Re: Contractors - Typ Job Duties?

Subject: Re: Contractors - Typ Job Duties?
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Anthony Markatos <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 17:16:08 -0800 (PST)

> Do TW contractors do a lot reorganization and
> rewrite of existing (poor
> quality) documentation? Is this the most common


> task performed (vs original
> content creation)? Also any comments on the below

about 50/50...I had one contract where I got 90% of
the content (proposals) and at this one, I write 90%
of the content (FRS and SDS type stuff).

In most of my contracts, yes, rewriting material was a
big part. To be honest, I'd rather let the other
person do as much of the grunt work as possible.

However, usualy, if the material was THAT
incomprehensible (and I can only think of once or two
times that was the case in 10 years), I had the option
of sending it back, scheduling a meeting with the
person that submitted it to help me figure it out, or
discard it and start from scratch.


Don't think that the worst case is typical.

> An agency recently contacted me about a contract
> job. They said that all
> applicants must complete a "writing" test. They

Sorry, never did one and won't (but that's a thread
that been beat to death and I'm not going to get
involved in it.)

> faxed me a copy of the
> test. The main part of the "writing" test was a
> representative sample
> (about two pages) of the client's end-user manual.
> I was instructed to
> edit/rewrite as necessary.
> The client sample was terribly written - totally
> willingness to pour hear-and-soul over non-sense
> time-and-time-again until I
> could make some sense out of it. The exercise of
> any writing skill was not
> a primary task. Is this what contract TW is all
> about?

It's about whatever they need you to do. That's why we
get the big bucks. Your job is to produce decent
content...not heart-and-soul stuff (this isn't the
great american novel), and in a reasonable time...not
lighting fast, not snail's pace...just a little faster
than they think it can be done. Most people get so
involved in producing the "best that it can be", that
they never get anything issued.

Understand your audience, understand your
requirements, get it done, be professional, meet your
deadline, say thank you when a developer gives you
crap, and cash your unreasonably large paycheck.

It doesn't get any better than that.

John Posada, Merck Research Laboratories
Sr Technical Writer, WinHelp and html
(work) john_posada -at- merck -dot- com - 732-594-0873
(pers) jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com - 732-291-7811
Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.
Kaiser Wilhelm
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