Contract Employee, Without the Contract
March 7, 2013 1:32 AM Subscribe
I'm a newbie web developer and I've been working my first real coding job for about a month. Help me make sure I am covering my ass and getting compensated fairly.
posted by victory_laser to work & money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
tldr; Should I be paid for every hour worked, even though I'm learning and require more hours to get the job done than a normal dev? And, how weird it is that I never actually signed agreement about my rate and the work required? Looking for perspective on norms in the biz.
Position: jr. backend dev
location: a web dev firm
How long: about a month.
Experience: Some coding in college (graduated in the past year), but it was not the focus of my degree. Though I have demonstrated aptitude, my web dev knowledge is really basic. I've never really built anything.
I got the job through a friend that works there. I was looking for work for months before this gig, so I was really happy to get it. With the combination of my desperation for work with my lack of experience, and I'm wondering if I've sold myself short a little.
Rate: My hourly rate is in the $30-$40 range. I think that's fair.
The Project: So far I've been doing maintenance work for an existing project/client that requires a fair amount of regular upkeep, about 6-10 hours per week for the Sr. Dev I took over from. I'm new and I'm learning a lot, so I take longer than he would. No matter how long I actually take to do the work, we've still been billing the client about the amount of time it would take the Sr. Dev to do it (and maybe a little more). This is so we stay within what was quoted to the client. Then, I get paid for the exact number of hours we billed them for, not the number of hours I actually worked.
My Question: Should the firm be paying me my rate for every hour I've worked? Even if my competency is lower than what a normal dev's would be? Even if my friend is basically helping me out and finally giving me an opportunity to start my career?
My interpretation of the situation is: There's kind of an understanding that I'm inexperienced, they're going to give me projects that help me grow essentially groom me into a dev, but that I'm going to have to write off a lot of my learning hours as unbillable. My reasoning is that it's not ideal, but it's better than an unpaid internship / open-source project / startup, which I think a lot of people with my experience start out in.
Contract I never signed a contract with my rate and everything on it. (I know, I know). I thought this was weird. After the initial interview, I negotiated the rate. Then a couple days later when started work, I said to my lead, "Shouldn't I have to sign anything?" He went and talked to the PM for a moment and then came back and was like, "No, you're good." I didn't want to look like a fool/ass, so I let it go.
---Conclusion---I'm about to be start on a new project, and I think I'll soon have an opportunity to renegotiate the pay/hours worked issue, and the contract issue, without implying "I don't trust you people at all." It's going to be my first build from the ground-up, and it's going to take a ton of "extra" hours for me to wrap my head around everything. I need to know what's reasonable of me to ask. If I sign a contract, what needs to be on there?