RE: Taking Minutes at Meetings

Subject: RE: Taking Minutes at Meetings
From: Ron Sering <rsering -at- convera -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 08:28:02 -0800

-- I once took a agency contract job at a corporation that shall remain
nameless. I talked them into an hourly rate that was at the absolute top at
the time. My main job was to go to meetings with the department manager and
take the minutes with a laptop. Twelve years experience, getting a very
handsome hourly rate, and I was doing something they could have hired out a
$10/hour Manpower or Kelly temp could do. I pointed out that there were
many, many other things I could do for them other than take meeting minutes.
They finally pulled me out of that. So I'm afraid that the idea of tech
writers as glorified secretaries is a notion that will never go away in some
parts of the world.

If you think of the idea that information is power, then you control a
little power through getting the responsibility. So there is some advantage
in it. is demeaning.

Stress the value of the meetings to you as a technical communicator. Point
out that the meetings are important events for you because you are doing
vital research (stress the difficulty of getting everyone together like this
at any other time), and that it is a distraction for you to take notes on
things not directly related to your project(s). Tell them that they're
getting more for their money by having you focus on project related work in
the meeting. Say that you spend a lot of time at the meeting "processing"
what is discussed and formulating questions, and that non-project related
information comes in a distant second in importance. That might not get you
a pass on taking the minutes, but it makes clear why YOU are agreeing to do


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