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Salary Histories 132

strcat sent us a collection of interesting links at the EE Times about the practice of Salary Histories. "I found some stories that describe why all nerds need to think twice before blindy giving their salary history to potential employers: A view on salary history from an employee stand point Here's a follow up of some people who disagreed, and his response. There is other good job hunting info here. "
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Salary Histories

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  • This is getting erie. This is like the third article in recent weeks that has been rather exact on what I'm doing in my life. Just a couple days ago I talked to my filthy headhunter about a raise, and he just laughed. We'll see who has the last laugh... :)

    One other thing besides pay that they always ask immediately is who I currently work for, supervisors, etc. It's obvious they are just farming for names to solicit themselves to, but it's still pretty pathetic.
  • Spare me. People like you make computer science the arrogance-infested major that it is today. In every class there's always that one fuck that thinks he's gods gift to programmers. It's okay to be a good programmer, but for god's sake, you don't endear yourself to anyone by jerking off about how smart you are. Not many employers will appreciate a new graduate that thinks the most beautiful programs spew forth from their own ass.
  • Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for all of the programmers blowing their "I'm a Guru" wad all over each other.
  • I'm not a EE (MIS/QA/customer support), I took my current salary ($x) and gave that to my headhunter along with my proposed salary ($y = $x+15K). While interviewing at different companies, it came out that they were willing to spend $y+10K for my position. I wound up low-balling myself!

    I was able to use this info to renegotiate with my current employer, and everything turned out happy.

    I guess the point is, know what you're making, what they're willing to spend, and what you're really worth. I think the third point is the most important, since that can't be found on some survey sheet, and probably the hardest to find out.

    I also think that people should go on the job hunting thing at least once every few years so that (a) they stay in "shape" just in case, (b) you just might find the perfect job, (c) you can find out what you're worth.
  • it'll happen - not overnight but it'll happen. Take that support job. It's a job in the industry and it will get you exposure to additional technology and experience. (Not to mention feeding you.) $12 - 20/hr. It looks better on a resume' than a job at McDonalds.

    Get A+ certified - it is inexpensive and establishes additional credentials.

    Intern with a company that offers training in the desired area of expertise. $0 - 10/hr.

    Study constantly - stay current and sharp. Offer to do jobs for your current employer that are in the area of technology and experience desired.

    Learn to cook up an impressive resume' and develop interpersonal skills. Always treat a prospective employer as your customer - with respect! Ask what you can do for them - offer services.

    Set a target earning rate for the end of each year - a reasonable one. Work towards that goal. Never, I said, never take a rate cut! If you will work for peanuts then that is all you are going to get.

    Codifex Maximus
  • too much info on your previous earnings hurting your future earnings; you end up starting the bidding low.

    You are selling your services. If you are willing to accept their first minimum offer then expect to be making a minimum rate. If you tell them that you are used to making a low $x rate then they will be armed to get the best price from you. Get it in your mind what your target rate is and settle for nothing less. Tell them above or at your target rate; if they balk then thank them, leave your card and exit stage left. If they want you and will pay then they will call you - otherwise, you are just wasting your time.

    Imagine you are selling something you own. Get the best price for it. Negotiate a little. Heck, think of a job search as something akin to an auction! Sell your skills to the highest bidder! (Remember, money is not the only form of compensation.) :)
  • Posted by Nedwin_H_Longfellow:

    The system of basing a persons salary at a new position on their salary history, instead of the market value of the person's skills in that particular area, just entrenches the need to job-hop that companies whine so much about.

    I've actually had a headhunter tell me "well, we absolutely won't give a prospective employee more than a 10% increase..." That's when you hang up the phone. Companies usually put offers out with several agencies all at once. Find one you like, and even if they don't have the job yet, they can probably find out about it. If it's the company's policy instead of the headhunter, consider yourself lucky for finding out how bad their HR department is without even having to meet the people.

    Face it, the system won't change. What you do is start looking for the next job the minute you get a new one. Eventually you'll find yourself in the situation where people tell you you're crazy for wanting more than you're currently getting. That's a nice place to be...

    If your boss makes you feel bad about leaving 3 weeks after starting, you're a sucker. Name the manager (or company) that wouldn't fire you in a heartbeat if they thought it was in the best interest of the company (or the manager). If you think you work for one I feel really sorry for you because you're seriously deluded.
  • We've interviewed job candidates with zero
    experience and asking for money than our
    managers make! Keep dreaming kids! But like
    the laws of evolution its usually the overpriced
    ones who can't hold a job for more than 3 months.
    Eventually they call themselves "consultants".
  • Naturally a manager with 6 years experience
    is worth more than a dumb ass kid fresh out
    of college with the ink on his BSEE certicate
    not even dry yet. I used to be that dumb ass
    college grad, but I never had the gaul to walk
    into an entry level job interview and ask for
    more than management level salary -- that's
    just plain stupid and not even worth entertaining,
    not even in this market.

    My beef with consultants is, from what I've
    experienced, they're better at talking then
    they are about doing. They're fast at the
    keyboard but you often have to fix or undo
    everything you paid them to do -- if they
    ever finish the project at all.

    That's just my personal perception -- not
    my employer or collegeus.
  • IMHO, engineering is 90% applied common sense and 10% specialized knowledge. CS classes are 90-100% specialized knowledge and 10% applied common sense.

    That isn't to say that CS education's not useful. It is. It's partly because a big part of the applied common sense is knowing when and where to apply what specialized knowledge, and partly because well-designed courses can actually help in acquiring some of that common sense (project labs, for example).

    One of my favorite undergraduate classes was structured more as a "humanities" class, in the sense that it had no lab component and no problem sets. Instead, it consisted of reading papers (some of which were key contributions to the field) and analyzing them in writing, in addition to two term papers that consisted of design work on a problem (note that I emphasize design work -- remember, there was absolutely no coding going on). The class was called "Computer Systems Engineering". Well, guess what -- having to analyze something, looking for its weak points, and writing cogently about it is excellent training in thinking and making decisions, which is what we're (almost) all paid to do. I loved the class, but it was not universally popular. I think some of the students considered anything not involving coding or heavy mathematics was beneath their dignity (translation: "I'm not very good at this.")

    This was essentially a liberal arts course. I saw it that way (it was not officially a liberal arts course) because it emphasized open-ended thinking over regurgitation or mental gymnastics. The fact that the subject matter was engineering design rather than constitutional law or political science or traditional literature is irrelevant; it's the methodology that counts. And for that matter, I'm glad I did take constitutional law -- aside from being a nice change of pace from pressure-cooker problem sets, the vigorous debate in class helped me to learn to organize my thinking. And that matters in *any* field.

    I'm probably not all that much better of a coder than I was 10 years ago, but I think I've honed my analytical skills by working on a variety of different projects with different people. I may not be as up to date on the latest of everything, but I'm well aware that I get asked to troubleshoot a very large fraction of the difficult, thorny problems, and I'm respected for that. Being able to consistently do something useful well is part of "proven value".

    The downside is that not everyone wants to be alerted to a possible problem down the road. Sometimes it's seen as obstructionist. Sometimes I see something that troubles me, even though I don't consciously know why, and raising a red flag that's not blindingly obvious. Then again, remarkably often, it turns out in retrospect that I was right. Sometimes it turns out that I was wrong. That's life.

    There's an excellent book published by Microsoft Press. Its author is Steve (not _Code Complete_, and I don't think it was Steve McConnell). It's targeted at project management. Unfortunately, its name escapes me. It's also rumored that Microsoft working practices don't really square with what's written in the book, but no matter. The book is very well worth reading by anyone in the engineering professions.
  • And if you're not really worth that $120K, you'll be the first to be targeted when things go sour.
  • Indeed. Coding skills won't help you solve a problem (beyond an immediate "how do I get around this stupid language bogosity?"), but good problem solving skills in general are portable to most any situation.

    The fact that it seems to be necessary for any large scale C++ project to have a C++ guru on staff is testimony to the problems with the language. And if the C++ guru actually knows what s/he is doing, that person is very well aware of the problems with the language.
  • Headhunters are pond scum that live for nothing else than to throw you into their highest paying customer's position so that they can make money off your salary.

    HR departments are in place to tell you what you aren't allowed to do. That and to make your life utterly miserable with policy "changes" and such. They're filth. They do 'research' on the 'industry average' for salaries then try to pay top talent that amount. It's a waste. They're useless. They should be shot.

    Okay, maybe they do provide a few beneficial things like (attempting to) take care of benefits and things like that. Never mind that trying to get ahold of anyone from HR is impossible because they're all out and about on recruiting trips to China, etc.

    Is it just me or do I sound a bit negative on these subjects? :P

  • Dear IRS:

    I can not tell you how much I make because my employer threatened to fire me if I do.

    Sincerely,

    Gagged.

    Dear Gagged:

    If you do not tell us how much you make, we will jail you.

    Sincerely,

    IRS

    Take your pick.
  • I remember an undergrad course I took, titled "Analysis of Algorithms". Innocent enough. Each week we had an assignment with about 3 to 4 problems, and one was ALWAYS an unsolved problem in computer science (i.e. is Ford-Johnson sort optimal for some 'n').

    We were allowed to work together on assignments, but had to produce as many "sufficiently distinct and novel" approaches to each problem as there were collaborators.

    The class very quickly dwindled to four students, one of whom solved almost all the unknown problems. He later went on to publish some interesting papers on sorting. His Masters' thesis defense was a laugh: he'd make a statement, one of his examiners would challenge it as a known unsolved problem, and he'd reply (in very halting 'VietnamEnglish', "No. Is obvious. I prove. Last month." and produce a reprint of the paper he just had published.

    Needless to say, all four of us went on to get scholarships galore, graduate degrees, and bigger and better things.

    Another seminar graduate course had us producing typed reports once a week, with 1/2 mark out of 10 taken off for spelling mistakes. I remember one assignment where I lost a 1/4 mark because an 'r' had a gap in the hook due to a faulty film ribbon used in the multiwriter printer. "You didn't proofread!," was the profs retort.

    These courses weren't typical, of course, but some of us masochists loved them as they let us clearly differentiate ourselves from the mob.

    Thanks to profs Bui and Suen at Concordia University, Montreal Canada, c. 1982-84, for all their encouragement and pushing us to our limits.

  • I don't know what school you went to, but it sounds to me like you wasted your time and money. The CS courses and math courses that I have to take are of the order of a magnitude harder than courses of many other majors at my university. Good instructors are disciplined and brilliant themselves and will force you develop and adjust your ways of thinking.

    I have observed that some schools have poor CS curriculums. I guess maybe CS hasn't aged enough for there to be enough standards from which to base a proper curriculum. Or perhaps the problem is with the instructors. Just like in math courses where there is little guarantee of finding a decent instructor inside of a university, for many subtle reasons.

    Comments about a CS degree being obsolete as soon as you get it are likewise ignorant, that is if CS is taught from the proper perspective. Meta skills never become obsolete. Standard algorithms do not become obsolete overnight. Many CS abstract models will be used for many years to come. Of course, the implementation details and standard protocols may change rather frequently. Which is why you should be left to figure these things out on your own. This is a piece of cake if you can grasp the harder, more 'permanent' information. CS should be a very difficult degree, as human ideas can become very complex. If your CS degree is considered easy at your school, maybe you should stop cheating yourself and find someplace where they get into the 'real meat' of the matter.
  • Lie. It's that simple. Companies are here to make money. .... Me too!
    Not happy with that? Fuck's sake, I don't even have to submit resumes; they kidnap me into job interviews (no kidding!).
    So who the fuck cares?
    Last time (when I was "kidnapped"), they asked me, "how much would you want". I said "I get that much, and I ain't gonna move if you don't offer anything more significant". They added 20%. I still have to send my resignation though.


  • I guess the point is, know what you're making, what they're willing to spend, and what you're really
    worth. I think the third point is the most important, since that can't be found on some survey sheet, and
    probably the hardest to find out.


    What you're really worth? Nope, it does'nt mean anything.


    Example: in France the most sought out engineers are those who come from "grandes ecoles", it's a bit like the Ivy League -- except that the teaching is not necessarily good, it's just hard to get in those. I've heard many stories of engineers coming from these and being utterly bad at their jobs. But they tend to be paid more.

  • ... and you are a sucker.
  • Nick Corcodilos rocks. He used to be a headhunter, and has been writing this column ("Ask the Headhunter") for at least a couple of years now, both on EE Times and The Motley Fool. His advice for job hunting is outstanding. I just hope everyone doesn't take it. It tends to give one quite an advantage.

    Shameless Plug: his book, "Ask The Headhunter: Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job" is superb.

    Kythe
    (Remove "x"'s from
  • Hey Mr./Ms. 99th percentile!
    Anyone over 30 (except perhaps Katz)is incapable of reading your post without laughing. Companies want you for what you can do for them right now and in the near term. By the time that long run you speak of comes around they may very well have used you up and tossed you aside for the next 20 yr. old whiz kid, or if you're with someone to whom you're still useful, maybe you'll realize then how much you didn't know now that only experience could have taught you.
    I ain't saying you ain't worth good money but unless you've had a lot of experience as an employer running the kind of business you're looking to get into, chances are really good that you haven't evaluated yourself as objectively as you think you have.


  • I'm on my sixth job in almost twenty years, and I can't remember the last time I was asked about my current salary. The question I always hear is "What are you looking for, salary-wise?". Which is tricky, because nothing knots my stomach up quicker than telling them $N where N is 25-30% more than my current salary and hearing them say "Oh, that won't be a problem".

    That said, don't forget that salary is only one part of the whole package. If the company isn't offering at least a basic medical plan (with dental) and some form of retirement benefits (401k or the like) then ask yourself what's the difference between working for this company and being an independent consultant? Besides having someone suck out 40-60% of your billing rate...

  • Go ahead and take a tech support job _if_ it's a good company.. It's a start. Do three things... 1: Work hard to the point that people know who you are and are impressed. 2: Keep looking for other work. 3: Keep learning - read, study, talk and play.

    In the past 20 months I've had three title changes, four raises, and I get several job offers each month. :)
  • by vleo ( 7933 )
    I think the best strategy is to disclose your previous salary if asked, with a correction that you should add about 10K to it. It's impossible to catch, and if you're caught you can always say that there was overtime. It does not sound good, but it works and keeps everybody happy. On the other hand your first shot should always be to try let them tell you the number - "I want to be payed whatever is budgeted for this position, it's the work that is important, not salary per se. If I like the job I will take it, if I don't - I will not, salary is not a driving factor for me"
  • There is a very simple rule here given to me by a guy I used to work for:

    "Whoever mentions price first loses."

    The correct response to asking for your salery histroy is to ask what the budgented salery range is. They probably won't tell you, but at least everyone will understand that you are not a fool.

    As for headhunters, I really don't understand what their purpose is. They troll for resumes on the net, filter out the loonies and pass them on to the client. Any fool can do that for a flat fee. Why they think they deserve a percentage is beyond me.

    Then again, I never use them. I have never had a reasonable gig through a headhunter - every single one I've worked with was an ignorant self-important waste of space hawking grim jobs. It's even fun to try to reverse engineer the copmpany/position from their description. We did this once and it was sooo much fun ;-) The job still sucked though...
  • My partner always prepares for negotiations by asking at what point we are willing to talk away. You have to be able to walk away or you are dead.

    This is why the "labor market" is such a farce - at some point is are no longer a free negotiator and must choose between starvation and an exploitative job.
  • Your future employer wants you to be somewhat forthcoming about how much money you have made in the past, but I would recommend keeping it vague.

    Past employers typically are prohibited from disclosing data about you - most won't do it anyway - they're frightened about getting sued.

    My employer won't even allow us to make referrals for people, and we're known for being liberal!
  • by Cassius ( 9481 )
    You're about to get knocked down a peg or two lad.

    Try to stay away from razor blades when it happens.
  • Bill Gates and Larry Ellison do not profess to be the world's best programmers.

    Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman might.

    Which would you rather be? Both are good, but there are huge differences.
  • You're not going to get hired with that arrogant attitude. Trust me - I don't care what apps you've written (none, or you would have mentioned them), and how high your marks are (boring - everyone gets honors these days), people have to like you to want to work with you. Its as simple as that.

    Most of programming in the real world isn't rocket science - I'd rather work with a down-to-earth programmer than one who thinks they walk on water.

    Oh, by the way, the people who believe they walk on water typically are the first to be terminated in layoffs. Simple fact kid, deal with it as you may.
  • If you're such hot-poop, you must have something up on freshmeat we can poke with a stick.

    Oh, you meant "programming" as in "using playstation"
  • If you're asked to give a minimum, ask what
    the range is for the position. And when they say,
    "between $60 and 90K", respond, "well, 90's in
    the ballpark."

  • I agree with all of these...I too work for a university. I manage the developement area for my department. I do research, program, system admin, supervise my people, project manage the stuff I have contracted all over the country and I still get people asking when I will get a 'real' job. I've walked out of interviews because assholes who obviously idn't know what they were talking about talked down my position...they kept infering that what I had was a student position mainly because of the pay. I too won't mention how much I get payed now.

    My position is funded by grants from anything from the US Gov't to large medical facilities to at least one ivy league school (of which I am one of the project leaders for AItype software for the assessment of writtings). Outside of this work, I find enough consulting to keep me busy, but I need my position at the university to keep his coming in. I'm at the point I want a 40 hr a week job and to stop doing stuff that makes my head spin most of the time.

    The school gives me lots of benefits, the first of which is free tuition. The people are the best I've ever workd for, even if they all have quirks that might not be tolerated in the business world...then again, they might have these quirks only because we allow them. Hell I've never had another job that allows me to come in in full motorcycle leather. University positions are quirky, but I still end up doing a hell of a lot more than I would in usiness and with a larger variety of equpiment.

    If I could find a company that could compensate me the way this place does and a raise at the same time, I'd do it in a heartbeat, but until that time comes, I'm just going to keep passing up these wonderful jobs.

    clifyt
  • Wow, I guess someone has a set of cajones here...

    I'm in a similar boat. Being 20 and at the top of my CS classes (bastard arts courses on the other hand... ;) I feel I'm going to bring a great amount to an employer. I already have on several occasions (It's nice to be offered a perm job after just working the summer...) but I've turned them down as I want to continue my education.

    On the other hand, I'm not going to demand an outrageous salary. I'm going to want to live nicely, but I'm going to be looking for challenges and *GASP* a fun place to work. As in MS and Intel can kiss my #@$.

    If there is one thing I can't stand about the CS/Engineering field, it's the outrageous arrogance some people have. I imagine a lot of people I know in CS would not be good project managers/contributors, mainly because they think they are superior to everyone else. I would probably NEVER work for you either.
  • 'Tis true, it is easy. But I never said it was hard.

    I actually attempted to take a minor in Physics to boot and was doing quite well, but scheduling conflicts have pretty much blown that option away.

    I've been in the real world for a bit. I know, I'm not going to make any outrageously foolish claims like the previous AC.

    Still, it would be nice to think that for a while :)
  • Go git'em! I remember thinking I knew it all, back when I was graduating college. Man! I was a steaming hot shit!! I was even hotter then I was as a high-school senior. Boy! The world was my oyster!!

    Just make sure you look both ways before crossing 'easy street', chumm! :)

    (Is that YOU Linus??)
  • To the people with panchant for CS, it's an easy major. Just as natural-born bean-counters excell at accounting and statistics; and people with a flair for the written word excell at literature courses.

    Innate ability does have a lot to do with your statement. Drop a humanities major into a CS class, and watch them turn inhumane right quick.

    But to further the discussion: Some people have an inborn talent for Academia (myself included), but the real world (as it's called) has nothing to do with term papers or GPA. Remember kiddies, the open book tests are always the hardest, and you can read all you want in the real world.
  • While I agree that there isn't any better leverage than another offer, this isn't always practical. Offers are usually only on the table for a week. If you are looking for something *good* rather than reasonable and available quickly then your search can take much longer than that. If you are selective on non-monetary issues you may find that there is only one offer on the table at a time.

  • The big problem with HR departments is that they don't really know what it takes to do the job. They have to work with what the hiring manager gave them and try to match job specs with resumes.
    If your background is very conventional (the right X years working in the right area for a conventional employeer) they do OK. But if you are trying to do something unusual, they can be your worst enemy. Job titles that don't match, relevent projects not done for an employeer, career changes: all of these things give HR fits and you lose. In those cases you must get to the hiring manager directly. HR will just lose your resume.
  • My beef with consultants is, from what I've experienced, they're better at talking then they are about doing. They're fast at the keyboard but you often have to fix or undo everything you paid them to do -- if they ever finish the project at all.

    Not all consultants are like that. I'm not. I know a lot and I deliver a lot. Sure, there are consultants out there who do it because they can't hold down a real job for an extended period of time, because they can't stand the long-term scrutiny of their work - they bail before they can be evaluated.

    I consult (I'm a contractor) for two reasons, the first being $$money$$. I make $30,000 - $40,000 more a year than if I was a salaried employee - and I only work 40 hour weeks. If I work more, I get paid more. What do I give up? Benefits, 401K, and stock. I have my own, thank you, and they cost me way less than $30,000 a year (I figure on $5,000 with retirement savings). And I give up 'security'. What a joke. At least my relationship with my employer is honest. It's like a hooker/john relationship. I'm the hooker, I get paid well for what I do, and they can dump me whenever they want. Companies don't take care of their permanent employees too well nowadays, so who cares if I lose my job? I'll get another one next week.

    The second reason I consult is that I like the changing atmospheres. I fulfill the terms of a contract, and if I want to leave, I leave.

    I like the lifestyle, I like the money, and I'm not doing it to hide behind management reports and crappy work. I'm good at it, and I like it. There are a lot of consultants out there like me, but I agree that we're the minority.
  • I agree, head hunters can be extremely useful, but you have to be careful who you work with. I work as a contract programmer and without head hunters my life would be extremely more difficult. Like anything else, there's good ones and bad ones; you just have to learn how to pick which one's which.
    ----------
  • As a consultant all I can say is:

    "I make $124,000 a year"

    So who cares what you think? You can be fucked by your employer, or you can fuck your employer. It's your choice.

    My questions would be:
    • Do you pay your own 15% self employment tax?
    • Do you pay your own medical/dental insurance?
    • Do you pay your own office expenses?
    • What is the cost of living where you live?
    If the answers to two or more of the first three are yes, and the answer to the last is something comparable to the SF bay area, then chances are you are effectively making a lot less than I do as a salaried employee out here in the midwest. Just raw salary numbers are not that useful without knowing all the facts...
  • No, yes, no, about $800/month - Boston. Boston rules. I love Boston.

    Well, I went and checked on a salary comparator on the web, and according to that, $124,000 in Boston is only about $65,000 where I live after you figure for the differences of paying health insurance and office ezpenses. For me, I like the deal I have better, but to each his own.
    Where you like to live is largely personal preferances, personally, I don't like the northeast much. The weather is just about as bad as the midwest and on average the people seem much more rude and arrogant. I can put up with hicks better. I wouldn't mind moving back to the SF bay area where I used to live, but my wife absolutely refuses to consider anywhere in California.
    I've never been to Indianapolis, but I have no complaints about the food here. There are plenty of things to do in my local area if you are over 21 and willing to look for them. The Twin Cities, Kansas City and Chicago are within driving distance and if you can't find anything you like to do in those towns, I truly pity you -- you must not like much. The state I live consistantly has amongst the top 10 best public schools in the country, albiet being long past college age and having no kids I don't care that much any more.
    Its not perfect where I live, but it isn't bad. When I retire, I am going to where it is warm, probably Florida or Nevada.
  • Dude. I lived in Indiana where I made 70K. It's not even comparable. If you think making 65K in Indiana or some other Midwest hicktown is even comparable to making about twice that in Boston, fine. But it isn't. I was able to save 30K a year if I really really worked at it, here I can save 50K a year without effort.

    Well, I don't know about Boston, but I can tell you from experience that the SF bay area versus the midwest in the salary comparators is pretty close to accurate.

    You can't hang glide in the Midwest,

    Why not? Most of the midwest is flat enough that it isn't ideal, but its far from impossible. Ultralights are actually fairly popular around here.

    you can't ski in the Midwest,

    This isn't at all true. There are numerous ski facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. You must be basing your opinion about the whole midwest based on Indiana.

    you can't hike in the Midwest,

    Say what? You have got to be kidding. There are tons of hiking trails throughout the area where I live. You can hike anywhere.

    you can't kayak in the Midwest

    This is silly. We've got lakes and rivers. Kayaking and canoeing is very doable throughout most of the midwest. Minnesota, for example, probably has more opportunities for water sports than just about any other state.

    and wearing biking shorts in about 50% of the Midwest

    About 50%. Well, where I live must be part of the other 50% then.

    is equivalent to wearing a sign that says "I'm a flaming homosexual queen, please blow my head off you fucking stupid inbred hicks" so biking isn't too much fun in the Midwest either.

    One of the more well known summer events around here is an annual bike ride across the state that is sponsored by one of the bigger newspapers. Additionally there are numerous bike trails throughout the area. Biking as a recreational sport is not uncommon here.

    The only thing to do in the Midwest is to drink, fuck, watch tv, and watch movies and you can do those anywhere.

    The more you talk, the more I remember about why I don't care for the northeast. I can deal a lot more with dumb hicks than with brash, arrogant east coasters.

    To each his own I guess, but don't believe the salary comparisons. Making $3,000 a year in Siberia is probably equivalent to making $300,000 a year in the United States but I'm not going to move there. It's not what you make, it's not what you spend, it's what you save, and I save $800 a week.

    Well, I wouldn't put a huge amount of faith in salary comparisons either, but they can't be that far off either. As I said, comparing between SF and the midwest they are not far off. What you save is obviously directly related to what you make and what you spend.

  • I did some work with Diba and Oracle, and that wasn't my experience. You must have blown a lot of money.

    Actually I had very little money when I lived in CA. I am doing a lot better now but I still live fairly frugally even now. The differences in cost of living in SF versus the midwest are pretty staggering, especially in two areas, the cost of housing and vehicular costs. For what a 700sq foot 2br bugalow in South San Francisco in "fixer-upper" condition sells for, you can buy a new construction 3500sq ft house in one of the best suburbs around here. Not only do cars cost more in California, so does insurance (its about double) and you have to have your car inspected and smog checked twice a year -- staying in compliance usually costs hundreds if not thousands a year. We have no inspection or smog check here ever, we do auto registration by mail. A lot of the things that are more expensive in CA than the midwest are largely unavoidable. You have to have a place to live, you have to have transportation. You have to eat. You have to pay taxes. It is actually the luxury items in CA that aren't really all that much more expensive than the midwest.
    At any rate, if I wanted to do contracting, I could probably make pretty nearly as much out here in the midwest as you do in Boston, and assuming I spent my money the same as you do, I should have more money left over given the differences in the cost of living. I've done contracting in the past, and I didn't particularly like it. It certainly isn't for everyone.

    It all depends on whether you are a materialist or not. I'm not. I don't need nice things, I need to do things.

    I am not very materialistic, or at least not into expensive luxury items. Things I enjoy doing just don't seem to rely as much on the outside terrain as yours. I enjoy outdoor things like motorsports (cars, boats and motorcycles), which while somewhat weather dependant, are possible in just about all of the country. I also don't spend an excessive amount on any of those things, although it is certainly possible to do so. Unfortunately, my wife is more of a materialist than I am, although her big weakness is mostly in travel.

    A decent ultralight cost about 10K, a decent hang glider costs 3K. Being towed up, and climbing a mountain are entirely different.

    Then again, with the kind of money you seem to have, the difference between $3k and $10k seems pretty insignificant.

    I grew up about 1/2 mile away from a small ski tow and started skiing at 2 years old. I've definately graduated from the bunny hills.

    I've never been much of a skiier, personally. I always preferred snowmobiles.

    Colorado was fun when I stayed there. I never skied corn snow before, it was remarkably easy to any hill under those conditions - fun too. Most of the Midwest is too flat to do anything except cross country, which isn't bad, but not the end all be all of skiing. I like speed.

    Colorado and Utah are very good for skiing, but I wouldn't actually consider them in the midwest, but rather the west.

    Unless there is a mountain to run up there isn't any point in my opinion. I grew up in the Adirondacks. If you go far enough west it isn't too bad (like Colorado) except for the culture. In Colorado it was either smoke pot from 9 to 5 and ski or shove a stick up your ass and be ultra conservative.

    Well, it doesn't sound like you gave Colorado much of a chance. I've spent enough time there to find that the people there aren't that much different than anywhere else. You don't really get a good feel for what people are really like in a short vacation or if you spend most of your time in touristy areas. At any rate, most of the things you seem to enjoy doing are largely solitary activities, so what difference does culture make?

    You need rapids, and that comes with mountains again.

    It still safer to bike to San Fransisco than it is to bike in the country in Indiana. I was hit twice in Indiana by very stupid drivers. Another guy pointed a shotgun at my head as he drove by.

    Try bicycling in Oakland or the South of Market area of SF. I'd feel much safer in rural Indiana than either of those two areas. Of course leather clad, long haired and goateed people like myself aren't well liked by either the boys'n'da'hood types or rednecks either one. Surprisingly, I have little trouble fitting in around here, despite the fact that I might look a little out of place to a lot of people.

    Whatever, it doesn't change the validity of my statements.

    That is a matter of opinion. I find your statements to be clouded by an air of intolerance which makes them seem less valid than they might otherwise. While you complain about conservativeness of hicks, you seem unwilling to take the time to explore anything that isn't exactly what you are used to or quite up to your self imposed standards. I can find ways to amuse myself just about anywhere I might be. While you certainly have a right to your opinions and standards, I don't see your need to look down on or insult everyone who doesn't share them.

    Again it all comes down to how much you squirrel away. I know plenty of people that make more than I do that are 10's of thousands of dollars in debt. They are idiots in my opinion also known as yuppies. They exist everywhere here on the East Coast especially in Boston. I buy their road bikes after they discover it actually takes work to pedal.

    Believe it or not, yuppies even exist in the midwest, at least in the suburbs.

  • I got rid of my car (although I plan to buy a "new" $1,500 car next week), live in a studio,

    I could never go back to sharing walls with other people. I like the room that a real house offers. I like to have pets, and that just isn't feasable in most apartment situations. Not to mention that, but an apartment big enough for two people plus pets would probably cost as much as my house payment. Besides that, renting is like flushing your money down the toilet. You build equity for your landlord instead of for yourself.

    and commute by train at 7 dollars a day.

    I don't like being dictated when I can come and go. I like my 15 minute commute from my door to the office door.

    My monthy expenses total about $1,500.

    Most people can't live like you. If I lived in Boston, something comparable to my modest house would likely have a payment of around $1,200. When I lived in SF, you could barely get a studio or efficiency apartment for $1,200 a month.

    Probably. I prefer to get out of the company when they aren't doing anything rther than being chained to a desk playing "let's make a project that we will never build" or "hey you, do this useless task".

    I've seen other people have those sorts of frustrations, but I have rarely run into them myself. If anything, I always seem to have more than enough to do. The reason for my nick 'Software Janitor' is I am the guy who gets brought in to 'clean up' after projects who had staff or contractors bail on, or whatever.

    I tried full time, I hated it.

    I tried contracting, and hated it. My whole original point was that contracting is not for everyone. It is also a valid point that neither is full time employment.

    It true you could probably make as much as I do, but I've only been working for 4 years. I expect I'll be making more soon.

    I've been working for more than 10 years. I've seen my income more than quadruple in that time.

    Cars, boats, and motorcycles aren't materialistic or luxury? You have to be kidding.

    I have two cars and a pickup, none of which are extravagant. One of the cars is relatively new (and being traded in on a new one next month), but is what I would consider basic transportation (I.E., it is an under $25k car in this day and age). The newer car is pretty much for the wife. My pickup is also pretty much basic transportation, with the side of being able to haul around junk on occasion. It was a reasonably priced used vehicle and its not a 4x4 or anything fancy. My other car is an early 70's muscle car which is my hot-rod fun car. But its got more sweat equity in it than $$$

    I decent car (say a AR Spider rag top from the 60's) will run you 10 K,

    You can buy or build a car that is fun for a lot less than that, especially if you place the emphasis on functionality rather than appearances. For someone who claims not to be materialistic, you seem to have champaign and caviar taste when it comes to any material items.

    a boat 10K,

    You can buy a decent used boat for a lot less than that. I don't have a boat at the moment, but I have friends and relatives that do (my parents have a sailboat).

    and a decent cycle at least 5K.

    My motorcycle is a '78 Honda CB550. It cost me a lot less than $5K. Its nothing fancy, but it works, and its fun. Actually for the most part I prefer off-road riding, for which decent bikes are far less expensive than street bikes. On one point having a motorcyle at all for me is somewhat of a luxury - because I don't use if for commuting or anything like that. But I don't consider the cycle I have any more of a luxury than owning a television or a stereo, certainly a lot of people spend more on electronics than I did on my motorcycle. For that matter, I spent about as much on a bicyle as I did on my motorcycle.

    That's 25 grand. Of course your wife is more materialistic, it's the nature of woman.

    Don't I know it. :-(

    3K is 3K no matter how much money you make.

    I know too much about Joseph Smith ever to feel comfortable in Utah.

    Well, I don't know that I would want to live in Utah either, but an irrational fear or loathing of Mormons wouldn't stop me from taking a skiing vacation there. Religion shouldn't make much of an impact in a ski lodge.

    I lived in Colorado for 6 months. I once got a woman to quit her job while discussing evolution versus creation "theory". She was a religious fruit.

    It seems like your rather abrasive style may be more responsible for your inability to fit in than anything else. Frankly, I just don't discuss religion with coworkers. And I've found that if you don't mention it, in general most people around here won't either. In most cases even the occasional religious nut can be brushed off once and ignored. I just don't see much point in being confrontational about that sort of thing. At any rate, I actually ran into a lot more religious fruitcakes when I lived in SF than I do out here in the midwest.

    Hiking and skiing are not usually solitary activities for me, although I do occasionally do them alone.

    Hmmm... perhaps solitary is not the right word. I meant that they are things that don't necessarily require interaction with other people. For the most part, they are things that if done with other people you can usually select the people with whom you choose to participate. There are many other activities that require you to interact with a lot more people.

    Timithy McVeigh's favorite place?

    Actually, as far as I know, he spent as much of his time in the south or southwest (Oklahoma and Texas) as in the midwest. At any rate, one wonk like McVeigh is certainly not representative of the midwest any more than Willie Horton is representative of Boston. Throwing out the name of one of the most heinous mass murderers of our time as if he was the poster boy for the whole midwest doesn't seem to me to be a constructive way to engage in conversation.

    The Midwest is the land of extremists.

    Extremists? I don't think that is a fair statement at all. For the most part, I've found most midwesterners to be fairly moderate. I certainly ran into a lot more extremist cranks when on the coasts or in the deep south than I have in the past few years.

    Why not just tell me to go to Montana.

    Actually there are so few people in Montana that you can literally drive for hours without running into anyone, let alone an extremist. Most people I have met from Montana are not really much different than anywhere else. The press tends to make them out to be all wackos because the only time they notice Montana or Wyoming at all is when something bad happens there.

    Whose insulting?

    Well, you started out by implying that anyone who wasn't working as a contractor was some kind of an idiot. Then you proceeded to more or less say that just about everywhere but the northeast sucks...

    I tried the midwest and I tried to make it work. Indiana is the current HQ for the KKK, birthplace of Jim Jones and his church and is

    Hasn't Jim Jones been dead for over 20 years?

    where Representative Dan Burton is from.

    Well, I don't much like Ted Kennedy or Charles Schumer, but you don't see me condemning the whole northest just because of them.

    When I explore a place, I explore everything about it. Chicago is a city of people trying to emulate NYC right down to the gangs. Colorado is a war between the natives and all the people that moved from California.

    I never got that impression when I was there, but perhaps that might be because I was there from the midwest rather than from CA at the time.

    Utah is a bunch of lunatics and if you want me to elaborate I will since I've studied the fruitcake that started the religion.

    I really don't care that much about religion. At least mormons will generally take no for an answer when they are out and about, unlike some other groups who aren't nearly so polite.

    You might consider this insulting, but it's not as if I haven't gone there and saw for myself. None of the places are pleasant to live.

    For you this might be true. But it is a personal opinion, and there is no need to be condescending to everyone who might happen to feel differently.

  • I'd love to have a pet again (not since childhood) but it would be too cruel since I really don't have time for one at the moment. I would get a traditional dog which would require movement to the country because chaining one up I also consider unethical.

    I only consider it unethical to chain up dogs for extended periods of time. For short times I don't have a problem with it, although I consider even a small enclosed dog run to be much preferable to a chain. Where I live, yards are large enough that it is feasable to have a fenced in yard and allow a dog to have considerable freedom of movement. Even at that, I have a small dog that stays indoors most of the time, which seems to work out better in town.

    I'll do this when I'm older.

    I guess I am the right age for it (early 30s).

    Also, buying a house is also flushing money down the toilet. You just don't know it yet.

    Actually, this is an area I am very well studied in, since I work for a company that is in the financial services business. While you throw a lot of money down the toilet in interest over the course of a loan, you are far better off in the long run buying a house than renting. If it is throwing money down the toilet, it is far less than renting.

    The only way to come out ahead is to build a house, like my sister and husband did. It cost them 60K and is worth a cool $200,000 easy. Wait until you try to sell it.

    Unlike the coasts, which have seen big ups and downs in their housing market, things are more stable around here. I expect that my house will continue to slowly rise in value over time, not too far paced off the general inflation rate. I also don't expect to sell my house for a number of years. You can come out badly if you have to move frequently, but it is less likely the longer you stay in a house. At any rate, given a few years occupancy, you at least come out less far behind buying than renting.

    I keep a regular schedule, this doesn't effect me at all.

    I don't like keeping a regular schedule. It is begrudging enough for me to maintain an 8-5 workday. That is one area that I'd have to say that contracting actually might have some potential benefits in flexibility. All too often in reality though, I found when I was contracting that I didn't get to exercise that because I was still dealing with companies that wanted to see people around 8-5.

    This will just confirm what you've already said, but I think most people are idiots.

    Well, I would agree in general, albiet likely for slightly different reasons. I also believe people have the right to be idiots if they want to. And if they are really stupid, its not worth arguing with them about it.

    Materialism is the biggest waste of money ever. Of course, a materialist society is the best society to live in if you are a non materialist. Everything is cheap to me.

    Again, I agree with you up to a point, but I am a bit less idealistic about things than you are. I like having a certain number of things, but I don't go for the level of extravagance that too many people do. I can often do nicely off the cast-offs of others.

    It's anything but irrational. I'm an atheist, I'd be killed, trust me on this one.

    I don't believe that. A friend of mine who is a militant athiest, and almost as vocal about it as you managed to live for two years in Provo, Utah without getting himself killed. Mormons may be overly zealous, but they don't strike me as the kind that are predisposed to violence. At any rate, my friend didn't like Utah, but he complained about it a lot less than Jersey City, NJ, where he lived for a year.

    If you cannot exchange idea's life is boring.

    For me the important thing is to find people who are worthy of exchanging ideas with.

    I'm a totally different person than I was just 10 years ago (I'm still young) and I like to challenge my own beliefs. I don't believe in taboo's and do not respect them. If you cannot defend your position it is a pretty safe bet you're holding a bad opinion.

    I don't have any trouble defending my opinions. If anything, I can be too good at it, something I would suspect you may run into, whether you realize it or not. Some people are just not capable of arguing logically, and they tend to 'melt-down' when their positions are threatened. I've found it isn't productive to argue with these people. I only enjoy debating with people who are of reasonably like mind, anything else is a waste of time.
    Since I am a permanent employee, I also have to exercise a little more care in how I deal with coworkers than a contractor has to.

    Surprisingly, I "fit in" quite well, because I can discuss many topics as a result of my being brash. Pursuit of knowledge is fun, and what better way to do it than challenge assumptions?

    There is a time and a place for that. As I have gotten older I've decided that it is better to pick and choose what things are appropriate to discuss. I am also reasonably comfortable enough in my opinions to no longer need to constantly challenge them.

    Then let me put it this way: The things I enjoy doing in a group, a lot of other people enjoy doing to, so it's easy to get a group together to do anything. In the midwest, people seem to want to go see movies, or go to the mall, or other things which I consider boring - at least that is my experience. Nobody ski's out there, nobody hikes out there, and NOBODY hang glides out there.

    You might have trouble finding people who hang glide in Florida, for example. You'd definitely have trouble finding people there who ski, unless you count water skiing. I'd dispute the hiking argument, but as you said before, you don't like hiking without mountains.

    It is hard to find fun people, simple as that.

    Well it is for you because your definition of 'fun' is different. You can either try to expand other people's horizons, you can try to expand your own, or you can give up and leave.

    Actually, he's from Buffalo. I worked with somebody that knew the family. It was a cheap shot I admit.

    Apology accepted. :-) Nobody should have to take responsibility for a wonk like that. If anyone is to blame, it is probably the army. McVeigh was probably a bit off before he went into the army, but they managed to make him into a very dangerous and disgruntled person.

    Yeah, no people. That isn't my kind of place.

    Well, Montana isn't my cup of tea either. It also isn't really a part of the midwest. It has more in common with the desert southwest (like New Mexico), except being very cold in the winter, than it does the midwest.

    The Midwest has a disproportionate number of wacko's, I'm sorry but this is true.

    We will have to agree to disagree on this one. In my experience this is not true. I also think we might have difficulty in coming to a general agreement on who was a 'wacko' and who wasn't.

    The less social interaction a human being has with peers, the "wierder" they are.

    I don't know if I can buy that. Some of the wierdest people I've known are nothing, if not highly socialized. Of course my time living in SF may color my view on that point.

    This is partly why I discuss so many topics, I grew up in a tiny hick town and boy did I hate it. I want to understand different points of view so I move around a lot. The midwest has no unique views as far as I can tell, that's why I consider it "50's" - it's mostly the same views I grew up with and out of.

    I grew up in a small midwestern college town with a population around 50,000. I now live in a town of about 300,000. My experience is that what you are saying may be true of Podunk Center, Population 300, but it is an unfair characterization of the whole region. Just because you didn't like Indianapolis is not necessarily reason to think you wouldn't like the Twin Cities or a town like Madison, WI. You might find the diversity of people in those towns could force you to re-evaluate your opinion that the midwest is entirely homogenous.

    I never said anybody that didn't contract was an idiot,

    Well, one could have misinterpreted what you were saying as that. My apologies if that was a mistaken interpretation.

    I may have said anybody that wouldn't contract for "moral" reasons was an idiot though.

    That I wouldn't and didn't argue that much. There is nothing unethical about contracting. Conversely there is nothing wrong with being a permanent employee if you know what you are getting.

    Value judgements like that are incorrect because large companies do not return the favor.

    Then again, unless you are a totally independant contractor, the contracting companies I've dealt with are just as morally challenged as any other company.

    Also, I said the midwest sucked. I like both coasts, the entire length of it.

    The company I work for has an office in Maryland about 45 minutes inland from Baltimore. I've visited there on occasion, and we regularly have people from the Maryland office here. Furthermore, several people here moved here from there and vice-versa. I don't see a lot of difference between the people there and here, or the country there or here.

    Yes, and Indiana hasn't changed a bit.

    If most of the country has changed in the past 20 years, it in general doesn't seem to have been for the better.

    Burton will be re-elected. Nobody in his district has any sense of, well, sense. There isn't a more corrupt official in government than Burton both morally and professionally.

    You may have more personal knowledge of him, or he may be getting more press of late than other politicians, but I doubt he is really that much worse than a lot of other politicians. I am more convinced all the time that they are all hypocritical scumbags.

    California plates everywhere, constant talk about "those damn Californians" and the "homo's moving in", tracts of housing built in the middle of nowhere with 4x4 foot lawns. You might have to live there to notice.

    Perhaps that is true. I've never heard any of my friends or relatives that live in CO complain that way though, but perhaps that is because they are 'carpet baggers' themselves. I see a surprising number of CA plates around here, despite the fact that CA is over 2000 miles away. Tract housing such as you describe is a blight on most of the country these days I think. You even see it popping up in any wooded area of the rural countryside around here.

    Mormons don't take no for an answer in Utah.

    I haven't found that to be the case, but perhaps in tourist areas, even the most zealous know it doesn't profit to bother the tourists.

  • Crap. I should have previewed... Forgot a closing tag. :-( I'd love to have a pet again (not since childhood) but it would be too cruel since I really don't have time for one at the moment. I would get a traditional dog which would require movement to the country because chaining one up I also consider unethical.

    I only consider it unethical to chain up dogs for extended periods of time. For short times I don't have a problem with it, although I consider even a small enclosed dog run to be much preferable to a chain. Where I live, yards are large enough that it is feasable to have a fenced in yard and allow a dog to have considerable freedom of movement. Even at that, I have a small dog that stays indoors most of the time, which seems to work out better in town.

    I'll do this when I'm older.

    I guess I am the right age for it (early 30s).

    Also, buying a house is also flushing money down the toilet. You just don't know it yet.

    Actually, this is an area I am very well studied in, since I work for a company that is in the financial services business. While you throw a lot of money down the toilet in interest over the course of a loan, you are far better off in the long run buying a house than renting. If it is throwing money down the toilet, it is far less than renting.

    The only way to come out ahead is to build a house, like my sister and husband did. It cost them 60K and is worth a cool $200,000 easy. Wait until you try to sell it.

    Unlike the coasts, which have seen big ups and downs in their housing market, things are more stable around here. I expect that my house will continue to slowly rise in value over time, not too far paced off the general inflation rate. I also don't expect to sell my house for a number of years. You can come out badly if you have to move frequently, but it is less likely the longer you stay in a house. At any rate, given a few years occupancy, you at least come out less far behind buying than renting.

    I keep a regular schedule, this doesn't effect me at all.

    I don't like keeping a regular schedule. It is begrudging enough for me to maintain an 8-5 workday. That is one area that I'd have to say that contracting actually might have some potential benefits in flexibility. All too often in reality though, I found when I was contracting that I didn't get to exercise that because I was still dealing with companies that wanted to see people around 8-5.

    This will just confirm what you've already said, but I think most people are idiots.

    Well, I would agree in general, albiet likely for slightly different reasons. I also believe people have the right to be idiots if they want to. And if they are really stupid, its not worth arguing with them about it.

    Materialism is the biggest waste of money ever. Of course, a materialist society is the best society to live in if you are a non materialist. Everything is cheap to me.

    Again, I agree with you up to a point, but I am a bit less idealistic about things than you are. I like having a certain number of things, but I don't go for the level of extravagance that too many people do. I can often do nicely off the cast-offs of others.

    It's anything but irrational. I'm an atheist, I'd be killed, trust me on this one.

    I don't believe that. A friend of mine who is a militant athiest, and almost as vocal about it as you managed to live for two years in Provo, Utah without getting himself killed. Mormons may be overly zealous, but they don't strike me as the kind that are predisposed to violence. At any rate, my friend didn't like Utah, but he complained about it a lot less than Jersey City, NJ, where he lived for a year.

    If you cannot exchange idea's life is boring.

    For me the important thing is to find people who are worthy of exchanging ideas with.

    I'm a totally different person than I was just 10 years ago (I'm still young) and I like to challenge my own beliefs. I don't believe in taboo's and do not respect them. If you cannot defend your position it is a pretty safe bet you're holding a bad opinion.

    I don't have any trouble defending my opinions. If anything, I can be too good at it, something I would suspect you may run into, whether you realize it or not. Some people are just not capable of arguing logically, and they tend to 'melt-down' when their positions are threatened. I've found it isn't productive to argue with these people. I only enjoy debating with people who are of reasonably like mind, anything else is a waste of time.
    Since I am a permanent employee, I also have to exercise a little more care in how I deal with coworkers than a contractor has to.

    Surprisingly, I "fit in" quite well, because I can discuss many topics as a result of my being brash. Pursuit of knowledge is fun, and what better way to do it than challenge assumptions?

    There is a time and a place for that. As I have gotten older I've decided that it is better to pick and choose what things are appropriate to discuss. I am also reasonably comfortable enough in my opinions to no longer need to constantly challenge them.

    Then let me put it this way: The things I enjoy doing in a group, a lot of other people enjoy doing to, so it's easy to get a group together to do anything. In the midwest, people seem to want to go see movies, or go to the mall, or other things which I consider boring - at least that is my experience. Nobody ski's out there, nobody hikes out there, and NOBODY hang glides out there.

    You might have trouble finding people who hang glide in Florida, for example. You'd definitely have trouble finding people there who ski, unless you count water skiing. I'd dispute the hiking argument, but as you said before, you don't like hiking without mountains.

    It is hard to find fun people, simple as that.

    Well it is for you because your definition of 'fun' is different. You can either try to expand other people's horizons, you can try to expand your own, or you can give up and leave.

    Actually, he's from Buffalo. I worked with somebody that knew the family. It was a cheap shot I admit.

    Apology accepted. :-) Nobody should have to take responsibility for a wonk like that. If anyone is to blame, it is probably the army. McVeigh was probably a bit off before he went into the army, but they managed to make him into a very dangerous and disgruntled person.

    Yeah, no people. That isn't my kind of place.

    Well, Montana isn't my cup of tea either. It also isn't really a part of the midwest. It has more in common with the desert southwest (like New Mexico), except being very cold in the winter, than it does the midwest.

    The Midwest has a disproportionate number of wacko's, I'm sorry but this is true.

    We will have to agree to disagree on this one. In my experience this is not true. I also think we might have difficulty in coming to a general agreement on who was a 'wacko' and who wasn't.

    The less social interaction a human being has with peers, the "wierder" they are.

    I don't know if I can buy that. Some of the wierdest people I've known are nothing, if not highly socialized. Of course my time living in SF may color my view on that point.

    This is partly why I discuss so many topics, I grew up in a tiny hick town and boy did I hate it. I want to understand different points of view so I move around a lot. The midwest has no unique views as far as I can tell, that's why I consider it "50's" - it's mostly the same views I grew up with and out of.

    I grew up in a small midwestern college town with a population around 50,000. I now live in a town of about 300,000. My experience is that what you are saying may be true of Podunk Center, Population 300, but it is an unfair characterization of the whole region. Just because you didn't like Indianapolis is not necessarily reason to think you wouldn't like the Twin Cities or a town like Madison, WI. You might find the diversity of people in those towns could force you to re-evaluate your opinion that the midwest is entirely homogenous.

    I never said anybody that didn't contract was an idiot,

    Well, one could have misinterpreted what you were saying as that. My apologies if that was a mistaken interpretation.

    I may have said anybody that wouldn't contract for "moral" reasons was an idiot though.

    That I wouldn't and didn't argue that much. There is nothing unethical about contracting. Conversely there is nothing wrong with being a permanent employee if you know what you are getting.

    Value judgements like that are incorrect because large companies do not return the favor.

    Then again, unless you are a totally independant contractor, the contracting companies I've dealt with are just as morally challenged as any other company.

    Also, I said the midwest sucked. I like both coasts, the entire length of it.

    The company I work for has an office in Maryland about 45 minutes inland from Baltimore. I've visited there on occasion, and we regularly have people from the Maryland office here. Furthermore, several people here moved here from there and vice-versa. I don't see a lot of difference between the people there and here, or the country there or here.

    Yes, and Indiana hasn't changed a bit.

    If most of the country has changed in the past 20 years, it in general doesn't seem to have been for the better.

    Burton will be re-elected. Nobody in his district has any sense of, well, sense. There isn't a more corrupt official in government than Burton both morally and professionally.

    You may have more personal knowledge of him, or he may be getting more press of late than other politicians, but I doubt he is really that much worse than a lot of other politicians. I am more convinced all the time that they are all hypocritical scumbags.

    California plates everywhere, constant talk about "those damn Californians" and the "homo's moving in", tracts of housing built in the middle of nowhere with 4x4 foot lawns. You might have to live there to notice.

    Perhaps that is true. I've never heard any of my friends or relatives that live in CO complain that way though, but perhaps that is because they are 'carpet baggers' themselves. I see a surprising number of CA plates around here, despite the fact that CA is over 2000 miles away. Tract housing such as you describe is a blight on most of the country these days I think. You even see it popping up in any wooded area of the rural countryside around here.

    Mormons don't take no for an answer in Utah.

    I haven't found that to be the case, but perhaps in tourist areas, even the most zealous know it doesn't profit to bother the tourists.

  • You make an unfair generalization. Yes, some headhunters are scum, but others are good people, and good at their jobs, and helpful to the jobhunters they represent.

    I recently entered the workforce, and I spent a lot of time looking for jobs. I applied to many places, and didn't get much of a response. Then I started talking to some headhunters. I dealt with two different headhunters in different areas, and found a vast difference between the two.

    One was almost like a used car dealer; he was slimy, and whiny, and tried to wheedle/bully me into taking a job I wasn't really very interested in at a salary lower than I was looking for. He even lied to me on more than one occasion to try to pressure me into making a decision.

    The other was extremely helpful. She gave me a good background on a company before an interview, and put up a good fight for me with the company when they offered less than I was looking for, until she got the offer up to my desired level. In every way, she helped make the job-searching process easier, not harder.

    So yes, some headhunters are scum. But some are wonderful people, and I don't know how I'd have found this first job without them. :-)

    -Snibor Eoj
  • I also graduated recently with a CS/Math degree, and I also got some job offers for QA positions, tech support positions, even one data entry position, believe it or not.

    The trick is to hold out until you find someone offering the type of job you're looking for. Don't settle for less, if you know that you're good enough to get more.

    As I've commented in a different thread on this article, there are some scummy headhunters, but there are some really good ones, who will work hard to make sure you get the kind of job you're looking for. I consider them a godsend, and am thankful they exist.

    Good luck!

    -Snibor Eoj
  • The first headhunter had it more on the money than the second one. That much I can attest from personal experience.

    The first advises us not to disclose our salary ranges for previous jobs.. it gives the potential employer leverage and takes away some of our negotiating power. I would disagree with that. It depends on how you present the issue to the interviewer. If you are going from a lower paying job to a higher paying one, yes.. it could hurt you. However what if the work you were doing was indeed not worth as much as the work you -will- be doing? I get paid quite a bit more for Networking/Routing work than basic IT work (server application installation and related troubleshooting, etc.). I am not afraid to say 'For -this- work I was paid $50/hour, but for that work I would normally ask for $80/hour'. I always do 2 things: Highball the price.. it gives you negotiating room, and double the time estimate for job completion (this only applies to consulting work, but you see what I mean). Now, if you disclose this information in the -fashion- of offering a bargain (i.e. I would normally ask for $80, but here I would be willing to negotiate that price) then the price puts you into the driver's seat.

    As to the second, D.G's response, I am appalled. This response.. Companies want 'Team Players' who 'play by the rules'... ack. No they don't. Companies want to get as skilled people as possible, and pay as little for it as they can. They want to get you on salary without overtime and work you 70 hours per week. Companies want you to be dependent on them for your livelihood so they can give you that 3% raise you've been dreaming about. What I have to say to this 'team player' is: "The day I started making real money was the day I started saying NO"

    And I did. It was amazing.. finally I had had it. I had been being underpaid, burnt, used and abused, and was taking it on the chin for a few years. I was cash poor, practically broke, and was getting married in less than a year. I was tired, and my Fiancee told me 'get the hell out of there'.. so I did. I sat back for a week or so, and my attitude changed. 'Damnit, if they don't want to pay me what I am worth, then I won't work for them. Simple.' I mean, what are we getting a job these days for anyway? Security? That went out in the 60's. There isn't any security in a corporate job anymore. You're on your own now, in a sea of changes and brutal competition.. how the heck do you come out on top in an ocean like that? I mean.. you just have a one person sloop, and your sail is tattered.. how to you brook the storm? It's easy. You say no.

    I was on an interview for a Network Engineering position. We were discussing price finally, and after the conversation I felt I had a good feel for what this job was worth. I was surprised when the interviewer said to me 'Do you really think you are worth that much?' I just stared at her for a moment, then I stood up, smiled and said, to paraphrase 'Yes, and in fact I am worth more, based on the nature of what your requirements are, and the money you will be losing if I don't work for you. But, I think I'll pass on this offer. Thank you very much.' I started to walk out of the room when she stopped me. I was serious. I was walking right out. I was done taking that sort of treatment. She knew it. She was surprised too. We sat back down and she paid me the price I was asking, plus a couple of perqs.

    Now, this won't always work. And you have to be polite, no matter how much you want to say 'What the hell are you talking about?!?' And the attitude must be crisp, clean and professional. But the word no has great power. They will let you walk out sometimes, telling themselves that you were a trouble maker, and etc. However, the ones whom -do- realize that they are on interview just as much as you are when you walk in that room, and whom start to sell -you- on the job and position.. those are the money jobs.. the career makers.

    Different people will get different mileage out of this approach.. if you don't have good interpersonal skills, it's likely that you will fall on your face. It's important that these people be told no with respect and a smile, and with a professional attitude.

    What if you -can't- say no? If you REALLY need the job? Well, you have to set standards for yourself. You have to decide what you are willing to do for what price. As a worker, we are -selling- our labor to an employer.. they are our customers. We have to decide if we want to do business with them or not, based on the conditions as they present themselves. And if you are satisfied that you are getting compensated well for what you are doing, that's pretty much all you can ask out of a position.. oh, and a little fun too. That's always good. Keeps you from chewing off your chair leg.

    ----
  • I find the easiest way to deal with them is to give them a standard line - "Call me back when an employer looking for skill set X is willing to pay Y."
  • ...salary information is company-confidential data.

    From an email I got yesterday from my employer:
    "Dissemintation of any company confidential information, (including...hourly rates...) ... will be grounds for immediate termination and may result in litigation."
  • I have a few looking for me, and they keep finding tech support jobs. One guy even found a job doing backups for $10/hr.

    Those jobs you are passing up could lead you to a position you feel you are more suited for. Get some experience. Get a foot in the door. If nothing else, it will show a prospective employer somewhere down the road that you are willing to work hard.

    I thought my degree was supposed to be in demand

    Experience, skills, and professionalism are always in demand. In my experience, a person can get by with these things (and a few choice others like intelligence and flexibility) without a degree, but having a degree can not compensate for a lack of the other qualities.

    Hang in there. You may have to take a job (or more) that you're overqualified for, but that's not a bad way to gain work experience.

  • Once, about a year and a half ago, I talked to a company via a headhunter on a phone interview. I was, at that time, way under the market in my salary -- the reason being that I was in a company that had promised a great ownership opportunity if I worked under market for a while. They eventually started to go belly-up, and I started looking.

    Most of the companies I interviewed with didn't even ask salary history. I think that most of them "get it" -- it's an open market out there, and if you select candidates based on salary history, you're only hurting yourself.

    But this one company was insistent, so I broke down (I was desperate -- the company I was at just started announcing layoffs) and gave them my current salary. They then asked me what my asking salary was, and made the first (obvious) observation: I was asking for approx. 25% more than I was making at the time.

    This company ACTUALLY asked ME to justify why I was worth a 25% increase in salary to THEM!!! (As if they were paying my current salary...!!!)

    I politely told the nice lady that apparently the headhunter had made a mistake, and that if that was all they were concerned with we were not a good fit.

    POSTSCRIPT: I later went on to get an offer from a company who gave me a 70% increase... they recognized my skills, decided they wanted and could afford them, and didn't bat an eye at paying me what I am worth. And, no -- the question of salary history never even came up with this company.
  • If they press you for a minimum DON't give an exact number( as you'll likely get that number )
    If you have to give them something, be as general as possible "around this$K" or $n*10K to $(n+1)*10K Make it reasonable for the job you're trying for, but don't let them pin you down on a low number, make them give you an offer that is reasonable. Most companies, unless they are really desperate to fill a position, will try to minimize your salary! (Duh)
  • I've sat on both sides of the fence and when I've been doing the interviewing I would normally ask the question, what sort of package are you looking for. I don't really care what you've been paid in the past! I want to know what you want you want and then I can decide if I think you are worth it. When I've been interviewed, I've always answered with the sort of package I've been looking for, not what I'm on. If I think I'm worth 100% pay-rise and they agree fine!..They should of course already have some idea what I'm after, I wouldn't apply for a job for which I knew the salary scale was totally unacceptable. And I'll always negotiate on the first offer, simply on the grounds that people never offer their limit on the first offer, I never would!!
  • My beef with consultants is, from what I've
    experienced, they're better at talking then they are about doing. They're fast at the keyboard but you often have to fix or undo everything you paid them to do -- if they ever finish the project at all.



    You have had some bad luck with consultants. Your doing the age old rating all of them based on your experiences w/ a few. There are a lot of bad consultants, and there are a lot of very good ones.
  • I let potential employers know what I'm on, but I'm not going to take a job for anything less than what I want.

    If my current salary was uncompetitive - then there might be an issue - but I tend to change jobs (or at least threaten to) if my salary begins to become uncompetitive.
  • Clearly you are a part of the HR organization.
    Cooperation is demonstrated by being available during weekends, wearing a pager continuously, working >40 hours week (w/o OT compensation) and being willing to hop on a plane at a moments notice. These are all clearly described in a simple resume and easily verifiable (Is the candidate wearing the ubiquitous pager during the interview?)
    Divulging other personal information, such as marital status, is clearly prohibited by law. Why do the HR and placement (read head-hunter) forces feel they are entitled to this particular piece of VERY personal information. I think countering with a request for the current salaries of other members of the team and/or the budget would put this kind of talk in its proper place.
    I've been down this road a few times myself in recent (read last 3 years) history. The times I divulged my current salary I typically got offers that were 5-7% higher than that figure. When I did not, there was no correlation whatsoever. The job I currently hold I put a stake in the ground at a particular figure and refused to mention any other figure in any other context. I got what I asked for, and isn't success more compelling an argument than making the interviewer "feel better" about you.
  • A carefully constructed salary history is your best friend. Just keep it consistent. Your salary requirement should be ~25% of your current salary; therefore, your salary history should be such that you appear to be asking for a modest (9-12%) increase. Unless, of course, you have less than 2 years experience. Then you can easily double your leverage.
    Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies
  • I'm wondering how legal it is to threaten to fire someone for revealing their own salary. It seems like an obvious anti-competitive restraint of trade. Coercing someone into agreeing by making then sign an employment agreement does not necessarily make it legal! You can't sign away your rights if the courts think upholding the contract would be contrary to the public interest.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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