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career advice

Discussion in 'Networking' started by councilman, Dec 4, 2001.

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  1. councilman

    councilman Thread Starter

    Aug 29, 2000
    I currently work for a small company and handle EVERYTHING computer related. Last year I received my MCSE. I like my place of employment I'm givin pretty much total control. The problem is the pay. It sucks. Recently I've been doing side jobs for other small businesses but I'm not sure what to charge. One business in particular, a restaurant, wants me to set up a wireless network for there customers to get access to the internet. Can anyone tell me what to charge? Has anyone been in a similar situation and had these side jobs turn into a full time business? Would this be a business that just one individual could handle say if I was just working with small businesses?

  2. plejon


    Jul 26, 2001
    If you're really unhappy about your pay, consider switching jobs. Changes are that if they pay you lousy now, they will continue to do so in the future.

    There are lots of interesting jobs out there that do pay a decent wage. Don't be afraid to switch. It will be an enrichment to work in a different environment.

    Would you work as an employee or self-employed ? There is really only one person who can answer that question: you !

    Starting your own business gives you a lot of freedom and satisfaction. But you have to be ready to do more than the technical stuff. Even if your the best technician on the block, you also need to be a salesman. And be ready to put in the extra hours to do your admin work, etc.

    Owning your business is risky, but very rewarding. Whether you want to do it or not will also depend on your character and personal situation. Do you have a family to support ? A rule of thumb could be to have a one year safety margin. Let's say you don't make any money in your first year (worst case scenario), would you be able to survive ? If the answer is yes, you're probably on the safe side.

    Try to come up with a realistic business and financial plan. Have it reviewed by an independant person. Then make a decision.

    Good luck !
  3. bluemike


    May 20, 2000
    Just out of curiosity, how much does our pay suck? I'm looking at getting my MCSE within the next year or so, and was wondering if I should be asking for a raise. Currently, I'm running just shy of 30k year.

  4. plejon


    Jul 26, 2001
    Since I live in Belgium, I couldn't comment on US wages. I really have no idea how high they are, what this would represent after taxes and what it means in terms of buying power.

    I know there are huge differences within Europe. Companies in London/Paris pays *much* higher wages than Belgium, but I'm not sure if their employees have more buying power. Prices and rent are also pretty steep in those cities.
  5. Brooks

    Brooks Guest

    Oct 30, 2001
    I am running about around $40,000. Which in my area is decent although I could make more working in the private sector. You also need to look at the area you are in to see what the salaries are.

    To live at the same comfort level in Atlanta, I would need to make about 65,000. Actually with both mine and my wife's salary, we would need to make about 120,000 a year which with what my wife does would be hard to do there.

    You also need to look at the other benefits. I love my 15 payed holidays a year not to mention my 18 payed vacation days. Which is good considering that is what we get after one year here and it keeps going up every 10 years. Comp time for overtime, you get called in over the weekend and you get extra days off the next pay period. Good insurance. A great pension plan. A cell phone with lots of time during peak hours and unlimited nights and weekends. No travel other than within the city limits.

    Look at the complete picture of what the company offers.
  6. brianw@torchlak

    [email protected]

    Oct 10, 2001
    Your situation is much like I started out. My first IT job was "in house" for a company with about 25 workstations.

    A word to the wise: when you get out in the "real world" it can be a real eye opener. I'm not being condesending. When you do work day in, day out for the same firm on the same network, it gets to the point where you know the system top to bottom.

    When I left and went to work at a company that did IT services for multiple clients, it was a real wake-up call. I didn't realize how little I actually knew. I still see things on a daily basis that I haven't seen before. You have to be prepared for that. When doing business for yourself, and charging real money for your services, people expect results. I have found that about 50% of my job is knowing and 50% is knowing how to find out. Plan on subscribing to TechNet and buying a few hundred dollars worth of books. Business cards, letter heads, fax line, fax machine and a supply of "emergency parts". You won't be taken seriously without those things.

    That being said, I charge $75/Hr. in northern Michigan. Everybody loves my rates. I'm at least $25/Hr. less than my nearest competitor and $50/Hr. less than others. That's because I operate out of my home and have low overhead. Working for somebody else as a tech in this area pays between $12 and $20 per hour, depending on experience.

    Personally, I prefer the inconsistency of working for myself. All the pay and benefits in the world mean nothing if I'm required to punch the same time clock for the next 30 years. But that's just me. Others thrive on that environment. More power to em'. If I want to take a vacation, I take it. If I need a "personal" day to have my car worked on, I do it.

    To cover for slow times, I am also registered with a local Technical Services agency that sends me on various jobs for a week at a time (one of which will be Puerto Rico, in February).

    The bottom line is, don't make money #1. Make your day to day contentment #1 and adjust your lifestyle to fit.

    Good luck,
  7. SavvyLady


    Oct 14, 2001
    very well said brian... money is not the factor that truly makes one happy with their "career".... if it were it'd be called a "job" instead.
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