though, as a consultant, they bill me out at $98/hour.
I’m tempted to simply ask for a $5/hour increase, but that seems a bit high (though really nice.)
My apartment in Columbus, that one I’ve not lived in since last November, runs $800/month, so I’ve wasted almost $9,000 on that while down here. $5/hour would conveniently cover that cost and leave me with no bills (apt. here is paid by client.)[/sub]
/////////////////////////////**********************************[/list=1]So, here’s the dialog that’s gone between us so far (1 &2) and the last bit is where I’m at now. Thanks in advance, folks.

So…what now?

I would look at alternatives. Send your resume out and find out how much you could get elsewhere. If you find something better then you go back to your current employer and talk about it, or you can take the new job, which ever is best for you. Without a new offer you really have no real leverage, and they can make excuses until you quit or stop bothering them. They might be counting on the economic downturn to keep you quiet. Fear of losing your job can keep almost anyone quiet. Having another offer lets you shout to the rooftops.

In a situation like yours there is another generally frowned upon alternative. Depending on the agreement and the relationship between your employer and their client, you might be able to go to the client and cut a better deal. Most of the time this is difficult because of an legal agreements that they have with each other, or if there are multiple consultants. Sometimes, due to a variety of factors, the relationship decays and it becomes possible. If it is possible, you could ask them directly for $85 or $90 per hour plus the housing cost, and then pay a third party to do the tax/health/etc out of your pocket. You end up better, they end up better, and your employer ends up worse. It’s nasty, but it happens when the agencies don’t take proper care of both their employees and their clients.

I would update my resume and see how loud I could really be, personally.

I second Don. You’ve got some time, and you are gainfully employed so it shouldn’t be that difficult to find something new. Once you have something lined up in Columbus that would be acceptable, go back to them and explain that you’ve received an offer and that they have the option of keeping you at a higher rate, or take off. Or, if the new thing is truly that much better, just leave.

This is also a great time to make a shift if you want to do something a little different than QA. There are more lucrative things that you would certainly be qualified for.

Actually, I have been interviewing.

I have leverage because I can, literally, walk away and quit. If I do, they lose a cash-cow (this client is potentially huge.) I can go back to manufacturing (I’m in tech now), my old company has asked after me twice in the last year.

Two things against working directly for the client are 1) I’d still be stuck in Kentucky (bad) and 2) I singed a thing with me company saying I can not go to work for a client for 18 months after leaving, though I don’t know that means leave the client or my company, but either way, I could be sued- bad again.

They, my company, has asked me what I want in the way of compensation and that is what I’m working on/trying to figure out.

If I were in your shoes I would ask them to cover 100% of your expenses that are incurred by staying in Kentucky. I guess I’d start with the full Kentucky rent, plus an inconvenience per diem to cover long distance phone calls and travel home at a reasonable interval. If there are any other regular costs that you incur by maintaining two homes (double phone, ISP, electric, whatever bills?) add them in there too. You’ve been doing it long enough you should be able to come up with a solid list.

Good luck with the interviews.

I’m shooting from the hip because there are so many unknown variables but would/could you find access to comparbles for other folks in your field and position? (Or maybe even in your company?) Sure, the economy’s in a temporary slump but you’re still a cash cow, trained and there. That’s leverage.

My guess? Ballyhooed company raise caps are window dressing. Fact is, some folks are simply more valuble than others. They ALWAYS have room–and discretionary funds–to negotiate when it’s in their own self-interest. Thus the double-bind: those who get more are sworn to secrecy, making it a pure bitch to do comparables.*

If possible, document what it would cost them to recruit, hire, promote, train, relocate, etc. a replacement for you in relation to what you’re asking. (Don’t leave out consistency, customer satisfaction, etc.–those are killers.)

But…don’t bluff. You’re already interviewing for a fall-back option.* Then negotiate. And go for top dollar. It gives you wiggle room. If their voices don’t raise at least one octave, they aren’t taking you seriously. If they go hard-line on you, walk. They’re either cluelessly rigid or a foundering ship you’d be better off escaping anyway.

Lump sum or hourly? Depends on how much OT’s involved–and how far you can see yourself riding with the same company. I’d be inclined to go for the OT payout but YMMV.

  • Don’t sweat the non-competition lawsuit thing. If you’re valuble enough to sue, you’re valuable enough to keep. Managers are about money; they’d rather singe off their collective testicle hair with a blowtorch than get into legal fees. It’s a bully tactic. If they invoke it, hit 'em with a shark smile and few enigmatic references to your legal counsel.

** Be suspicious of industry journals. They’re aimed at industry manangers.

It’s mind poker. Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen. Then keep in mind organizations have tidy slush funds, an almost sexual attachement to the status quo and strangling red tape for middle managers.

Knock 'em dead, kid.


slacker, I actually have a decent deal: the apartment here is paid for (by the client, my company doesn’t pay a thing), my groceries and all utilities are covered and I get paid for milage while here. It’s really not bad as far as that goes, it’s just not Columbus, which is the whole reason I took a job with this company in the first place.

Veb- the thing about the guys they have sent resumes for is that they are crazy over-qualified. I guess one of our bigger projects just ended and they have some heavy-hitters heading toward the “bench.” These are guys with years and years of experience, versus me who literally started in tech with this job (after years in manufacturing, QA and ISO-9000.) 'Course, most are on H1-B visas (or whatever) and, though I don’t know that it’s legal, the client prefers to have people that assimilate into a group a bit better than the people on visas have tended to do. Hey, it’s their choice, they love me because I hang out like I’m actually one of them (lunches, BBQ’s, birthdays and the like.) Anyhow, training of the new guy isn’t an issue save that they would have to learn the clients software.

Like I said, I can just walk, coast for almost a year if the job market really is dry. I’d just make sure they realize that they would likely lose the client (cash-cow) if they lose me in bad blood. Not a threat, just a statement of fact.

Ugh, sorry if I’ve lost the sense of this post, it’s time for bed.

Not to sound cynical (translation: I am) qualifications and efficacy are in the eyes of the beholder, i.e. the customer. You aren’t belittling the capabilities of your competitors. They’re great folks and woulda been equally embraced. But you’re already there. To be blunt, you got squatting rights. Play it.
Besides, there’s experienced=fogey vs. new=flexible. Neither is wrong but don’t let it psych you. You’ve been doing the job and doing it well. That’s worth something! Don’t underestimate what you’ve done over these past months. (The gray-backs assuredly won’t.)


Sorry, were we discussing something…?



Thanks again, slacker and Veb. So, WRT your opinion: ask for one-time cash or hourly AND how much, do you think?

Just your opinion so i can get some sort of guage (gage?).

Frist off, thanks also to Engineer Don, sorry I missed you in the last post.

Next: I sent out my “request” about five minutes ago. I asked for an amount equal to the rent I’ve spent…actually, here:

<GAH!> that looks pretty wordy. I read it over a bunch of times, but it said everything I wanted so I left it like that, now though… Oh well, it’s done.

Thank you again, folks, for your input, as it was.

Wish me luck (please!)

I have a personal experience that might be of interest, or not.

About a year ago my compnay was bought by another. At that time my manger promised to persue a raise for me. At the time I was about 10% below local market average. I liked the company and the work so it was no big deal, but if I would rather make more money than less.

Several months passed. The work piled up. My four person team dropped to just me. About this time I got an interview and eventually an offer, with about a 15% raise. As nothing seemed to be happening on my request for a raise, I tendered my resignation (on a Thursday). But I did not yet accept the new offer. When I handed my resignation to my local manager I let him know in no uncertain terms that I was not excited about the opportunity, but felt I needed to take it for the money. I then called and told the new company I would need until Monday to consider the position.

At the time I was the only IT employee at this site and my leaving would have VERY adversely affected, development and product distribution among other issues. By Monday I had recieved a 20% raise. Nothing like knowing you are valuable. Now, I couldn’t do the same thing now. I have trained three new co-workers and am nowhere near as individually vital as I was at that time.

Hopefully it will turn out as well for you as it did for me. I would continue to push for the raise rather than the bonus/lump sum. In the long run the raise will be more valuable.

Good luck. Your numbers sound reasonable, and geez, you are wordy. Ever considered lawschool? :slight_smile: