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Based on your experience, under what circumstances would you consider a 27% raise reasonable?

School district (1800 students) secretary/HR person, just starting her third year out of college (BS in Applied Business Mgmt) and with the district. This is her fourth raise since starting (at a rate that was on par with the other secretaries in the district, even though they were much more experienced), for a total compounded increase of 84%. Her current hourly rate is on par with than that of a fourth-year teacher with a bachelor's degree or a first-year teacher with a master's degree.

I have some serious problems with the size of her raises, but I'm trying to get some perspective before digging into this again.

Thanks.

Kathleen
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Before this gets way off track with wild guesses, what is your interest in this situation? Are you a member of the school board? A parent? A teacher? A taxpayer in the district? Something else?

--Peter
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School district (1800 students) secretary/HR person, just starting her third year out of college (BS in Applied Business Mgmt) and with the district. This is her fourth raise since starting (at a rate that was on par with the other secretaries in the district, even though they were much more experienced), for a total compounded increase of 84%. Her current hourly rate is on par with than that of a fourth-year teacher with a bachelor's degree or a first-year teacher with a master's degree.

You say she's a 'secretary/HR person' but refer to 'the other secretaries'. So I would first ask if they are truly comparable job duties, so that they can reasonably be compared. Is she even in the same job code/title as the others?

Have her duties expanded significantly since she was hired, so that the raises were due to the added duties, rather than a merit raise?

How does her compensation compare to others with similar duties outside the school district, but in the same geographic area? Or, in different geographic areas, for other school districts? Or, for that matter, to a 4th year teacher with a bachelor's degree, since you said that's what her salary is on par with?

And to echo Peter's question - what's your interest, other than as a property owner/taxpayer in the district? (Because I assume you wouldn't be asking these questions if there weren't at least some of your tax money at stake.)

AJ
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If it's an arms-length relationship, normal business practice is to pay people just enough to prevent them from quitting and accepting a better offer from another employer.

For a highly competent employee, 27% isn't unheard of.

intercst
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The only time I've ever gotten raises like that were lateral jumps to a competitor, and once a promotion to an exempt position where I'd been working crazy hours as a non-exempt employee and they had to keep my pay level (or else why would I ever do that?).

I advocated for a very large (30%) raise for one of my hires once because I really low-balled him when he came in and quickly realized he was worth way more than that. Could this be that?
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My interest is as a taxpayer and former parent (kids are in college). I also plan to run for the school board next spring. I was a teacher 3 decades ago and have a number of friends who are local teachers.

I started going through the details of the school finances (which are public record and posted on the district website) when said secretary made a comment in the public portion of a board meeting that some teachers made more than the principals--said with some "attitude". The statement was inaccurate (depends what data you look at and what interpretations you make).

This incident has been followed by a number of similar statements, omissions, and whatnot by a variety of school personnel. The most significant recent statement is that our high school has 95% attendance when it is actually about 83% for funding purposes--a discrepancy worth somewhere between $300K and $500K--between 3 and 7 fully-burdened teachers.

I do NOT believe that anyone involved is evil or doing anything significantly wrong (no criminal intent or negligence). I do believe that our superintendent lacks a well-developed business/financial sense and that our board has forgotten that oversight is part of their job.

Thanks.
Kathleen
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Individual in question is the only district office secretary, but there are 1-3 secretaries at each of the school buildings. Most of the school building secretaries do not have a degree, but otherwise duties are similar. Her writing skills, as evidenced by meeting minutes and public notices, are no better than those of the experienced-but-degreeless secretaries.

Not entirely sure how much time the HR part of her job consumes--guesstimating not more than half time at most. However, I question some information on things like FMLA that she has given to teachers. Furthermore, part of the job of an HR professional is pay equity among various groups--something that seems to be sorely lacking in our district.

According to data available on the state website, her pay last fiscal year was about 9% below the average for the state for an HR person, 21% above for a district secretary. The neighboring district that we tend to compare ourselves with on everything does not have an HR person, but our district secretary pay is about 12% above theirs. These numbers do not account for experience or education.

She appears to be about 25%++ above what our county government pays for similar (clerk/secretary/HR) services. She would have to be deemed a superior performer to get close to what she is making at the school district.

While government jobs typically pay less than private sector, our county is pretty small, so the schools and county generally pay better than average unless you happen to be in construction.

Thanks for the responses.

Kathleen
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A few questions:

Is this position directly responsible to the superintendent or assistant superintendent?

Is this position responsible for compliance with local, state, and federal HR regulations?

Does this position require specialized trainmen in HR?

Is this position responsible for contractual compliance?

Is the person in this position involved in union negotiations?

Does this position have administrative / supervisory responsibilities?

Does the person in this position participate in screening, interviewing, or evaluating candidates?

Did the person in this position replace someone who held this position for many years as the responsibilities expanded?

PF
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...quickly realized he was worth way more than that. Could this be that?

If she knew that a "consulate" is not the same as a "consonant"; that a "modular" classroom has nothing to do with a "modeler"; that a global search-and-replace to substitute "superintendent" for "principal" cannot be done on documents that include financial discussions; etc., etc., I'd be more inclined to think this. And she was not low-balled coming in. (To be fair, the board president, who is a commercial loan VP, also missed the superintendent/principal substitution thing even though he was reading the document out loud. It would be hysterical if it weren't so indicative of the total inability of so many to read critically.)

Part of my reason for asking this also is that the last time I heard of anyone getting a raise like this was in the late 80's when some people (software developers) moved to some competitors. Their 25% raises were considered astounding even though the economy was doing great and they were highly skilled employees.

Thanks.

Kathleen
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Is this position directly responsible to the superintendent or assistant superintendent? Yes--the superintendent. There are three people in the district office: superintendent, secretary/HR, business manager.

Is this position responsible for compliance with local, state, and federal HR regulations? Don't believe so. That is the superintendent, but he does have her prepare many of the required state and federal reports.

Does this position require specialized trainmen in HR? No. She has, at this point, attended at least one seminar on HR stuff, and several trainings on state reporting requirements for attendance.

Is this position responsible for contractual compliance? No.

Is the person in this position involved in union negotiations? She took minutes the first year negotiations were held, but no involvement since.

Does this position have administrative / supervisory responsibilities? No.

Does the person in this position participate in screening, interviewing, or evaluating candidates? She reviews application packets to ensure completeness and answers applicant questions on the fingerprinting requirements (where to go, how to set up the appointment, how to submit). She ensures that teacher credentials are on file and up-to-date. There is no other involvement with hiring of any personnel--teacher or otherwise.

Did the person in this position replace someone who held this position for many years as the responsibilities expanded? She did replace a very senior (30+ years) district secretary/HR person when that person retired. After 3 years, the pay of the person in question has exceeded the pay of the previous person by almost 12%.

Thanks.
Kathleen
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She did replace a very senior (30+ years) district secretary/HR person when that person retired. After 3 years, the pay of the person in question has exceeded the pay of the previous person by almost 12%.

I believe you have the answer to you question. It is likely that the person in the job today is not being overpaid. The person who had the job for many years, was seriously underpaid.

PF
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I believe you have the answer to you question. It is likely that the person in the job today is not being overpaid. The person who had the job for many years, was seriously underpaid.

Yes, yes, and yes. PF is exactly on point: I've seen this 'phenomenon' over and over where I work (> 30,000 employees in diverse departments). Administrations get away with underpaying staff for years and when those people leave or retire can no longer compete for job duties without meeting higher salary demands.

Pete
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Lucky for this new HR person there was not an H1 card holder that is qualified or was considered for this position. In my company I have found HR people are seldom foreign nationals and are highly compensated. After seeing them in action it has continued to amaze me.

Long gone are the days when people in IT get much of a raise simply because so many companies either off shore their IT work or hire H1 and H1B green cards to come in and work incredible hours at a very low salary.

But HR has, from what I have seen and experienced in recent years, have been very well compensated and treated well. Where I work they are one of the few that have their own office and conference room so they do not have to hunt down a conference, they have reserved parking places and drive VERY nice cars and dress to the 9's.

Something about HR positions must be very special that I am missing that is for sure.
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Really appreciate the responses and additional questions--definitely helps me focus on some of the issues that surround pay rates.

Again, I don't think there is any malicious or criminal intent going on, but do think we have pay inequities in a few places due to people not really paying attention over the years. It concerns me when one person gets such a large increase.

Thanks. Feel free to keep responding.

Kathleen
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Long gone are the days when people in IT get much of a raise simply because so many companies either off shore their IT work or hire H1 and H1B green cards to come in and work incredible hours at a very low salary.

Offshoring is real issue. But H1B isn't quite as easy as you make it sound. You can't hire a foreign H1B worker to a position unless you've posted it and can't find a qualified US citizen to fill the job. And you can't pay less to an H1B than you would to a US citizen. The purpose of the program is to provide skilled technology worker if the US labor market is in short supply - not to supplant US citizens with cheaper foreign labor.

I work with a lot of H1Bs, and overseas developers for a large software company. We have to go through a lot of trouble posting job openings before we can even renew someone's H1B. FWIW, the vast majority of the H1Bs I work with apply for their green card, and eventually become citizens. It's just a different path to immigration for many.
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I also plan to run for the school board next spring.

You do realize that school boards generally just have 3 things that they do, correct? The school board hires and fires the superintendent, sets policy, and sets the budget. In some places, the school board can also hire and fire the director of Special Education.

So the school board has no real say on individual raises or salaries beyond the superintendent, although can clearly question why one thing was in the budget vs. another thing.

So it's not like you could fire the individual in that position if you are on the school board, so you might want to consider what action you could possibly take with such knowledge.

It is good to be informed, but you should also know what your action can or should be with the knowledge you have gained.

Just my view from someone who served on a school board for 6 years with 3 years as chair.
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What you say may be true except those of us older workers have been given the clear message that we can easily be replace with cheaper Green cards. I know several technology workers who have been looking for a long time for a new job and cannot because a foreign national has the job.

In my company we have teams of nothing but HIB's and once one becomes an American citizen hires only more H1B's. They are usually paid less because they are young and are willing to live 10 to a 2 bedroom apartment and sleep in shifts and live very close to the bone.

American technology workers are not as in much of a short supply as big business would have everyone believe.

As time goes on the foreign worker is becoming the pre-dominate force in a lot of non-technology jobs. But I have to say I have noticed HR is not one of them yet. That's why HR specialists are still highly compensated. Have you seen the commercials for the NAMELY (I think that is what it is called) company? As I recall all the actors are very much white Americans.

HR people are still a privileged group in most companies.
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nick2302 analyzes,

As time goes on the foreign worker is becoming the pre-dominate force in a lot of non-technology jobs. But I have to say I have noticed HR is not one of them yet. That's why HR specialists are still highly compensated. Have you seen the commercials for the NAMELY (I think that is what it is called) company? As I recall all the actors are very much white Americans.

</snip>


NAMELY software homepage.
https://www.namely.com/landing/

</snip>


intercst
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As time goes on the foreign worker is becoming the pre-dominate force in a lot of non-technology jobs. But I have to say I have noticed HR is not one of them yet. That's why HR specialists are still highly compensated. Have you seen the commercials for the NAMELY (I think that is what it is called) company? As I recall all the actors are very much white Americans.

Well, technically, all of those 'white Americans' are foreigners or descendants of foreigners anyway, since they aren't Native Americans. But that's fine - continue your rants against all the injustices in your life. It's entertaining to watch, and to reply to every once in a while.

AJ
- who thinks nick would do well to read some of the back posts on this board, so he can gain an understanding of a posting style that won't be 'misinterpreted' as much as he appears to think he is. Until then, I guess we will get to keep calling him on his negative rants, so that he can rant even more while protesting he's not the one who's ranting.
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If you think my reply was a rant then you are way off the mark. There is nothing about what I said that is a rant or meant to be a rant.
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There is nothing about what I said that is a rant or meant to be a rant.

Then you might want to either back your statements up with facts that you can cite or quit whining. The way it is, your style comes off as ranting.

AJ
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If you think my reply was a rant then you are way off the mark. There is nothing about what I said that is a rant or meant to be a rant.


Look up "Dunning-Kruger effect".
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jeffbrig,

You wrote, Offshoring is real issue. But H1B isn't quite as easy as you make it sound. You can't hire a foreign H1B worker to a position unless you've posted it and can't find a qualified US citizen to fill the job. And you can't pay less to an H1B than you would to a US citizen. The purpose of the program is to provide skilled technology worker if the US labor market is in short supply - not to supplant US citizens with cheaper foreign labor.

I work with a lot of H1Bs, and overseas developers for a large software company. We have to go through a lot of trouble posting job openings before we can even renew someone's H1B. FWIW, the vast majority of the H1Bs I work with apply for their green card, and eventually become citizens. It's just a different path to immigration for many.


I've worked for a number of hardware and software companies over the years. And I would say you are being naive. Very naive.

Money is a strong motivator and quite a few companies cheat. I honestly think my currently employer endeavors to play by the rules. But from my experience that is more the exception than the rule.

Over the years I've responded to several of the types of job postings you mention. Usually they spend a few minutes on the phone with me and then cut the call short when they find out I'm a US citizen or they bring me in for an interview and then tell me that they're only offering about half the going rate.

The latter is the most frustrating. I appreciate the more honest ones. The ones where they actually post the requirement for H1B eligibility and a ridiculously low wage right in the listing. Or the occasional recruiter that tells me flat-out on the phone call that they're not really interested in hiring locally. They might be risking getting into trouble; but at least they're not wasting my time.

For the most part, companies that cheat only do so occasionally. But I've worked at one huge conglomerate (not based in the USA) that cheated systematically on H1Bs and was down-right abusive with L1 employees. Most (over 80%) of the technical staff was in this category. The average turn-over rate for most US citizens was probably under a year, despite making more than twice their co-workers - some of whom seriously resented us. I lasted nearly 2 years and saw a number come and go. I'm also pretty friendly with my peers and quite a few confided in some of the details of their employment situation ... and none of it was very pretty.

Overseas contracting firms make it easy for US employers to turn a blind eye to these practices. And it's not just Indian firms or Indian contractors either. There are firms based in a number of countries that seem to specialize in this type of practice.

It's hard on both US citizens and the foreign contract employees. Most of the latter didn't know what they were getting into. Most didn't have a reasonable expectation as to the cost of living in USA, nor did they understand prevailing wages. Most that come here feel cheated too. Worse, the US born employees often resent them. But at least with the H1B, the employee has some flexibility and freedom to get out of the situation. The L1 visa locks the employee into their situation much like an indentured servant because if they refuse to do as they're told, they won't have a chance to work again in the USA and they can't change their situation unless they complete their contract and return home first.

I have to say though ... it does feel strange kind of agreeing with nick2302.

BTW being a Libertarian, I'd rather not have all these restrictions. Employers cheating employees like this makes for a difficult work environment. I'd rather compete with others for my job honestly. And I'd rather not work for an employer that feels it necessary to cheat its employees. And I'd rather not live in a country that feels it necessary to create immigration laws that help enable this type of behavior. And yes, I know that's not the intention of the laws. But laws have consequences and one of them is that people will find a way to use them to their advantage if they think they can get away with it.

- Joel
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nick2302,

You wrote, What you say may be true except those of us older workers have been given the clear message that we can easily be replace with cheaper Green cards. I know several technology workers who have been looking for a long time for a new job and cannot because a foreign national has the job.

Green cards? I don't think so. Green cards are the closest thing you can get in immigration to being a US citizen. They have essentially no employment restrictions and compete with US citizens on a level playing field.

H1Bs are more restrictive. You have to have to have a employer sponsor you. L1s are even more restrictive - you can only work for a single employer while here. These types of visas have lots of unintended consequences for the foreign national that puts them at a competitive disadvantage. Often they must accept a lower wage or leave the country.

A green card holder is a permanent resident of the USA and has most of all the rights and responsibilities of a US citizen. Typically a green card holder has been in the USA for years, knows the area well, may even own an home and have a family here and will certainly expect the same wages as any US citizen.

Personally I have no problem with green card holders. One of the two founders of the second company I worked for was a green card holder. Nice guy. He was my boss for several years. Definitely not a problem that he wasn't born here.

In fact, if you insisted on having a tech industry without foreign nationals, the USA probably wouldn't be nearly as far along technologically. Hell, even the space race was more or less won by a German who'd defected during World War II...

- Joel
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nick2302: "If you think my reply was a rant then you are way off the mark. There is nothing about what I said that is a rant or meant to be a rant."

I will give you a hint about communication:

1. There is what you think/mean,
2. There is what you say (or in the case of TMF, what you write),
3. There is what the recipient hears (or reads),
4. There is what the recipient understands you to mean.

Communication is not successful unless all four work, and clearly, WRT your posts, it is not working because 4 is not matching 1, and most the recipients are understanding the same thing. That particular result (recipients all obtaining the same meaning but not what the speaker/writer intended) means that the problem is occurring in step 1 or step 2.

Regards, JAFO
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You are correct I meant to say L1's and H1B's. Once they become a US Citizen (which takes years if done properly) then they are on a more level playing field. On a team of 12 there are two non-India Indians on my team. One of which came to this country as a 3 year old from Russia and myself.

I am not insisting on a tech industry with out any foreign nationals I am just attempting to make the point the American citizen worker is at a clear dis-advantage and the playing field is being tilted against them.

I doubt this will come home until more and more non-computer professions find ways to off shore their work. Some already have, reading x-rays, call centers galore, accounting positions and other what would be considered white collar professional jobs. As more and more of these other professions find the invasion (maybe too strong a word) continues they will wake up and start pushing back. One can only hope it happens sooner rather than later.
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I've worked for a number of hardware and software companies over the years. And I would say you are being naive. Very naive.

Money is a strong motivator and quite a few companies cheat. I honestly think my currently employer endeavors to play by the rules. But from my experience that is more the exception than the rule.


I will readily admit - your experience is certainly broader than mine. I'm the rare software developer that has worked for the same company since graduating college - 17 years ago. My company plays it by the book...I'm at a level where I'm involved in the interviewing/hiring process.
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Offshoring is real issue. But H1B isn't quite as easy as you make it sound. You can't hire a foreign H1B worker to a position unless you've posted it and can't find a qualified US citizen to fill the job. And you can't pay less to an H1B than you would to a US citizen. The purpose of the program is to provide skilled technology worker if the US labor market is in short supply - not to supplant US citizens with cheaper foreign labor.


I'm sorry, but <cough> bu**sh*t <cough>

Maybe you should google "H1B abuse" if you haven't already heard about the dozens of cases now in the news - Disney springs to mind, 400 workers forced to train replacements before being kicked out the door after decades of service - but there are many tech companies that bring in an H1B and force the current employer to train their replacement under threat of losing their severance package. It's abused ALL OVER the place, especially in tech. Rampant and humiliating to older workers. We have PLENTY of "qualified workers" who took out loans, went to college, and then can't compete with someone who'll do their job for half. I worry for my children. Tell 'em to get student loans, then hand their jobs over to H1Bs. Yea!


http://www.infoworld.com/article/3004501/h1b/proof-that-h-1b...

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/silenced-workers-who-lost-...

I say set the minimum salary of any H1B worker at $100,000. IF you REALLY NEED them and NOBODY IN AMERICA can do that job, that shouldn't be much of an imposition. Right? Right??

Else, it's all just loads of BS from the tech industry that brought us non-competitive salary fixing between Apple and Google and Intel.

https://www.cnet.com/news/google-adobe-apple-intel-settle-wa...

Yes, the ever so virtuous companies don't abuse H1B. <snort!>
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Was replaced by two (2) H1B IC (Integrated Circuit) layout designers.

Designed complex state of the art computer chips as well as complex Standard I/O and Standard cell libraries for over 41 years.

https://www.britannica.com/technology/integrated-circuit
https://cdn.sparkfun.com/assets/e/f/1/b/8/51c0d009ce395ff933...

Could not find a job in my area as an IC designer and became a full-time Professional Swing Trader.
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... Disney springs to mind, 400 workers forced to train replacements before being kicked out the door after decades of service - but there are many tech companies that bring in an H1B and force the current employer to train their replacement under threat of losing their severance package.
...
___________
I know quite a few people who lost their jobs in the manner you describe, training a foreign worker...

I do not know a single one for who the H1B was a part of the problem

The situation does happen all the time, and the jobs, in every single case I know of, are sent entirely to another country.
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Offshoring is real issue. But H1B isn't quite as easy as you make it sound.... <snip>


I'm sorry, but <cough> bu**sh*t <cough>

^^this^^
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In many cases, H1B's are the modern day equivalent of indentured servitude. I see it especially with software guys in my workaday world. Had a couple Indian guys just check out and jump off one of our buildings.

At least the Irish and the likes o' them had a chance to stay in the country country more or less legally if they bailed from an abusive employer.
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In many cases, H1B's are the modern day equivalent of indentured servitude. I see it especially with software guys in my workaday world.

Undoubtedly there are abuses. There are also cases where the H1B system works well.

I came to the US on an H1B. I wasn't exploited (any more than American workers were). I made excellent pay with full benefits, bonuses, profit share, 401k, etc. Several colleagues had the same experience (two from UK, one from China, one from Iran). The small company we worked for had a heck of a time recruiting and keeping talent. The H1B route was costly for them. They would much rather have employed only US citizen workers.

They did expect a lot from us. A lot of people didn't want to put in the kind of commitment needed. It wasn't the kind of place to work if you liked to go home at 5 every day.
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"I came to the US on an H1B. I wasn't exploited (any more than American workers were). I made excellent pay with full benefits, bonuses, profit share, 401k, etc. Several colleagues had the same experience (two from UK, one from China, one from Iran). The small company we worked for had a heck of a time recruiting and keeping talent. The H1B route was costly for them. They would much rather have employed only US citizen workers.

They did expect a lot from us. A lot of people didn't want to put in the kind of commitment needed. It wasn't the kind of place to work if you liked to go home at 5 every day. "


Yeah...you were 'captives'......you lose your job, you lose your H1B, and you get booted out of the US.

60-80 hour work weeks and 40 hours of pay. Slave labor.

No wonder your employee loved them.

And, of course, no US citizen was fool enough to work 60-80 hours a week for 40 hours of pay.




t.
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And, of course, no US citizen was fool enough to work 60-80 hours a week for 40 hours of pay.

My wife does it all the time.

PSU
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And, of course, no US citizen was fool enough to work 60-80 hours a week for 40 hours of pay.

Except just about every employee of a startup, ever.
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And, of course, no US citizen was fool enough to work 60-80 hours a week for 40 hours of pay.

You have no idea what you're talking about. Silicon Valley is full of such US citizens. I was one before I retired. As one of my bosses along the way said: "We don't pay you well so you'll work hard. We hire only people who would work hard even if they weren't paid. You all love what you're doing. The point of paying you well is so that you don't have to worry about what's going on outside of work."

-IGU-
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"And, of course, no US citizen was fool enough to work 60-80 hours a week for 40 hours of pay."

PSU:"My wife does it all the time.

----


Which is one of the reasons I decided to retire early.

Too many inefficient engineers who HAD to 'work' 60 hours to get 40 hours of work done. Then managers praising those who 'spent all that time in the office'.

Duh!

I got my work done in 40 hours. Didn't need another 20 hours to goof off and be inefficient.

If you work at a start up, and they dangle stock options, that is one thing.

If they don't and expect you to make them rich.....that is another thing....and you'd be stupid to do it if you don't get a big reward. or the possibility..since most startups die on their own.

t.
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Too many inefficient engineers who HAD to 'work' 60 hours to get 40 hours of work done. Then managers praising those who 'spent all that time in the office'.

I work in consulting, so the easy job performance metric is the number of billable hours.

What was accomplished in all those hours is barely after thought.
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And, of course, no US citizen was fool enough to work 60-80 hours a week for 40 hours of pay.


It's clear that you've been out of the workforce for a while...
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Which is one of the reasons I decided to retire early.

Too many inefficient engineers who HAD to 'work' 60 hours to get 40 hours of work done. Then managers praising those who 'spent all that time in the office'.

Duh!

I got my work done in 40 hours. Didn't need another 20 hours to goof off and be inefficient.


You seem to project your past work situation on others. Her long work week isn't due to inefficiency. It's due to having a work load that won't fit into a 40 hour work week.

PSU
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telegraph wrote:
...and you'd be stupid to do it if you don't get a big reward.

Methinks you are confused about who is stupid. The stupid one is working at a job he doesn't enjoy. Limiting yourself to the forty hours you get paid for when you're having fun would also be stupid. Getting paid to have fun -- now that's smart.

No wonder you retired early.

-IGU-
(Of course not everybody gets to work at stuff they enjoy. But the LBYM lifestyle helps to give you that choice.)
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"It's clear that you've been out of the workforce for a while... "

Heh heh.....there were still pointy haired bosses 20 years ago when I was working.

One of them annually pointed out how Mr X was 'always in the office by 7am and stayed till 7 or 8 each night'. I always had to point out that Mr X didn't accomplish anything more than me, and in fact was so inefficient that it took him twice as long as me and other people who didn't waste half their time.........

It went round and round.

Before that, for 4 years, I was taking courses after work (working on my MSEE degree and another MA degree that I had to 'leave to get to class'......

Half or more of the people who 'worked late' did so to either avoid the rush hour because they had horrible commutes, or didn't want to go home to their wife and kids if they had any, or were killing time to do other evening activities nearby.

I remember my first job where one department had to work unpaid Saturdays to 'get the project finished'. They did that for 8 months. After the project was finished, 80% of them were laid off. nice reward......

Some folks in my department did the same. most of them got laid off too when the 'project ended'. Me included. This was a company I learned later 'hired up' for a few years to get a new product line out to market, then laid off most of the people they had hired a few years before - when the project was done. The more they could work their workers, the faster they got it done, and the more money the managers made in bonuses for 'getting it done early and at lower cost'.



t.
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"Methinks you are confused about who is stupid. The stupid one is working at a job he doesn't enjoy. Limiting yourself to the forty hours you get paid for when you're having fun would also be stupid. Getting paid to have fun -- now that's smart.

No wonder you retired early."

----

I worked 31 years.

A lot of those years were times where I had fun and felt like I was accomplishing something nifty. Other years were not so fulfilling.
Most of the time I liked going to work, but there were intervening times where one could tell that the wheels weren't spinning, that projects weren't going to happen all the way to the end.......

I retired early when someone asked me 'would you come to work for free'? One of my co-workers (this back 17 years ago)......we had good discussions about safe withdrawal rates - the planners on the web, etc).

Simple question.

but...when you have accumulated enough assets - so that you can live at the same spending level if you 'retired' as if you were working......

then you are 'working for free'. Anything you get paid goes to pile up more assets, that either you won't have time to spend in retirement, or Uncle Sam will take their 55% of...(and back then it was 55% on everything over $650,000).....and you leave a pile to your relatives...who don't need it or deserve it....

THAT is why I retired early.

I had fun projects....everything from satellites and TV Broadcasting, to fiber undersea cables to network switching, transmissions systems from microwave to gigahertz local networks.....and I had boring stuff on silly projects I knew were going nowhere fast but some dumb management type had a bug about (or had an investment in?).....

Nope... there were times I did work an extra hour or two a day for six months....but it turned out to be mostly useless 'after the fact' anyway...... management barking up the wrong tree.....but it was a fun time.....


t.
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work -> fun

I don't get it.

PSU
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then you are 'working for free'.

Our department had a voluntary layoff once, and a popular guy in our group (right across the wall from my cubicle) was 63, so he qualified for 2 years salary as severance pay.

Everybody expected him to take the package, but he did not. I asked him why, and he said he had a kid in college and couldn't afford to lose his paycheck. I said, "Bill, they are going to give you all the pay you'd get until you retire now, in one lump sum!" But, nope he wouldn't take it. Somehow in his mind, 1 paycheck a month for 24 months was better than 24 paychecks all at once.

When he retired 2 years later at 65, everybody pointed out to him that he had just worked the last two years for free.
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And, of course, no US citizen was fool enough to work 60-80 hours a week for 40 hours of pay.

Academic people do this a lot. Faculty meetings, advising and working with students, committee meetings, prepping for and teaching classes, grading papers, doing and writing up one's own research, and the list goes on.

Some people mention that the summers are vacation time. The only real vacation in the summer is the vacation from paychecks coming in. Meanwhile, it could be a time for teaching summer school (to make up for the lack of a regular paycheck), working summer orientation sessions, or perhaps a time for finally doing one's own research and writing --otherwise the annual review won't go so well and that's something that those nine months of paychecks are directly linked to.

culcha
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Academic people do this a lot.

Yes. My father was a professor/scientist who worked long hours at the university (he would go there at 5 am every weekday), and then come home and often work some in the evenings at home. Even after his "retirement", he continued to maintain an office and work on research as long as he was able, for no pay other than his pension that he was going to get anyway. He loved his work and accomplished a lot. He's departed this world now, but I'm pretty sure that if we could ask him if he would do it all again, his answer would be "yes". It wasn't all about the money for him.
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no US citizen was fool enough to work 60-80 hours a week for 40 hours of pay.

Unless they have to, to stay employed.

Not every employee has that much power.
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"Everybody expected him to take the package, but he did not. I asked him why, and he said he had a kid in college and couldn't afford to lose his paycheck. I said, "Bill, they are going to give you all the pay you'd get until you retire now, in one lump sum!" But, nope he wouldn't take it. Somehow in his mind, 1 paycheck a month for 24 months was better than 24 paychecks all at once.

When he retired 2 years later at 65, everybody pointed out to him that he had just worked the last two years for free. "

Plus, he got to pay $20,000 in SS tax and Medicare tax for those two years he worked.

In a lump sum, nothing would have been taken out.

Yep, sounds like this guy wasn't ready to retire. Loved 'being at work'. Maybe had a spouse he didn't want to spend all his time with.

or he couldn't manage his money.


t.
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60-80 hour work weeks and 40 hours of pay. Slave labor.

If people ARE willing to work 60-80 hour work weeks for 40 hours of pay, you obviously aren't matching the pay to the job.

For example, many people would gladly work 60 to 80 hour weeks for 40 hours of CEO pay.

If people are willing to work 60-80 hour work weeks for the same pay they used to get for 40 hours at that job, then the market rate has changed and devalued the worth of the job. Meaning someone else WOULD take that job from them if they don't want it any more at the new pay.
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Yeah...you were 'captives'......you lose your job, you lose your H1B, and you get booted out of the US.

I switched employers while on my first H1B. I got a better offer from a competitor and switched. An H1B holder is not as captive as you think.

60-80 hour work weeks and 40 hours of pay. Slave labor.

Not us. We got project bonuses, plus when working at customers' sites, which I did most of the time, we were paid base salary plus hourly rate "bonus" for hours billed over 50. I was making 3x what I had been in the UK and saving more than 60% of it. I was one happy camper.

And, of course, no US citizen was fool enough to work 60-80 hours a week for 40 hours of pay.

I think that's been dealt with. Times have changed, I guess.
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"Not us. We got project bonuses, plus when working at customers' sites, which I did most of the time, we were paid base salary plus hourly rate "bonus" for hours billed over 50. I was making 3x what I had been in the UK and saving more than 60% of it. I was one happy camper."


Glad you enjoyed US Capitalism.

Obviously, you never would have been able to do that in the UK. or most of Europe.

Likely in the UK, they would have wound up outsourcing that to Russian programmers who work for cheap.

t.
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If people are willing to work 60-80 hour work weeks for the same pay they used to get for 40 hours at that job, then the market rate has changed and devalued the worth of the job. Meaning someone else WOULD take that job from them if they don't want it any more at the new pay.


golly, an investment board where someone groks basic laws of the universe like supply and demand (and introduces them to the conversation). /clapclapclap/
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Glad you enjoyed US Capitalism.

Obviously, you never would have been able to do that in the UK. or most of Europe.


I enjoyed the higher value USA employers placed on engineering talent. Capitalism was and is very much a part of the economic system in the UK.
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When he retired 2 years later at 65, everybody pointed out to him that he had just worked the last two years for free.

Not completely for free. Medical coverage for a family isn't cheap. Depending on his work history, two years could make a difference in his Social Security. Other benefits such as life insurance could also make a difference.
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vkg writes,

<<<When he retired 2 years later at 65, everybody pointed out to him that he had just worked the last two years for free.>>>

Not completely for free. Medical coverage for a family isn't cheap. Depending on his work history, two years could make a difference in his Social Security. Other benefits such as life insurance could also make a difference.

</snip>


Maybe Ray can clue us in, but typically these kinds of buyout offers include extending medical coverage through age 65 when the employee is eligible for Medicare. Otherwise no one would take the package.

Assuming this guy was paying maximum FICA, working another 2 years wouldn't add much to his SS check. The "bend point" formula only gives high salary workers a 15% credit on the last dollar subject to FICA. A minimum wage worker gets a 90% credit.

https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/piaformula.html

I'd be surprised if working another 2 years added more than $25/month to his SS check.

What happens to my Social Security benefit if I retire early?
http://www.retireearlyhomepage.com/soc_security.html

</snip>


intercst
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<i?<<<When he retired 2 years later at 65, everybody pointed out to him that he had just worked the last two years for free.>>>

Not completely for free. Medical coverage for a family isn't cheap. Depending on his work history, two years could make a difference in his Social Security. Other benefits such as life insurance could also make a difference.

</snip>

Maybe Ray can clue us in, but typically these kinds of buyout offers include extending medical coverage through age 65 when the employee is eligible for Medicare. Otherwise no one would take the package.


Correct.
The buyout packages at Motorola always included health insurance (at the company's cost) until 65. That was true for Bill's VSP ("voluntary separation package") and mine several years later.
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