I’m a web developer. For a while I was working an employee for a company. I had a good contract, decent payment a fixed job location and fixed working hours.
One of our clients made an agreement with my boss where one of his web developers would support them onsite. They were about 100 miles away from our office.Now, I knew contract negotiations were coming up, so I volunteered in hopes of getting a pay raise.
This was a mistake.
I agreed to commute for a week, but it took four. My job was to support their IT department in integrating the system into theirs, but I basically had to do everything for their underqualified developers.
Every week I would think I was finished, and every Friday I would be told by the client that I needed to come in the next week again (which was technically illegal – employment law here states you need four days notice). Over that time I racked up 50 hours of overtime, plus the added travel time.
Eventually I finished the job, and then contract negotiations arrived. I prepared a list of my qualifications:
Me: I solely maintain and administrate this company’s project management software. I’ve trained several new employees. People like me, and I’ve volunteered around the office, increasing the overall employee satisfaction. Also, I took on an onerous and unpopular job helping an offsite client for a month, doing work that helped save our company’s reputation. I think all my extra work makes me an excellent candidate for a negotiable pay raise.
HR: We’re really grateful for what you did for this company. I’m sorry, but because we’re reorganizing the whole company we can’t be considerate of individuals for now.
Me: That “reorganization” was scheduled to have ended three months ago. When do you expect to open negotiations again?
HR: Not for another six months.
Me: This meeting was scheduled a month ago, and I was informed that it was a contract negotiation. Don’t all the things I do for this company count for something?
HR: Well, nobody forced you to do that stuff.
I quit immediately. Five other people left the same day.
The moral? Never do more than your contract requires you to do, except you negotiate a reward beforehand.