What am I?
April 27, 2011 7:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm in the process of being hired on from contractor to full time status. My boss asked me what title I would like. I need some help figuring out what I want to be and how much a person of that title should make.

I work at a solar startup in the bay area. I signed on a year ago working as a facilities guy doing everything from construction work to project management work. Over the past year they have steadily increased my responsibilities. Now, I work for the director of facilities in a department of just two of us. With his supervision I'm in charge of EH&S, ERT, all the facilities, getting bids from contractors, supervising contractors, I also do side work for the VP of development working with customers, doing design work and managing shipping goods through customs. I have several recent emails from my CEO commending me for all of my hard work and my dedication to the company. I also have a BA in the social sciences from a top 100 university.

I asked the VP of Operations and he said Facilities Manager title was a bit too much because I only have 1 year experience in manufacturing at this point. I expect to have a staff of 3-5 in the next year. I also hope to move more into the business development side of things as we grow larger. He suggested that I come up with a title that would be "sexy". I'm looking to metafilter for help with that.

Now the problem. I currently make $19 per hour but am authorized for as much overtime as I can stand. I'm working 60 hours weeks and it's slowly draining my sanity. He said he wanted to keep me on hourly, but I think I'm being underpaid for my qualifications and the work I do.

TLDR: What title would you suggest for a budding corporate guy and how much in salary or hourly, benefits (stock options?) should I ask for? Also, bonus for links to sites or data that corroborate what scale pay is for a person doing this job or any sites with help learning how to negotiate salary.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total)
I can't speak to salary, but people with similar jobs in my experience have been called "Facilities and Logistics Coordinators" or something similar.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:49 AM on April 27, 2011

Solar? I suppose "Sun God" is right out. :) I'd 2nd the "Facilities and Logistics Coordinator" title. For another possible title, would "Program Manager" be appropriate? As I understand it, it's similar to a Project Manager position, but is focused on more long term activities rather than discrete projects.

I can't speak to the salary question, but not that if you're transitioning to an exempt position, you won't be paid overtime, so take that into account in your negotiations. I'd ask about some kind of profit sharing plan (bonuses, etc) on top of your base salary.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:03 AM on April 27, 2011

I Am Not An HR Specialist but as far as I know, it's not really up to them to classify you as hourly or not - it depends on your salary and your job duties as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. This article explains it pretty well but if you have an HR dept or if they consult with someone on HR matters, this should be discussed with them.

Here we have a lot of generic titles - if you can't come up with anything, just "Manager, Facilties Division", would work for now but it does seem like the work you do should be manager level or above.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:07 AM on April 27, 2011

At my workplace, we have "levels" of job titles that reflect our responsibilities thusly:

Officer: Head of a division, reports to Executive Director/CEO
Director: Head of subdivision, has at least 2 direct reports, reports to Officer
Manager: Head of department, has at least one direct report, reports to Director
Administrator: Singleton of department with no direct reports, reports to Director
Coordinator: under Manager, no direct reports

It sounds like if you worked at my workplace, you'd be an Administrator - you report to your Director, and have no direct reports of your own. Facilities Administrator sounds pretty good, too, as it implies more responsibility that Coordinator.

Also, your boss doesn't get to decide whether you're hourly or not. There are rules that must be followed, legally, to determine if you're exempt or non-exempt.
posted by juniperesque at 8:17 AM on April 27, 2011

>> I asked the VP of Operations and he said Facilities Manager title was a bit too much because I only have 1 year experience in manufacturing at this point.

This is a specious argument, to me... if you are doing the work of a Facilities Manager, then that should be your title. A title should reflect what you actually do.

Further, your one year of experience is fairly relative, if this is indeed a start-up. It's not like there are union guys hanging around with 25 years on the job who will be miffed if you leapfrog on title. Start-ups are notorious for having employees who wear multiple hats.

And, considering you are a direct report to a Facilities Director, and a dotted-line report to VP Development, and are soon to have direct reports beneath you... you definitely should have a title at "manager" level. I believe a title should accurately reflect one's status on the org chart so that people outside the company (like the vendors and customers with whom you work directly) understand where you fit in the food chain. A title like "coordinator" or "specialist" doesn't adequately convey your abilities and role within the firm.

But... I agree that Facilities Manager is not sexy, nor will it aid your efforts in business development. And unfortunately, one VP has already voted it down anyway.

What if you suggest, "Title isn't as important to me as doing a good job. I'm not the sort of guy who cares about that.* Let's stick with Facilities Coordinator for right now—and then we can come back and revisit whether it's still accurate at the point when the facilities department has new personnel, and when I'm providing more public-facing support to bus.dev."

It's basically saying, "I'm aware of the internal feelings on this but I also am willing to play ball and 'work up the ladder'."

The other thing it does is firmly establish mutual expectations that in X-Y months, you will be receiving an additional title bump and more responsibility. That lets your resume clearly demonstrate the "increasing responsibility and leadership" that is so valuable for career development.

*Even if you are in fact the guy who cares about title and appearance... every manager loves to hear that someone isn't concerned about the glory and credit, just about doing a good job. I swear I've snagged more title bumps simply by saying I don't care about title.
posted by pineapple at 8:24 AM on April 27, 2011

I have a friend who does a lot of the things that you do only for a large commercial bakery with facilities in two west coast cities. His title is "Facilities Manager." He had a similar role at an equipment manufacturer for about 10 years before he left for the bakery. His salary at the bakery is $50K which I think is low. He, too, works 50-60 and even 70 hours a week. recently they told him to disappear for a few days because they feared he would burn out.
posted by bz at 9:12 AM on April 27, 2011

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