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I'm a young designer/illustrator, and in this economy I know I can't afford to be too picky or ask for too much. I've been offered a job by a large stationery/gift packaging company that will be buying out the small company I currently work for. I'm lucky to even be offered a job as the majority of my coworkers have already been laid off at this point.
I was offered a full-time salaried position nearly identical to the one I hold now, but at this point I think I would rather work as an independent contractor, negotiate a higher hourly rate and purse other freelance and personal projects at the same time. I currently feel like I am underpaid and would like to ask for more. However, I don't want to alienate the new management so I am worried about asking for too much.
I know you don't know my exact situation but what would you do if you were in my shoes, my savvy fellow designers?