I got an email today from an IT recruiter asking if I might be interested in either one of a couple of field tech positions. Both involved doing work on home PCs for people who had purchased extended warranty/service plans from retailers (Staples/Office Depot was mentioned). It sounded innocent enough. The job descriptions were pretty good and all, but one major detail remained unknown: What does it pay?
So I shot a quick reply back from my phone: “What’s the pay range?”
Most everybody I’ve ever gotten a job offer from or who have posted job listings state in clear print what the job is going to pay, usually like this: “Pay rate is $11 ~ $14 an hour, based upon experience,” or, “Pay is exactly $17 an hour, 8 hours a day for 3 days only.” So you can at least get a ball park idea of what you will get if you pursue the offer.
His reply back to me: “Can you give me a call or do you have a number I can reach you at.”
This set a red flag off. For one, his original email to me said he found my website… apparently he overlooked the phone number that’s plastered all over it (if not the entire site). Two: He didn’t answer my question. What’s wrong with putting a pay rate down in written reply? From where I’m siting there is a lot wrong with not making this clear from the beginning. An email (printed text in general) can be honored of as part of the contract agreement. It could even be used against them in court of they didn’t hold to a promise made or high-balled their offer to entice me. But an unrecorded phone call? Who knows what kind of BS they’d throw at me. I could just imagine it: “Yes the pay will probably be X dollars. But it’s not even up to me so we’ll have to wait and see. We need you to submit your background check/W-9 paperwork first.”
After giving it some thought I decided to not call, but reply: “I appreciate your interest, but must respectfully decline. I am quite busy with other contracts as well as my own freelance work and feel that there would be a potential conflict of interest down the road. I am also suspicious about ********’s policy of not quoting pay ranges in writing.”
I’m pretty sure it was the right thing to do. There is a good chance that the job they wanted to offer me came, not with hourly based compensation, but salary based compensation. Salary (in my observations) seems to end up being unfair to most people. You often end up working more than you had expected to work and get little if any extra thanks for your efforts. And if you complain about it management will likely tell you its your problem to deal with, not theirs (which wouldn’t be their reply if you were paid by the hour).
It would be different if this job involved fixing PCs in an office environment, where usage policies were enforced and virus frequency reduced. But salary pay to fix an unlimited number of home PCs that are who knows how many miles away and infected with who knows what? I doubt I’d end up getting a fair break. I’m glad I turned this offer down.
Friday, December 19th, 2008