Re: Agency warning signs - LONG

Subject: Re: Agency warning signs - LONG
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 20:06:11 -0800 (PST)

Cathy...I'm not an agency nor do I play one on TV. However, I am a
contractor and have been using agencies for the last several years.

First...don't rely on the search of the archives to give you an
indication of what agencies are like. Those of us that are duing what
we want to do, at rates that we are happy with, through agencies that
we are happy with are working. We don't come out of nowhere and say
"Boy, am I happy with my agency!" Only those that want to bitch and
moan about theirs (instead of simply changing) are the one you'll see
in messages.

So...having dealt with agencies satisfactorly, the only advice I can
give is that you should treat them the way you'd want to be treated;
professionaly, honestly, and with a sense of humor. Be clear with
what you want. If you do this, with little exception, they will be
the same way back to you.

Even in day to day real life, you know when you hear something that
doesn't ring true. Even if you don't know why it doesn't, it doesn't
matter...end the discussion like an adult, simply tell them that you
aren't comfortable in the relationship and thank them for their time.
Then hang up. If, as you are dealing with them, they make a promise
that you think is unreasonable, then discuss it with them, and it may
turn out that something was simply misunderstood.

State what you want up front, what strengths you have that they can
promote and what weaknesses you may have that needs to be known up
front.

Don't ask for rates that are unreasonable for your level and your
area, but don't undersell yourself...you'll be amazed at what we're
selling for lately.

Forget NWU...forget any organization that has an agenda. Just deal
with the agency firmly but fairly...and if they don't in return,
you'll know it.

Don't sign anything that protects the agency for more than 6 months,
a year at most. However, it is reasonable to expect the agency to
protect themselves to a certain level. Also, don't get into any
arrangements that will place you at odds with your client without the
client knowing about it.

This is a hard one...don't discuss your rate with the client...my
clients almost never know what I'm being paid (unless I gave the
agency permission to let them know)...your paycheck comes from the
agency and they're the only one that knows what you are being paid.

A good agency asks you what you want in a contract and within the
parameters of the position, will try to get it for you. If they
can't, they will tell you up front...they have to really boogie in
this competitive environment and they don't have alot of time to
waste.

I could keep goiing on, however, it pretty much just comes back to if
you feel comfortable, cool. If something rubs you wrong, there are
other positoions and other agencies.

--- Cathy Moore <cathy -at- proseprovider -dot- com> wrote:
> I'm being courted by some agencies that offer high-paying work in a
> nearby city that I'm unfamiliar with. I'm eager for the money, but
> I've
> found horror stories in the TECHWR-L archives that give me pause.
> I've
> gotten some good information from the National Writers Union & STC
> sites, but I'm still wondering: What early warning signs should
> steer me
> away from an agency? What are the signs of a good agency? How can I
> best protect my interests?


=====
John Posada, Senior Technical Writer
"How to be happy in life: Never impose your beliefs
on anyone else and never fry bacon in the nude."
-- Anon
mailto:john -at- tdandw -dot- com, 732-259-2874

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