TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
>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?
Well, people tell horror stories here because they're unusual. IME, most
agencies are both honest and well-meaning, providing you bear in mind that
they are being paid by the company for whom you will be working - their
interests are in finding someone who will get the job and not do their
reputation with company any harm. The worst thing some agencies do,
particularly in the current recruiting climate where there are more jobs
than writers, is try to get you into the job without worrying about whether
you're suited for it: but (IME) they won't usually actually lie about it -
just stretch the truth a little in a favourable direction. Other than that,
read everything you sign, and don't feel obliged to sign everything you read
If you can take the time, go visit the city *first*. Ask for an
all-expenses-paid job interview, if it gets that far, and don't feel
obligated to accept the job if it's offered.
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.
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