Should flexibility equal a pay cut?

By Katharine Swan On Thursday, April 23, 2009 At 4:19 PM

Today Lori over at Words on the Page blogged about a Morning Show segment featuring a woman who made $1,100 a month sitting by the pool and writing articles for $1 to $20 each. It's upsetting for many of us who are serious about our writing careers (as opposed to a career working by the pool), because it undermines decent wages when clients hear that articles can be had for $1 apiece.

Of course, I think the point of the segment was actually that she was making a living while sitting by the pool, and that she was earning any money at all by doing it. In my experience, this is a pretty common attitude: that we should expect a pay cut for the convenience and flexibility of working from home.

I have mixed feelings about this. I've accepted a pay cut in order to work from home — but in my total monthly income, not in what I get paid per hour. My hourly is actually considerably more than what I got as a full-time technical writer, but at the same time I've chosen to work fewer hours in order to have enough time to work with the horse I rescued a few years ago. The lower income is worth it to me, and I'm lucky enough that my husband's income allows me to make choices like this.

However, the number of hours I work is none of my clients' business. Sure, I may pay for having a flexible work schedule, but I pay for it out of the hours I choose not to work, NOT out of my hourly wage. Don't let clients tell you that the convenience of working from home comes at a price, because technically they are getting a convenience too: the ability to hire someone just for one job, without having to pay benefits or an annual salary.

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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