RE: Pay rate for contractor with no experience

Subject: RE: Pay rate for contractor with no experience
From: Kay Robart <kay -dot- robart -at- integratedconcepts -dot- com>
To: "Marc A. Santacroce" <epubs -at- ricochet -dot- net>, Kay Robart <kay -dot- robart -at- integratedconcepts -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 16:03:03 -0600

I have to agree with Marc Santacroce that most places
wouldn't hire a beginning tech writer on contract. I have
high expectations for contractors, and they include being able
to get up to speed quickly and needing little help from me to do
their work. (After all, the reason you need a contractor is
because no one on your regular staff has time to do the
work!) If you are paying by the hour, sometimes a great
deal of money, you want to be spending it on results, not on
training the contractor. Even if I can't find a contractor with
expertise in the programs we use, I expect that person to
have enough experience in using other like programs to get
up to speed in a reasonably fast period.

Most of the tasks described in the original posting by Alyssa Fox
didn't seem too taxing for a beginner, but that really depends upon
what is
meant by "updating manuals." Sometimes maintenance takes
the expertise of an experienced writer.

I taught technical writing classes part-time for years (in addition
to working as a full-time writer), and I was always amazed by
how many of my students were blithely assuming they could go
out and work as a contractor immediately after school "so I can
work my own hours" and "so I can be my own boss." I encouraged
them to put in at least three years of full-time work first.

Kay Robart

> I need to weigh in again with my SF Bay perspective. I don't think a
> beginning TW has too much of a chance at getting hired as a
> contractor. Most agencies and companies won't take the risk without
> some prior TW experience, preferable in a good size department or
> company.
> Marc

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