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Is this a great deal or am I being taken advantage of?

(16 Posts)
harrowgreen Tue 05-Jul-16 11:02:06

Am going round and round in circles.

I have a role in my dream industry. I work from home and deal with people at the top of the organisation: it looks amazing on my cv and I genuinely really enjoy it.

However, I'm only being paid for 40-50% of my hours: the job was created for me and the money for it comes from a very complicated budget juggle.. I generally work 25-30hrs/wk but only get paid for 30-40hrs/month. I don't want to explain the details of how the pay works since it'll give me away, but there's no other funding available. I can pick up the odd day here and there which is paid for separately and that makes a big difference, but those days always involve hefty travel which is awkward (young children and a DH who can't help due to his own work-that's non negotiable and fine since it's what pays the mortgage.. ).

Maybe I should work to rule, but then I'd miss out on so many of the opportunities. But then again am I being taken advantage of working like this? The organisation is a not for profit so I could see my extra hours as 'volunteering' I suppose and the childcare (I use a nursery for a few days a week) as an investment. We don't need the money I earn (DH does very well) so maybe it's more about the principle and whether we're throwing money at nursery fees without needing to...

Am I being a mug or is this actually a great situation (flexible hours, from home, great work and opportunities...)??

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 05-Jul-16 11:07:22

Basically you work 120 hours a month.

You are paid for 40 hours a month.

So you are a volunteer for 80 hours a month.

You are also paying for childcare out of the 40 hours a month - so say, you pay for 15 hours?

So you work 120 hours a month, get paid for 40 and pay childcare for 15, so you earn the equivalent of 25 hours pay for 120 hours work.

I don't think that's a great deal, no.

HuckfromScandal Tue 05-Jul-16 11:08:49

You're being taken for a mug imo.
The company is getting the benefit of your hours, and not paying you for them.
In fact - if you worked out what you are earning for the hours that you are working, and the hourly rate comes out lower than 7.20ph, what they are doing is in illegal, in employment law terms, as you are being paid less than the national minimum wage.

How are the hours that you are paid determined against the hours that you currently do for free?

HeyMacWey Tue 05-Jul-16 11:08:51

It's a tricky one.

On paper it does look like you're being taken advantage of, however in the long term it sounds as if you'll be better placed in terms of experience when you look for promotions or alternative role.

Is it a charity with considerable reserves?

The difficulty with working from home is that people don't see all the extra hours you do - does your manager know about the overtime? Could the job be done without the overtime? Or are these optional extras that you've agreed to because of your own interest?

Sometimes we're so grateful to have a flexible, work from home job that we under value ourselves in the marketplace.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 05-Jul-16 11:15:21

in the long term it sounds as if you'll be better placed in terms of experience when you look for promotions or alternative role.

But you could say that about any job Hey. They all help prepare you for promotion or your next role. Doesn't mean you should work for free.

I work in an industry where internships are rife and this is one of my pet hates. If the work you do is of value to an organisation then they have to pay for that work.

HuckfromScandal Tue 05-Jul-16 11:17:13

in my experience
this is not unusual for charities or voluntary sector employers. There seem to be a feeling that people should be so thrilled to work in this sector, that they should accept incredibly bad terms and conditions.

If this is a "3rd sector" job, whilst I would expect that the skills and experience might make you more employable, I would imagine that the fact that you are in essence working a lot of hours for free - would then be expected by other employers as well.
It's not a good situation to be in.

harrowgreen Tue 05-Jul-16 17:19:47

Thanks all-lots of food for thought.

I do take extra work on, but since the role was created for me and has organically grown, that's kind of the nature of it-there's not a set list of tasks to be accomplished. I absolutely should focus on longer term projects rather than the email traffic: that would give me more control over my hours. I probably also need to realise that I'm not working f/t so I can't do every potential project.

I get paid in retrospect: so I only find out how many hours I'm being paid for at the end of the month...

Part of me thinks I should work to rule but then I also worry I'd be cutting off my nose to spite my face: it'd be my CV and experience which suffers. If I called their bluff and threatened to leave (as DH says I should) I don't know what would happen: it's a charity witg money, but there are a lot of employment / HR issues at the minute (so it'd be bad politically to sort out more for me) plus budgets have been set already.

There aren't any other options really around here. We're not in the SE/London where all the decent jobs seem to be, although we may hopefully be in a few years time (so am thinking maybe it's worth sucking this up so when we do move I have a great CV)...

I know I'm good. I do excellent work as people frequently comment upon. I'm of huge value to them. I'm just scared to push it in case I end up with nothing. But I don't want to be doing this and making the sacrifices I do (evenings, time with the children etc) for nothing.

Stormtreader Tue 05-Jul-16 17:30:13

You dont have to do ALL the things, the place wont fall apart if you dont.

You need to have a chat with your manager/boss/whoever and say "these are the possible things coming up, which are the priority for me to work on this month?"

You dont have to work exactly to rule or exactly to your paid hours if you want, but you are doing far far too much free work at the moment, and while they know you will work for free, they will funnel as much work as possible your way.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 05-Jul-16 18:05:20

The thing about charities is they take the piss. The more you do (for free), the more they'll ask of you (for free).

You have to start having some grown up conversations with your manager about your budgeted hours versus the priorities. This will either free up money, or another mug free worker will pop up to pick up the slack, or the work won't get done. None of that will affect your CV - your CV is based on your skills rather than the amount of work you get through. Pick and choose the things which will develop you - they become your priorities, then sit down with your boss and do the trade-off.

JeepersMcoy Tue 05-Jul-16 18:16:01

Your last post sounds to me like this is really matter of you taking on everything going rather than real pressure from your employer (I could be wrong here). If this is the case than I would say there is a middle ground between taking on everything and working to rule. You need to review what you are working on and what it is you actually want to do. What are your long term goals? What are you main priorities for yourself and the organisation? When something comes up look at It carefully and think about whether it will help you meet your goals or not. Stop and really think, even if that means taking a bit of time before you commit. Only take on work that is of value to you and the organisation and politely refuse things that aren't.

Remember to take into account non-work goals as well, such as spending more time with kids or sorting the garden, or watching the game of thrones boxset. These things have value to!

It can be hard saying no at first, but once you try and the world doesn't end it gets easier smile

Floggingmolly Tue 05-Jul-16 18:22:18

How and why was the role created "for you"? It seems unlikely it was an altruistic act of charity on their part confused, more likely they saw your skills would be beneficial for the company and have rather cleverly convinced you that they're the ones doing you a favour; letting you work for half pay...
What would make you think this was a great deal?

HuckfromScandal Wed 06-Jul-16 10:51:51

Several things jump out at me:

If you are good and valued, they would pay you what you are worth. That's clearly not happening.

Not all the "good" jobs are in SE / London.
I work in Scotland - in one of the more remote areas, and earn good money.

Charities take the piss. And you are letting them.
That's up to you. But as another poster said - the more you do - the more they will ask.

And "politically" if it transpired you were being paid below the national minimum wage - that wouldn't look good either!!

harrowgreen Wed 06-Jul-16 16:55:01

"your CV is based on your skills rather than the amount of work you get through. Pick and choose the things which will develop you - they become your priorities".

This really jumped out at me. I agree that I need to be more strategic and focus on what's good for me out of all of this. Some of the opportunities I'm getting are really fantastic (top-level management stuff) so I need to prioritise gaining those skills.

Jeepers - your comment about other things having value is also something I need to note. I had my first baby early (in comparison to others in my then-profession) and I have since then always placed a potentially unhealthy emphasis on work as defining, rather than anything else. I find it incredibly hard to relax or stop (I'm always doing housework or something for the children if I'm not working...).

The role was created for me out of a temporary position. My then-manager was offered a new role, but realised she needed help with it and asked me to join her, coming up with the payment structure we have now. So the role never existed formally / there's no job description.

I understand that not all good jobs are in the SE/London. DH works here and does very nicely indeed. But the majority of the jobs in my sector which I'd want to do (corporate roles) do seem to be there: all the jobs boards I've looked at show this. The only charity roles which seem to come up here are 'Support Worker' which is nothing like what I'm interested in.

I am upset by the comment that if I were 'good and valued' they'd be paying me. Am now starting to question whether I'm actually as good as I assumed I was (I didn't think this was naivety on my part due to the comments I've received and type of work I've been given but maybe it is...).

Stormtreader Wed 06-Jul-16 17:13:11

"I am upset by the comment that if I were 'good and valued' they'd be paying me. Am now starting to question whether I'm actually as good as I assumed I was "

I think it works the other way around actually - your work will be valued with the value that you place on it. If you're willing to do it all for free, it will be perceived as
a) not being worth being paid more than you are
b) easy. Otherwise we'd have to pay a lot more for it!

You may find that by valuing your time properly, you force others to start seeing it as worth more, because you are not offering bags of it for free. You may also experience a loud grumpy push-back once you start trying to lay some ground-rules down, because once people get a favour for long enough, they start to feel entitled to it.

HuckfromScandal Thu 07-Jul-16 08:50:16

I'm sorry if I upset you.
Not my intention.

I was trying to convey (cackhandedly) that you need to value your worth more.
And in turn get them to value it.
You working for, in effect, free - just makes you - to them - that you don't value your own time - so why should they?

harrowgreen Fri 08-Jul-16 16:05:19

Don't worry! I'm fine smile

Thanks for the responses-plenty to ponder. Need to be more aware of my own value...

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