Haggling about the price
A few minutes ago I saw this interesting post: Ajax Web Developer: $240k per year… with only one catch
. If you want the executive summary, the job location is Iraq, a battle zone.
What I find interesting about jobs like this are the people who debate whether $240,000 is enough to compensate for the very real possibility of being killed:
Unfortunately, the whole 12/hr/day, 7/day/week deal works out to only about $52/hour…
I think that for $240k a year, I could shift my sleep schedule to iRaq time…
I think it would be a cool opportunity, but the 12 hour days, 7 days a week drops the money down to just over $50 an hour. If there is the possibility of being shot at, I need at least $80 per hour :-P
I would take 300k, though probably (?) not 200 to work in Iraq…
And lots of people were debating the tax-free status of this position, as if that’s the only deciding factor between staying or going. I’m sure many of the people commenting were being facetious, however Winston Churchill really put things into perspective in this apocryphal exchange with a socialite
Churchill: “Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?”
Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…”
Churchill: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?”
Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!”
Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.”
If you’re going to sacrifice your life on principle, I commend you for your bravery.
But when it comes to money, either you incorruptible, or you have decided that your life is a commodity, something that can be bought or sold, traded or bartered, played as a pawn and sacrificed so that some contracting company somewhere makes another billion dollars for its shareholders.but I’m not working in a battle zone…
This all seems very surreal, I’m quite sure few or none of my blog readers are wearing combat fatigues and body armour right now.
But the principle applies elsewhere. If you ever find yourself being subjected to personal abuse, or manipulative behaviour by your manager, or asked to lie to clients, or outright cheat such as double billing, you are in the exact same position as someone asked to sacrifice their life. You have to decide whether you are sacrificing your self-esteem for a noble cause, or whether it’s about the money.
And trust me on this one, if it’s about the money, you are on the road of perpetual unhappiness, where every well is dry and every inn is full, and your journey never ends.
If you have a dream, and making that dream a reality involves tough business decisions, good for you. I commend you for having the courage to duke it out with VCs, lawyers, and whomever else will try to get you to mortgage your honesty to fill their coffers.
But if you are dragging yourself to work every day, if you hate what your boss makes you do, if it’s about the money and the vacations and the toys, but not about fundamental satisfaction with your job, you need to stop right now
, sit down with the people you love and trust, and reëvaluate your choices.
Trust me on this one. If $100,000 isn’t enough, neither is $200,000, and $300,000 won’t do it either. We’ve established what they want you to become. All you’re doing is haggling about the price.the sun also rises
The good news is that unless you have signed up for a two year tour of duty with the army, you can stop any time. You can get off the treadmill. You can just stop doing things that aren’t consistent with your values.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t work long hours, or compromise your technical integrity by using a for loop instead of a map function. Making tough choices is part of growing up.
But you do not need to compromise your integrity, ever. And the good news is, you can just say no
. Tell your boss to handle all communications with the client if he doesn’t want you to mention that you only put in twenty hours on their project last week because he has you working for two clients at once.
Tell your client that no, you cannot submit an invoice for $2,500 but accept only $2,000 in payment, with her skimming the extra $500 as a secret commission.
It’s incredible, but this little word, no, it really works. The world does not stop. You don’t get dragged from the room and imprisoned without trial. If you are let go, you will find another job, a better one, a job with people who like you and respect you and want to make money in an honourable fashion.
We have a lot of freedoms. The point of those freedoms is to have an almost completely unrestrained ability to pursue happiness. All you have to do is make the right choices. And the first choice is to simply say no to anything you cannot abide.
That is the road that leads us into the sunshine.