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RE: Unions & DBA - Job boundaries & perks

From: Rama Malladi <>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 09:08:37 -0800
Message-Id: <>

 I was in England before. I did not come across any unions among Software people. They may belong to an union simply because their organization is unionized. Say for ex. If you work with a big Auto industry firm, you may belong to an union, even though you do software stuff...

 That is my observation and I could be wrong. Anyways, Salaries there are very low. A New Grad gets around UK Pounds 15000/year. Where as in the US, it is about $40000/year. Same with experienced people. After 3 years experience, people there make UK Pounds 25000/year, in US, it goes above $60000/year. These are averages....

 So there is price to having unions... America is better off the way it is now.... Otherwise I would not have moved to US....!!!


-----Original Message-----

From: []On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2000 5:10 AM To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L Subject: Re: DBA - Job boundaries & perks


We had a client from the U.K. who had
their people on-site here in the U.S. One of their software guys was surprised to
hear that we software people didn't have unions. We don't really have much protection for our working conditions the way that some software and computer industry workers do in the U.K. and in Europe.

It is possible for employers in the U.S. to really overwork their employees if the
employees don't just stand put their foot down and say no after a certain point.

This friend was amazed that we didn't
necessarily get paid overtime, didn't have much for paid vacation, weren't guarenteed certain bonuses and raises every year,
didn't have open knowledge of everyone's rank and pay scale, etc. He was appalled that we sometimes worked under rather
poor conditions like bad lighting, cold
and drafty offices, less than optimal equipment and furniture, etc.

As an employee, we don't have things like contracts spelling out the maximum number of hours we can or will work or how we will be compensated if we are asked to work
overtime, be on call, or carry a beeper.

I guess it's a whole different paradigm here.

As a contractor, I did sometimes have, and know of other contractors and consultants who had clauses specifying specific hourly charges for being on call, responding to calls, and carrying a beeper. Normally, contractors are paid by the hour (or at least bill the client by the hour) so the client is much more reticent about requesting overtime and off-hours support of them. When you have to pay someone for the extra work,
it's amazing how much less extra work you ask of them.

More experienced Oracle DBAs are lucky
because they realise how much in demand
they are and can pretty much define a lot of their own terms. If things get too bad, most everyone knows that they can walk.

Luckily, I'm not in too bad a situation right now so don't have to resort to leaving. But the option is there for most DBAs. You have to keep that knowledge in the back of your
head when you're negotiating with your boss and your users and colleagues on what is reasonable and what is not.

Personally, I work unpaid overtime and extra off-hours when I feel it is critical and something important needs to be done. I don't like to do it just for the sake of getting something done that needs doing. There's always tomorrow for that. I'm also a great believe in asking for additional help (even part-time) if there is way too much work for a reasonably-skilled DBA to do.

I have three small children so my off-hours are important and necessary to me. I have to balance my family's needs with the needs of my employer.

My $.02

Cherie Machler
Gelco Information Network


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