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Ask Slashdot: Handing Over Personal Work Without Compensation?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the donating-to-the-not-so-needy dept.

Businesses 848

rsmith84 writes "I'm the Senior Systems administrator for a small trade college. When I was hired on, it was strictly for L3 related tasks such as advanced server administration, Exchange design and implementation, etc. They have no in-house programmers, no help desk software, and no budget to purchase one. I'm a moderate PHP and MySQL programmer on the side and am easily capable of writing something to meet their needs, but do not believe I should be A) asked to or B) required to, as my job description and employment terms are not based upon this skill set. I like a challenge, and since all of my goals outlined since my hire date have been met and exceeded, I have a lot of down time. So I wrote the application. It streamlines several critical processes, allows for a central repository of FAQ, and provides end users with access to multiple systems all in one place. I've kept a detailed time log of my work and feel I should be remunerated for the work before just handing over the code. The entire source was developed on personal equipment off company hours. My question is: what should I do? If they are willing to compensate me, I will gladly hand it over. However, it's been mentioned that, if I do the project, it is all but guaranteed that I will see no compensation. The application would streamline a lot of processes and take a lot of the burden off my team, freeing them up to handle what I deem to be more challenging items on their respective punch lists and a better utilization of their time and respective skills. I'm a firm believer in not getting 'something for nothing,' especially when the skills are above my pay grade."

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Dumb ass (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38509934)

You're a dumb ass

Have you talked to anyone? (5, Informative)

Igorod (807462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509958)

Just curious if you've even breached the subject with your boss or whoever is running things? It's hard to say what you should do if you've not even asked.

Re:Have you talked to anyone? (2)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510214)

Well, yes. I'm Canadian, I expect that the laws in the US (an assumption) are becoming more draconian all the time, but I get paid for overtime or I don't do it. Or at least I wouldn't do as much as I do.

This has not always been the case, I used to work overtime because the job needed doing and I did not care about the money. And professionals, at one time, were not considered for overtime at all. I think that paid off in different ways, but no more. As for what my contract involves, I usually figure it involves what needs to be done, fuck the contract. Job satisfaction requires that the job get done and done properly. If I'm not getting paid enough, I say so.

The law in Canada is, if your boss asks you to work overtime, then you get paid overtime. It doesn't matter if you are a janitor or a CEO. (I know, I'm using extremes.) I tell my boss that, he is a manager, he figures he doesn't get overtime, but that isn't true, he is entitled the same as everyone else. I won't be a manager, just don't want the job.

So, if your situation is the same, talk to the boss and work it out. Definitely make sure you come to an understanding.

Remember your "Atlas Shrugged". Give nothing! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510234)

Don't hand over anything to this looter school. Atlas Shrugged is becoming more true everyday.

Re:Have you talked to anyone? (5, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510310)

Two facts that are obvious to anybody (with experience):

1. The cost of maintaining the one off custom software will far exceed the cost of buying the canned software. Even assuming competent development. Risk is high.

2. The boss doesn't have budget to pay for the canned software. He won't have budget to maintain the 'solution' hacked up by the new kid.

He won't pay the kid for the software. That's a given.

The question is: Should the kid find a new job if the boss if fool enough to accept the software under any terms? I say yes, such a boss will teach the kid only bad habits.

Career (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38509960)

That's the diff between a job and career. People with careers invest their personal time because the reward is you get promoted for doing great work.

Re:Career (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38509994)

You must be a manager.

Re:Career (5, Funny)

vuke69 (450194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510050)

You must be a fry cook.

Re:Career (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510346)

You are an asshole.

Re:Career (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510124)

You believe that crap?

Re:Career (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510172)

If I was your boss and you tried to get compensation, I would say it's part of your job, or leave it out. I won't be hand tied into making a decision.

Re:Career (4, Interesting)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510144)

Lots of variables here. If you have a good rapport with your boss you can bring up the subject and say that you noticed a lot of time was being spent doing routine tasks that you think can be automated. Give him a business case where you can figure out how much money that software can save him in his budget each year either by reducing downtime, staff, ect. Then say you would like a promotion and raise where you split those savings 50/50 (or whatever) over what you are making now. If that's not possible say you are willing to do the job on a contract basis where you do the work at home and bill them when the software is delivered.

I was once an engineer at a company where we sent work out when we were busy. I saw how much they were spending to get these parts drawings made and I offered to do it for 1/2 the price at home. My boss refused. So I went to the job shop that was doing the work and offered to do the work for 75% of what they charged. Since I was familiar with the job I could get it done very quickly. The job shop accepted because they were getting paid for doing nothing.

In real business it always comes down to peoples motivations. What are your bosses biggest headaches? To get ahead you have to figure them out and how much it's worth to them.

Been there... (4, Insightful)

davecason (598777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509970)

...and you just need to eat it. Good things don't go unnoticed, though. It is these sorts of experiences that will separate you from the pack, later in your career. It will pay forward, one way or another. If you want to get paid, negotiate time at work to perform these tasks or don't do them. There are side-effects: once you make an app, you will be expected to support it forever... and likely you won't get any time to do that, either. I would make part of the agreement to hand over the code is that you will not support it.

it is part of your job (3, Insightful)

osssmkatz (734824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509976)

You should do what's required to make your stuff work. Ask for credit later. Document it and do it right. Writing scripts is part of the job, and reducing burden for your team is also part of your job.

And you will NEVER be rewarded fot the effort. (4, Insightful)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510066)

You had best enjoy how much it made your job easier and document what you did for use when you interview for your next job.

OH! Welcome to the club!
You will find that we meet most nights, at the bar.

Re:it is part of your job (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510162)

Exactly. Especially if you have "lots of downtime".

I certainly would not look well on someone that does their job "off the job" because it is not in their exact "work description" then want additional money for it. If you want to be a contractor, be a contractor. If you want a salary, then you are not a contractor.

I've kept a detailed time log of my work and feel I should be remunerated for the work before just handing over the code.

If someone on my team acted like this, I would most likely have to fire them. I wouldn't even care about the code. They could keep it. The entire psyche of "not my job description" just irks me. A salesman, not an employee.

Re:it is part of your job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510168)

How is any of this "his stuff" to make work? He wrote a program that if implemented could ease the burden on his team but that burden isn't caused by something he's not doing. Sure he could go through a whole ROI write-up about how adding a proper help desk solution (not his own) could improve time spent on tasks and provide better information to the users but that also isn't his job, sounds more like the job of his senior. If he was writing scripts to make custom exchange deployments easier then I could see you point but otherwise I have the feeling you have never been in this situation before.
I have...I did as others said and ate being compensated with the understanding that since I would be required to make updates as things progressed and changed for our company I could do them on company time and also was the sole decider in what changes/additions are made.
One of the big problems you will run into is that once you deploy your program everyone suddenly starts coming up with ideas on how to improve it. Great except for the fact that most of them have no idea how any of it works nor the problems that are faced with sometimes meeting their requests. Thus, throw it in to the loop and enjoy the eased burden on your staff...something that shouldn't go unnoticed come bonus or raise time (as long as you make a few squeaks about it). Also make sure that you have it in writing that you and you alone own the code/executables/pages, etc NOT your company. Also make sure that it says if you leave the company they either pay for support (at a rate TBD) or lose the ability to use the program beyond its state when you leave. That way if you don't get the recognition you think you deserve you can take your program and show it off on your resume for you next job talking up about how it did all that it did and it's all nice and legal.

Re:it is part of your job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510338)

Seconded, with the suggestion that op/anyone reading always put a self-respecting price on any "I could do that" statements. If you're not willing to do it as part of your job, don't offer. If you'd rather do it than or in addition to your job, dive in, but if you do it at work they may have a reason to feel that they own the result of your labor, as well as the right to use any methods you developed while there. If it's not in your pay grade, and you're in a union, just don't do it. You have that right. If you're not in a union, you get to tango... You always have the right to walk unless you've signed otherwise, and I strongly believe employers need more reality checks. We've created our own slave-labor IT economy that will suffocate us. We are set ourselves up as the tools of policy makers, when we are the ones with the means. (Social Economics 101)

Stand up for your valuable skills. If you ever want to be paid well for your skills you have to use them strategically. Don't give your heart sweat and blood away if you are not doing so to grow your self-respect and earn the respect and financial gratitude of your peers and your employers. (Gratis for a good cause is one thing, but employers are quick to exploit you.)

From personal experience, if you give away your valuable skills without what you feel is appropriate reward, you will only resent it. You may even want to mention it in a heated conversation with your employer as a reason you are worth more. Since they already got the fruit, however, they will not see the value (you're the cow, bub, and they're lapping up milk).

An employee is someone who can't make things for themselves. You can make things. Don't feel worthless.

- Anon P. Coward, Esquire.

No budget? (5, Insightful)

margeman2k3 (1933034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509984)

> no budget to purchase one
> all but guaranteed that I will see no compensation
If they didn't have the money to do it, and you were told that you wouldn't be paid for it, why would you expect to be paid for it?

Re:No budget? (5, Interesting)

freman (843586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510182)

If you're not getting anything for it, release it under an opensource license - I've had this problem at work where they've desperately needed stuff that they didn't have time or manpower to do during hours, I've gone home and written it. We've come to the understanding that if they don't want to pay for it I will GPL it and they can have it free, with the usual constrains on GPL licensing.

Re:No budget? (1)

dynamo (6127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510300)

Excellent point here.

Easier to get money for finished product (3, Interesting)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510366)

If they didn't have the money to do it, and you were told that you wouldn't be paid for it, why would you expect to be paid for it?

It's difficult to convince managers to invest in software that might one day exist. They might invest your time but if they're not confident about your skills, they might fear that the project might take longer than expected and/or never get finished. Saying "We'll pay you if/when it's done" is also problematic (then there needs to time invested to crafting specifications about when it'll be done, there might be conflicts about that, budgeting money for investment that might or might not occur is a bitch, etc.). If you can show them a product and say "Here's a product that does X, if you're willing to pay Y, we'll start using this tomorrow" you remove the risk completely and it's much easier costs/benefits analysis.

That said... I think that the OP is in a situation where he has no chance but to give his boss the product. If he says "Okay, I knew you don't have money to pay me but I still made this piece of software... Just to tell you that I'm not going to give it to you!" it won't exactly improve his status within the organization. So either he'll tell nobody about it or he'll end up giving the software to his employer for whatever price he might or might not be able to negotiate for it. If the employer really can't pay him with money, I think this would be a good chance to negotiate some non-monetary benefits. Think it would benefit both you and the company if you could allocate one day a week to any work-related project of your choice (Google-style)? It's a good time to make the case when you hand over that piece of software. Want an extra week or two vacation next year? I bet that's doable if the product really is as good as the OP claims. Want the office with the nicest view? It could finally be yours...

Re:No budget? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510398)

Agreed. Whether or not you are morally entitled to the compensation has no bearing on whether or not there was ever a budget for the project or whether there was any promise (contractual or otherwise) from your employer that you would be paid.

If you wanted extra cash, you should have done some independent contract work (for someone who does not compete with your employer) on the side.

Also, be careful before you release the project as open source. Your employment contract may have clauses about work you have done that is "derived from" work you do for the company (which could make it theirs even though you did it on your own time and equipment, and for which they can sue you). Also, if it is too focused on meeting the needs of your system, it may be argued that the code includes trade secrets which you were not authorized to release publicly. Lastly, if it would be useful to people who compete with your employer, you could get in legal hot water for that, too.

I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. And neither is this: if you want to work on the side, establish the terms, in writing, FIRST.

Time to move on (1)

akirchhoff (95640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509988)

The job you have now doesn't meet your needs for challenges and activity. If downtime isn't good for you, you need to find a position that meets both your financial terms and stimulates your creative requirements.

obviously, you're a... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38509990)

dick

Don't work "for free" (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510000)

Most organizations are not deserving of free work on the part of an employee, regardless of hourly or salaried compensation. The only two times I can think of that might warrant some kind of uncompensated work would be where either a a company is in trouble and employees pulling extra effort might save their jobs, or where the extra work is likely to result in a better position in the company.

I don't see either being the case in the way you describe it. If you can't do it on the clock or at the office, don't do it.

Tragedy of the commons (1)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510130)

I too feel like I've been screwed for doing far more work than my 'position' warranted, and I was definatly doing work for others so my groups wouldn't fail.
There was no real gun to my head so I only have myself to blame for the success.
On the other hand I am afraid that following your advice would lead us to a Tragedy of the commons situation and ultimate failure: Lay offs.
----
I am unwilling to risk that so some people always get a free ride.
Yes, I am jaded.

Re:Don't work "for free" (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510158)

If you CAN do this on the clock and at the office, bring it up at the next review as performance that "exceeds expectations" and talk about a new position, job description, and associated pay raise. Loosing the rights to your creations is part of being employed, but compensation of some type should be expected.

However don't talk yourself into the unemployment line either, unless you really feel you need to change employer that quickly.

Phil

Since when?! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510246)

Loosing the rights to your creations is part of being employed

Don't bet on it. Everyone assumes that's true, but it's not. If you can document (like the original poster did) that it was done on their own time using their own equipment, they OWN it, not the company.

This is especially true in this case, since their actual job does not involve writing applications.

Re:Don't work "for free" (3, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510218)

You shouldn't be too hung up on job description and title. You are being paid for your time at the office, if you can write the apps on the clock, then consider them part of your job and a demonstration of why you should be promoted when a position becomes available, or retained when layoffs come around.

Oh, and don't write anything that makes your position redundant, that's just... the mark of a non-critical thinker. If you are writing apps off the clock, don't write them for work, find some other interest in your life and write apps for that - if you don't have other interests outside of the crappy job you describe, I'd consider getting out and living a life a much higher priority than trolling /. for advice on how to get paid for writing software that nobody asked for.

Re:Don't work "for free" (3, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510294)

Most organizations are not deserving of free work on the part of an employee, regardless of hourly or salaried compensation. The only two times I can think of that might warrant some kind of uncompensated work would be where either a a company is in trouble and employees pulling extra effort might save their jobs, or where the extra work is likely to result in a better position in the company.

I don't see either being the case in the way you describe it. If you can't do it on the clock or at the office, don't do it.

My current position requires me to do some repetitive tasks. Rather than spend several minutes a day doing the same thing again and again I wrote some small VB scripts that can do the work while I grab coffee. I was not compensated for this.

I wrote the code for a few reasons:
a) saves me a lot of time
b) I'm the only one permitted to use it since it's not officially "approved" (yet)
c) I have it expire after a month. Doing this means no one can use it after the date unless they change the system time but no one in our department is given admin rights (shocker, I know)
d) if i'm ever fired or quit they'll just wipe my PC and the program will be lost anyway.
e) the program startup intro screen has my name and personal email address if they ever need to contact me to discuss purchasing

If you can write something that saves you time I say go for it, but make it expire, or at least nag, and remember to include methods of contacting you.

What did you expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510012)

What did you expect they would do? You clearly say you have no real hopes that they would compensate you. Then you did a project anyway. Now what?

Announcing here on /. that you have a lot of down time says they need to either renegotiate your responsibilities, or make you part time, or hire someone cheaper for fewer hours.

Your best solution may be to open source it, and get the satisfaction (or pain) of supporting other organizations that also have that set of needs.

publish it? (1)

Christopher_Wood (583494) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510016)

Why not generify it and upload it to somewhere like github? That way you can use it, maintain some (artistic?) ownership, and possibly spread the joy. Then you could download it and use it at work like any other piece of software.

You might want to talk to a lawyer about whether work would own this, though.

Re:publish it? (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510092)

just need to add a couple important steps and you won't need a lawyer nor have any worries. Use qemu with option to set bios clock. Create a virtual machine running at time before you had present job. Be sure your app can run under versions of interpreter, etc. in existence at that time. Make tarball of your wares with the pre-job date and containing pre-job dated copyright notice. Now you distribute that, and if employer makes a stink, just say it was open source software you wrote before you started job, it just happens to fit their needs and they should be thankful you let them use it.

Re:publish it? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510376)

Isn't putting an incorrect date on a copyright notice falsifying documents and against the law? I would suggest you DO get a lawyer if you take this approach.

Got another job lined up? (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510018)

Got another job lined up? Trade colleges know working there beats the crap out of a real job (especially the cake schedule, we worked four-day weeks) and they can get replacements all day.

I'd use the app, and not disclose shit about it. If you get laid off they can write a support contract if they need to. Heck, customize everything you can to your benefit while you are there. All users want is an absence of hassle.

Hoard knowledge, make YOUR job smoother, look busy, and remember you are in an ACADEMIC environment. Play that game and don't pretend you aren't in a trade school.

Re:Got another job lined up? (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510252)

I'd use the app, and not disclose shit about it. If you get laid off they can write a support contract if they need to.

If you've got that much time on your hands, you might just code it to periodically "expire..." since they didn't pay you to make it in the first place, they certainly shouldn't have a say in how it does, or doesn't work. Just don't expect to use them as reference for future employment.

Don't hand it over unless.. (4, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510026)

Remember that if you hand it over, YOU will be expected to administer, troubleshoot, maintain, and improve a system that you did not and are not getting paid for. The only work around I see is for them to update your paygrade as renumeration then add those taskes to your new job description. Otherwise you are in for a trampling.

Job Descriptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510028)

I hate to be a jerk, but your job description is what your employer says it is. The caveat here being if you're a contractor. I've been in positions where I was hired for one job description and it ended up being dramatically different. However, if I wanted the job... I had to adapt.

Get it in writing (3, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510032)

Before you actually start coding, discuss this with your boss and find out if he/she wants something like this badly enough to pay you for it. If so, negotiate the terms under which you'll be working just like you would if you were an outside consultant. Once you have an agreement, get it in writing and make sure it's signed by somebody with the authority to sign things like that so there's no chance of misunderstandings later, or room for them to wiggle out of paying you properly later on. If they're not interested in paying you, or in putting the agreement in writing, you shouldn't be interested in doing the work.

Re:Get it in writing (2)

Leuf (918654) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510196)

"Before you actually start coding" Yeah, except you missed the part where the submitter said he was explicitly told he wouldn't be paid for it but has already done it anyway. I have no idea what the problem is here. If they cared about being paid then they shouldn't have done the work without an agreement to be paid. Having done the work, they can either withhold it out of spite of their own stupidity or use it.

Firm believer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510034)

Probably a firm believer in open source when its someone else's hard work too.

Stop being a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510038)

What is wrong with you? Why are you even working for this small trade college when your skill set is way beyond what they hired you to do? Why wouldn't you do the very best you can at your job? Give 100% and ask for a raise at review time. Or, go find a job where you feel they are worthy of your skill set. I will never understand people like you.. the company is paying you and asking for your best. Why don't you stop allowing them to pay you for all of that downtime?

I hope you get laid off so someone that wants a good job can have yours.

How dysfunctional (5, Insightful)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510040)

Wow, how dysfunctional.

You have no interest in the success of your company and you would hold this project over their heads to get a short-term payoff.

Sadly, if your employer was better to their employees, they might see the benefit it working as a team to make the company succeed.

Seems to me that neither of you have each others interests at heart. A good place to work would be one where I am striving to help the company succeed and my company is sharing is that success. Sounds like you need a new job.

BTW, you have added more work to your schedule fixing bugs and adding features to your "new system". Good luck with that!

Re:How dysfunctional (2)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510088)

"I'm the Senior Systems administrator for a small trade college." Not a company. totally different animal he is dealing with here.

Re:How dysfunctional (1)

VAElynx (2001046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510174)

Well.. it's a textbook example of worker alienation - one of the results inherent in the conflict between worker and capitalist.

Re:How dysfunctional (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510370)

Well.. it's a textbook example of worker alienation - one of the results inherent in the conflict between worker and capitalist.

Or, in this case, worker and government agency. Most likely. Most trade colleges are state-funded, and the private ones tend to be better-funded than described here.

Re:How dysfunctional (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510374)

It's a trade college. That relationship is normal.

I would never hold anything over trade college management. That's ADVERSARIAL and stupid. They are insecure enough that they don't work in a real college. DO NOT press that button.

I would make my app make ME valuable, and ensure that any features it might need would require me to add them.

Something unclear (2)

rhizome (115711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510042)

Which is it, did you have a lot of downtime or did you write the app entirely on your personal time and equipment? Did you use your work time to test and/or determine features?

exactly. something stinks to high heaven (4, Interesting)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510116)

"since all of my goals outlined since my hire date have been met and exceeded, I have a lot of down time".

"The entire source was developed on personal equipment off company hours"

these two statements make absolutely zero sense when placed together.

if the guy wrote it and actually TESTED it on work time, then he owns exactly fucking 0 of his source code. he is considered a 'work for hire' employee.

of course, there is a chance that the administrators are too dumb to understand this. he could claim he 'registered copyright' (a phrase which has no actual meaning) and see if they will jump.

on the other hand, this is a 'trade school', which could in theory mean one of the diploma mills owned by hedge funds who are betting on the education bubble collapsing and betting against the student loans they pump and dump during day-time tv commercial hours. Im thinking ITT or DeVry here.

in that case, their corporate HQ will probably have some highly educated, experienced lawyers who will be able to run a truck right over any bluffing he tries to do.

lastly, im completely talking out of my ass. but it all sounded so good, right? right?
parts of it have some resemblance to reality, id wager.

this is an entirely personal decision (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510046)

You just need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself.

Or if you're looking for the best way to get paid, I'd say:

Create a little website to sell your application, at a license price 2x what you'd like to get paid. Suggest that you could either buy a license to said software, or develop it yourself for X (and get the source code and full control as a bonus), or continue maintenance effort without software support, which you can document taking Y yearly man-hours at cost Z (presumably in the ballpark of at least 1/2 X, otherwise with a more than 2 year recoup you are not going to win this sale).

Given a rational choice between 3 options, most organizations will choose. And once they've chose, you either know you can get paid for one of the 2 earlier choices, or you know that the organization would prefer to continue throwing away money on the manual process.

Then again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510048)

... you were doing nothing on company dime already.

Quit, offer your (freshly started company's) services for a reasonable fee. If you feel certain there wouldn't be any budget then, despite clear savings and all that... well, you just wasted a lot of time, didn't you?

you won't get paid... so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510052)

...don't give them the code. Take this as an opportunity to write the code over. Really gold-plate the hell out of it. Make it great. Deliver it. Then quit. If you truly believe you are being underpaid for this kind of work, then your recourse is to ask for a raise, or quit.

They certainly will not compensate you for time you already volunteered. That's your idea, your risk (of time), and your loss. It didn't pay off. We all do a lot of stuff we don't get paid for. Get over it... and get a job somewhere where you will get paid for it.

Be the guy that people like to work with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510054)

"The application would streamline a lot of processes and take a lot of the burden off my team"

You wrote something that would make the people around you a lot happier. It is going to look bad in front of them if you hold out for cash and that cash never comes.

I've got a better idea for you. (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510068)

They sound like ungrateful wretches, the lot of them. Don't even mention you've created this software for them. Sell it to their nearest competitors instead. You might even get a job at a pay rate more suiting your skill level from them as part of the deal.

Become a software vendor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510074)

Instead of worrying about being compensated for the time spent writing the thing, license it to them for a reasonable fee (while retaining full rights) and offer paid support, if needed.

Getting what you are worth. (1)

BravoZuluM (232200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510080)

If your skill level is so high, get a better job and let someone who "fits" this job have it. If the reality is, you are not able to obtain another job, then you should be thankful for this one. There are a number of unemployed SAs that can write scripts that would like your job. Bringing this extra level of expertise to the job should just make it so your employer does not find someone cheaper to do your job. I've written extra things for my employer "Just for the fun of it" I enjoy what I do and I like doing the work and seeing it deployed just for bragging rights. My guess is that you don't contribute to open source. I have two open source projects. Rethink your attitude.

Resume Builder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510086)

Prove your value above and beyond there and begin looking elsewhere for work if you do not feel you are being compensated accordingly. If nothing else something like this can be used on your resume and a demonstration of you implementing something outside your expertise which makes you more versatile thus making you more desirable to other employers.

Give it to them (5, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510098)

You get promotions and raises by going above and beyond and making yourself valuable to the company. If you "stick to your pay grade" then that's all you'll ever be. When I look to promote someone I specifically look for things they've done to help the company/department. I look for innovation and drive. If you took the liberty to do it, you're reward is in the good faith you generate with your superiors. That will eventually pay off big when it comes time for a raise or promotion.

A job title and description is not a contract meaning "this is what I do and nothing else." If you choose to do nothing else, you'll never be noticed.

Re:Give it to them (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510396)

"You get promotions and raises by going above and beyond and making yourself valuable to the company."

Or in a trade college, you get your contract renewed...sometimes...if you aren't left dangling working with an expired one.

Simple: GET PAID. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510100)

Ask yourself this simple set of questions:
Would Bill Gates demand that he be paid?
Would Larry Ellison demand that he be paid?
Would Lakshmi Mittal demand that he be paid?
Would Carlos Slim demand that he be paid?
Would Steve Jobs demand that he be paid?

What do these people have in common, and where do you fit in? Don't be someone's pawn. Get paid. Show "your boss" what you're capable of by producing a short demo, and then let your boss worry about the budget. Get paid. And if they don't like it, don't make it your problem, move on to greener pastures.

postscript: how ironic that the captcha for my comment was "plebeian"

Copyright vs Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510102)

Although it may not have been required, if you don't implicitly licence it to your company in the copyrights, they may tell you to remove ALL of it. (Been there done that.) They may also shoulder surf you to make sure you never use it again.

Unfortunately you dug yourself a hole. If it wasn't agreed upon in writing, you're basically being insubordinate if you refuse. The guy who wrote the first half of the code before I snatched the incomplete version, was fired for NOT giving it to (oh should I name names? Begins with W and ryhmes with Pest.) They later told me after they I had been using it for months in a more finished version for it and I said "OK" but this version had Copyrights in it. Subsequently they told me to erase every last trace of it and they watched me do it. More to the point though, it used the client's undocumented API's of the NPANXX database, so even if the company wanted to sell it to their client.

But yeah, if it doesn't say you're hired for programming and they didn't make you side a NDA and "Prior inventions" document, you basically wrote that program on company time for company use, so it's company property if you didn't start it outside the company, copyrights intact.

Milk it for all you're worth. (1)

JackPepper (1603563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510104)

If they won't directly compensate you, work it into your goals for the new year. Then "slowly" work on the software. Give management a schedule and give releases prior to the dates given. This way you'll always have extra time to figure out your next goal you'll accomplish.

I only suggest this because I don't imagine you have a lot of upward mobility in your department. I have also had that underwhelming feeling when handing over software and not being compensated. Never again.

Negotiate First (1)

mikemalter (706435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510106)

It's not clear to me if you were asked by your boss to write the app, or if you just saw the need and wrote it on your own. It's best if you can think through your position before starting work rather than afterwards. However, at least you are thinking it through now so you are learning. If you saw the need and wrote the application, ask for money. It does not cost anything to ask and you will learn about negotiating. Make a case for being paid extra and put it to your boss. Give it everything you've got. Then if he says no, give the work over with a good attitude and tell him you are glad you can participate and be helpful. Remember that everything that you do builds your reputation, so if you are doing extra work and fixing problems that are beyond your formal responsibilities while at the same time meeting your responsibilities and not stepping on any toes, you are actually ahead of the game. At some point if the job is not giving you what you want, look to move on. Then in your interviews, you can speak in positive terms about the extra contributions you made.

Stop (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510108)

Stop right now. Yo are opening up yourself to liabilities for work you should not be doing. You will be the first scapegoat to get hit from your supervisor at the first whiff of a problem. Do your job and let them hire programmers if they need them.

Listen up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510110)

Most companies take the position that, if you are salaried, they own you 24/7. Anything you do, in the office or out, is theirs. Your compensation is called a paycheck. If you want to be paid, separately, for off-site work, quit and contract to them. Otherwise, suck it up and quit whining. Be happy you have a job.

Re:Listen up! (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510334)

Only companies in states that allow that. States where it isn't allowed, the companies just wish.

Just don't use company time, resources or inside knowledge.

Start a side business and sell it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510112)

Start a company (it's easier than you think, just form an LLC) and transfer ownership of the works to that company. Setup a subscription licensing model that provides an initial purchase of the product and 1 year of updates for a reasonable fixed amount, with additional yearly updates available at an extra cost. Then notify your boss that there is a product on the market that provides the required functionality. Show him the product brochure, and tell him that you think you could easily install it. If he opts to buy, then you have your new side business model. If not, then he obviously is not willing to pay a reasonable amount to obtain the functionality and just wants something for nothing.

Do not offer to sell the product directly. Always setup a corporation and make sure the corporation owns the product.

If your employer knows you wrote it, he will immediately attempt to get it for free or for a steep discount, then will add maintenance to your job description without providing additional salary.

Re:Start a side business and sell it (1)

Gwala (309968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510308)

This is also called 'conflict of interest' and is generally illegal and frowned upon when you are inevitably caught.

"You have a lot of downtime" (2)

loteck (533317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510114)

Happens to the best of us, in fact we tend to work ourselves right out of these in-house positions.

You should probably find something else for yourself to do (say, like, implementing your side project), or start looking for other jobs. If they have no budget to implement core systems, they certainly have no budget to hang on to Sys Admins with "a lot of downtime".

down time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510126)

If you have the down time you suggest, the company is paying you already for work you are not doing. Sounds to me like your job is to ensure your team is as productive as possible. They hire you, not just your advertised skills. If you can make the business more competitive it is your job, and that of any employee, to do so.

I think you should do the best you can... (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510136)

... to make things work. That's what they are paying you for. If it was me, I'd count the coding experience as just that, experience. If you decide you want to look for a better paying job, you will have something to add to your resume and a good recommendation from your previous employer.

Who is John Galt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510138)

Certainly not you......

Don't hurt those who help you. (1)

Above (100351) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510140)

I'm sure others will comment on the legalities and ethics of the situation, and they will be good comments. I'm going to come at this from another direction.

Successful software companies love alpha/beta testers, love getting feedback on how their software is really used, and love having smart enough users to provide good feedback. They pay big bucks to find the right testers, and get feedback from them. Also, many small developers would give almost anything to have an employer tolerant of their side project.

If I were you, I would try and find a situation where you get to use your work experience to enhance the software, and perhaps even get to work on it during work time. Maybe in return for that you have to provide them with a license for free, but you get to retain ownership and can sell it to other parties.

On the flip side, if you don't give them any deal on the software you can't complain if they come down like a hammer on you and prevent you from working on it during work hours, and maybe even try and take action against you if you use knowledge from your work to improve your personal software.

What a job (4, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510142)

I wish I had a job where: "all of my goals outlined since my hire date have been met and exceeded, I have a lot of down time."

At every SA job I've ever done, the work never ends, there's always more to do - I've never ended up with true downtime to let me pursue other projects.

And what does this mean: "do not believe I should be A) asked to or B) required to, as my job description and employment terms are not based upon this skill set."?

Outside of union work, I've never seen a job where you can say "Hey, that's not in my JD, so I'm not going to do it, instead I'm going to sit on my butt and enjoy my well earned down time". If it's something I could do, I'd do it. Otherwise I'd ask for training (or books), then do it.

But then, I've always worked in the private sector, never in education or government.

So why did you write the application? (5, Insightful)

SilverJets (131916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510150)

Did you write it to get compensated? Or did you write it to help your team?

If you wrote it hoping to get paid and they say they won't pay you then put it on the shelf and forget about it.

If you wrote it to help your team ...streamline a lot of processes and take a lot of the burden off my team, freeing them up to handle what I deem to be more challenging items on their respective punch lists and a better utilization of their time and respective skills then hand it over knowing that you've done something to make your workplace a little better. Next time you have a performance review with your boss make sure it is discussed that you did this on your own time and that the staff are benefiting from it. It will only help your career to show your employers that you are willing to go a little further than expected.

But, if you are one of those people that just work 9 - 5 and walk out the door at the end of the day not thinking about or not caring about your job (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, different people have different priorities) then shelve it and forget about it.

If they're paying you, they own it (1)

MillerHighLife21 (876240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510170)

If you're doing work for a company and being paid for it, you're working under "work for hire" terms and they will in fact, own the application. Whether you excelled in your job and created a lot of downtime is irrelevant because it really breaks down to this: there are X number of hours in a day and they're paying you for 8 of them, 5 days a week. During time when you're being paid by somebody else to do work, they own that work unless specific terms have been spelled out otherwise.

Now, this isn't to say that you can't negotiate other terms for such a system. The biggest thing though, if you're doing this for the challenge, with a moderate hobbyist skill set and the company can see some benefit that's great. If there are comparable systems out there that can do the job you're proposing building the system for, evaluate them, price them, and put together an estimate for the cost of your time vs the cost of having those systems implemented and maintained for a price comparison. If there's a system out there that costs $100,000 / year in licensing fees and you think you can build something in 1-3 months time, based on your expertise in your employer's needs they'll probably be willing to let you give it a shot and let you keep the rights to the system as long as they get to use it at no extra cost. They'll most likely want some percentage of the sales if you decide to sell it, because after all, they're funding you. That would be a pretty reasonable trade off though.

The downside to something like that is that you create the system, you're moderate skill set creates unforeseen problems that have to be fixed by somebody with more expertise, you end up getting all of your time sucked up by maintaining and fixing this system until your employer to either buy a piece of software or hire somebody else to fix your code. Just sayin. :-)

This is one area that a lot of programmers lose sight of though. If somebody is paying you to do work, the work is theirs, not yours under the terms of "work for hire". Just like if you're in construction and your team is building a house, then you decide to go build an outhouse while you're at work....they own that $h!t.

Personal anecdote (3, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510180)

I got my job by going above and beyond, programming when I was supposed to be simply a walking reference book. It made my job faster, and more available. The more I automated, the more time I had to automate more things.

I got hired on a help desk team, 12 or so people like me who just wrote stuff and gradually became a recognized team. The team didn't set out to get recognized, just get faster. Management did not realize how important it was to automate until it was already done. Then we were indispensible, actually before I even joined the team.

But, they didn't pay to retain, and the team fell apart. We were all essentially help desk people doing real programming work, above our pay grade. Many people went for better opportunities when upper upper management had to meet stock-related goals, some involuntarily.

You can know the people are better off, no matter what you get out of it. You can know when you leave, the system you built will be virtually unmaintainable even if you document the crap out of it, because whoever tries to replace you statistically won't be a good code reader. You can know that you could have helped, but didn't because it didn't suit your philosophy.

I suggest proposing the system, with statistics on how much money will be saved, and most likely how many jobs can be eliminated as a result. If it is approved, negotiate payment and come up with the solution well under the deadline. If not, do what you feel is right.

sounds like you've already been paid (1)

Stephenmg (265369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510186)

"I have a lot of down time." Makes me think you did it on your employers time which you've already been paid for. If anything, I would either ask to retain the copyright or the right to release it open source.

Well... (1)

Roogna (9643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510188)

In the future, here's a good set of guidelines to follow, I'm also not a lawyer this is just things I've learned over the years:

1. Never use their equipment for any personal projects.
2. Never install anything on their equipment for personal projects, even if it's to help them.
3. If you want payment from someone for something, then never do any piece of the project without confirmation in advance that you'll receive compensation for the work.
4. Don't do anything if it's not in writing.

The thing is, doing personal projects in your own time is fine and dandy, but already can be rough if you didn't read your employment contract closely as they may own it if you work for them. Using what may have been a personal project during your "work hours" for an employer may give them rights to that work unless you had an agreement otherwise. Beyond all that... if you didn't have an agreement before the work started you really can't expect them to pay for it now.

Now from the summary it sounds like you've just done design and not implementation, you're never going to get extra compensation for design you took it upon yourself to do, but do yourself a favor and just stop right there.

Here's what you should do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510194)

... Never, Ever, Ever go the extra mile for an employer.

They won't be loyal to you. They'll fire you in a heartbeat over nothing because "all computer guys are the same". You're a fool. You wasted your time, you will get neither compensation nor respect for your work.

I can't believe people would waste personal time to lick corporate boots. You sicken me.

I think this falls under (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510202)

"Other duties as assigned."

I see this on almost every job posting. It's the catch all for "whatever else we can use you for and keep paying you the same." I say get used to it or find another job. I'm not saying you should contribute your personal work done on your personal time, but if you can provide the service during normal working hours (whatever those are) then you are obligated to contribute.

It's a business decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510210)

The business first needs to make a decision. There are a lot of risks a company takes on:

1. How much time will you need monthly to maintain the code?
2. What happens to the code when you leave your employer?
3. What happens if we change systems your code depends on?

Lay out a project plan for them. Show them hard numbers: Current time spent on X is NN:NN. By using my proposed application, we will save NN:NN a week.

You can't expect them to compensate you for something they didn't ask you to do, let alone the fact you wouldn't have written it if you didn't work there. If you hadn't written it already and they said yes, then do it on company time, and take the pat on the back along with your normal paycheck. (You had fun writing it, didn't you?)

Since it sounds like you already wrote the program, I'd not tell them about it, and ask for a few days off to write it (and go to the zoo or something). Watch this: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

Looking from the other side (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510216)

Speaking personally - if someone with no track record volunteered to give me a piece of software written in php that requires access to a mysql server, I wouldn't accept it. That's a gigantic security hole just waiting to be exploited.

Lots of people "know" php and/or mysql because they're easy to learn - but that doesn't mean they know how to write even marginally secure code.

non-exempt? I don't get this maneuver... (1)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510238)

I completely don't understand the OP's mentality, but perhaps that's because I've been an exempt employee ever since college. I think the OP has completely handled it wrong. 1) I don't understand not doing any and everything thing I can to do the best possible job, even if it means "performing above my skill grade" or "pay grade", whatever that means. Just do the best job you can, sheesh. 2) doing this thing after hours, using your own equipment now really makes this complicated, because now you really feel like you'll need to get paid on the side for this. Never should have done that. You've created a difficult situation here, instead of an opportunity to be a great employee with all the positive things that might have come from this.

This is how it's done: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510248)

Fact: colleges and similar schools are notorious for not paying for what they need (especially the small, for-profit schools).
Fact: people who go above and beyond their job descriptions have better leverage in future opportunities, especially in salary negotiations (whether with current or future employers).
Fact: people who whine that they don't want to do more than their job requires, will eventually be replaced by someone who will. That person who replaces you will be the one who went out of their way to do stuff at their last job, and will be making a higher salary than you when they take your position.

Part of systems administration is doing the things that make your job easier. That includes developing processes and writing scripts (or code) to streamline them. Not getting paid for it? Maybe not now, but if it's documented on your resume that you went above and beyond your "job description", I guarantee it will pay off later.

Advice? Quit whining and get the job done. If they don't pay you for it, either as a bonus, a raise (when you mention it during your performance review), or with some other compensation (time off is always good), then square your shoulders, write up a case study, and pop it into your LinkedIn profile so you can show how you get shit done even when it's not part of your job description. But above all, stop whining.

Alternative: "open source" it as a project (looks even better on your resume). Then implement this open source software at your school as a system admin. You know they're not going to pay for it, but at least you can get public credit for developing a project that others can use, and that will also improve your future employment prospects.

Note: this all assumes you are a regular, W2 employee. If you are a contract employee or a contractor, then you should write up a proposal for the implementation (with benefits analysis, process suggestions, and maybe some visual diagrams to help sell the idea) and negotiate a new or separate contract for the implementation.

During work hours (1)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510250)

If you did the coding during work hours, then what's the problem? Presumably you did this to make your life better at work, right? You knew they didn't have a budget. You have lots of free time. Good grief, maybe they should get rid of you.

My anecdotal experience (5, Insightful)

Tourney3p0 (772619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510256)

We had a project that required scrubbing widget X from a file. Widget X was identified by headers within that file. It was absolutely vital that the content referred to by those headers was also missing, so simply looking at the headers was not good enough. People had to go through the file byte by byte to verify it, and it took a long time. No need to get into details (though it was fairly easy), I automated the task on my own time since I wasn't part of that group, and I provided it to them.

About 6 months later, I had a 500 dollar bonus on my paycheck and I was bumped up a step in my pay grade. It was little, but I certainly appreciated it. At no point did I think, "I could probably double dip as a consultant here." Had they asked me to do it on my own time, things may have gone differently.

Not offering any suggestions on what to do one way or another, but that's my experience.

Think about your next job (4, Informative)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510268)

I'm a hiring manager. If I see a resume that tells me the candidate went above and beyond their original job scope to create innovative solutions to old problems then I would definitely be interested. If the resume implies that they withheld good ideas and innovations because "It's not my problem" then I'd pass.

Why do they know about it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510270)

Why do they know about it? Before your client is given any clue about your work, he knows your license terms and rates. Once you disclose anything about the work (e.g., the fact that it exists) you are upside down. Because they know about it, it's probably a "work for hire". If they didn't know about it, it would be a product you could offer, after you've left, perhaps under the auspices of (and limited liability of) a corporation.

Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510302)

If you wanted to be compensated for this, you should have talked to the company before you started. If you do have a lot of down time, they'll probably assume you actually wrote it at least partially during that at-work down time and therefore they've already paid you for it.

Sell it to a competitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510306)

Or at least offer it to your current employer for sale, and if they don't want it, then sell it to a competitor.

I dont get your question. (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510324)

There a 3 major ways of working:

a) You write it, you sell it (or support for it) if you dont, you *dont* have a job at all

b) Its your private fun to write it. Ask your employer about the conflict of interest and explain to them that you will publish it as Open Source.

c) You work for you employer and you do a little more work than the hours in you contract say. I say: forget what is written in your contract. Think if you are happy with the salary and the freedom or other advantages there. If yes, then stay and try to slowly rise the salary. If no, then go. Trying to get money for something you did as part of your job without clearly stating this before will reflect *extremely* badly on your attitude assessment.

License It (1)

dynamo (6127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510328)

If you did this on your own time, you own it. If it will save them money, it's in their best interest to pay for the software. Figure out how much it saves them per month/year, and offer to charge them half of that (on a monthly/yearly basis) to license your software. If they say no, either GPL it (and give it to them free) or start approaching other schools that could use the same type of software.

your job description (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510330)

OP i understand how you feel about doing work outside of your juob description. most of us have been there at one point or another.
Just remember your juob description does not word for word describe what your daily tasks will be (unless your in a very strong union which means most likely you would be on strike half of the time)

When writing a job description we highlight the tasks we think most relevant to the position. The things you must do to get the job in the first place. in plain words somebody who truly excells at their position will do the job description without a problem will excell in team development, leadership, and accountability of himself and of others. if you're a hard worker that is what you do. in your field its the program this is referring to among other things.

DO IT If you take pride in your work and want to help the company and more importantly yourself

DONT DO IT if you dont care about your progress in your job and if you have strong resentment in your work rather than pride.

if you are unhappy in your job move on

Professionals get paid for what they do. Period. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510342)

Professionals get paid for what they do. Period.

Resume (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510348)

As an intern about 5 years ago who worked for my local county's probation department, whose job responsibilities closely resembled your own (that is we setup computers/network equipment, fixed computers, etc), I built a PHP/MySQL based web app manage inventory (computers, pda's, and other tech equipment) which replaced a legacy microsoft access database that was very horribly written. Luckily I was able to do most of the project on company time - probably 60% of it at least. In my case I was able to migrate the access data into this application's database and get it working such that all the other IT people really wanted to use it. From there it became the new system used throughout the county.
I also took the source code along with some sample data (they didn't care) and showed the application at several job interviews. This helped me immensely in getting a job in the industry.
Building something that actually works, and demonstrating it - that is, being able to explain to potential employers how it works and how you designed it - will go a long ways towards getting a career. Throwing it away would be a shame and more of a waste of time than anything. If its really well done and had other potential uses I'd say perhaps you could open source it..

Open soource it (2)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510352)

You might as well open source it, which if it is extremely useful will bring other developers in and then you can walk away a hero, knowing that you contributed code and radically altered the course of history. When I was doing my graduate work, the university administration when to great lengths to point out that all of my work was in fact co-owned by the University. I would be surprised if the same wasn't true of you. If you release it into the open before anyone knows what you are doing, then it will get taken up by others and advanced before the university has any idea they ought to make a claim on it.

Be upfront about your needs (2)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510368)

It is not very often that a company gets software designed for exactly what their needs are. Put together a decent package, i.e. licensing terms, costs (licensing and buyout), feature list, benefit comparison, maintenance fees. Spend the time and put together an LLC (sole proprietorship would likely be a little too risky in this instance). Don't be lazy and put it in to a nice professional looking folder. You'd be surprised how differently people respond when they receive something that shows some effort and professionalism compared to some guy saying "hey I've got this thing, you want it then give me money". The best part is they already know you and know the quality of your work rather than the line of some sleazy sales guy.

Lastly, don't expect them to buy. Just because you see the need and it may be the perfect product for the company you work for doesn't mean they will want to buy it. At least you will provide a view of a compelling product and you're giving them the opportunity to consider things in a format that they are accustomed to and gives your supervisor something more tangible to give to his/her higher-ups. Don't nag and be sure to do some follow up in 2-3 weeks if you haven't heard anything from them. If they indicate they're not interested, don't bother pursuing, but if they say maybe or better just hold the line and keep following up every 2-3 weeks. Sometimes other cogs in the organization have to spin before a decision can be made and that can take time.

Also don't be unwilling to negotiate. Perhaps you can show them the maintenance fees and say that you'd be willing to waive them with a minor change in job description that fits the necessary duties and a modest raise to make up for the difference in cost (perhaps that raise matches the amortized maintenance cost over a 12-month period...) which would also allow for performing maintenance and minor feature improvement during normal working hours.

Two Points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38510378)

1. Get a lawyer
2. Add DRM

The DRM will expire their site license at the time of your choosing.
The lawyer will cover your ass to make sure that it is done legally.

After they've come to depend on it for business process, and your lawyer says turning it off is A-OK ... you will see compensation.

If they break the DRM instead of paying you, then you AND your lawyer will see compensation.

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