December 08, 2000, 2:02 PM — LIKE MANY IT WORKERS job-hunting in the past year, John Tawadros found that the
tight labor market offered many lucrative opportunities. In the end, his choices boiled
down to taking a job as a project manager with an established high-tech giant, which
offered a $20,000 signing bonus as a sweetener, or going with a newer, smaller dot-
Although the signing bonus from EMC, the Hopkinton, Mass.-based builder of storage
infrastructures, was awfully tempting, Tawadros wound up choosing a job with
iProspect.com, a 20-person company in Cambridge, Mass., that works with online clients
to help them improve their ranking in Web searches. Five months after turning down that
signing bonus, he has no regrets.
"I look forward to coming to work every day," Tawadros says.
Like many that migrate to the dot-com environment, Tawadros was lured away from an
established company. The good news is that for many like him, there's more to selecting
a company than higher salaries and unbelievable stock options. But the more sobering
news for IT recruiters and managers at traditional companies is that dot-com fever is
going to have a lasting impact on the compensation landscape.
The dot-com difference
Now director of client services at iProspect, Tawadros had worked for multimedia
and conference technology developer PictureTel, in Andover, Mass., before making the
When looking to move on, Tawadros found that the salary and bonus packages were
roughly equivalent between iProspect and EMC, although the signing bonus was unique to
the bigger company. But stock options were certainly part of the picture at iProspect,
which has not yet gone public but does hold the allure of potentially huge payoffs.
What factors create the dot-com difference that has been luring IT staffers and
managers away from more traditional companies? Is it straight salary, the chance to
become a millionaire if stock options pay off once a fledgling company goes public, or
the chance to work in a hot field with cutting-edge or bleeding-edge technology?
All of these factors are playing a role, according to InfoWorld's 2000 Compensation
Survey. Our survey of more than 3,200 IT professionals identified that both the
financial and organizational differences between dot-coms and traditional companies are
a factor for those who are making the move.
For Tawadros, working in a small, entrepreneurial environment made the
"When I came to PictureTel, I was really just a number," Tawadros says. "It was
really the difference between leaving a big company and coming to a start-up."