Re: state of TWers

Subject: Re: state of TWers
From: "Robert B Kennedy" <bobbykennedy44 -at- home -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001 06:23:14 -0500

<Bal said:>

I view the economy as going through a very healthy, much needed sanity
check.
Over the past 3 years, I often told my wife that I was amazed at the way so
many
people bought into all the dot.coms that lived off the money of investors
and
viewed profit as some distant holy grail. I wondered whether it was a
pyramid
scheme run amok.

I couldn't agree more -- I've been amazed at the mismanagement in IT in
the less than 2 years I've been a TW. My first contract: I was hired over
the phone by a large, prestigious software developer that was flush
with its own success and I was "supervised" by a programmer who didn't
care if I worked or not. Ditto my second position, at a prestigious
newspaper
publisher: hired for a 6-month contract, I too often sat around looking for
work.

NOW I work for a startup backed by 2 big international companies in France
and England. The first week I began, I had someone from Products stop in
the Security office and say "Wow, we really need your services...." then
Sales,
now Engineering... but no one wanted to commit to paying for me because
they were busy filling out "essential" staff. Looks like I'm going captive
with
Engineering and the doc work has piled up to the ceiling! SO EVEN WHERE
THEY NEED OUR WORK, THEY CAN DEFER, DELAY, PROSCRATINATE, ETC,
and we'll "go into the kitchen and rattle those pots and pans!" (For the
proper
wage, of course.)







----- Original Message -----
From: "Bal Simon" <wordmuse -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2001 12:47 AM
Subject: Re: state of TWers


> > Currently I'll be looking for a contract in about 2 weeks, but does
> > anyone know why tech writers in particular are having problems?

Two answers:

1 - many organizations seem to view documentation as an ugly stepchild.
They often don't even think about it until they get to the, "Oh sh--!"
phase. Then, what they really want is a magician, who, with the wave of
his/her (hir) hand over the keyboard - no touching now - produces wonderful
documentation in Word, web, Acrobat, and Framemaker formats. They want it
for dirt cheap, and - please! - don't bother anyone. "We don't have the
bandwidth to help you help us! Can you do it?!" Of course, we say yes, and
<evil smile>they get what they deserve...</evil smile>

2 - Less sardonically, I view the economy as going through a very healthy,
much needed sanity check. Over the past 3 years, I often told my wife that
I was amazed at the way so many people bought into all the dot.coms that
lived off the money of investors and viewed profit as some distant holy
grail. I wondered whether it was a pyramid scheme run amok. Sometimes
being forced to take stock and re-evaluate what's important is THE healthy
thing. Not pleasant, but healthy. And, no, I don't have it made in the
shade. I'm currently between jobs. Two Monday's ago I experienced
something like an anxiety attack (which I sometimes get after big
earthquakes, but not between jobs!). I literally sweated as I wondered how
I'd make it in this economy. I allowed myself to go through the experience,
talked about it with my wife a little bit, felt a little better, and then
began making efforts anew.

Here's what I've been doing: The number of jobs listed in places like
monster, dice, etc. are still as paltry as they've lately been. So I
decided to try an angle I hadn't tried for a few years (because I didn't
have to!): I contacted local high tech firms - by email - and submitted my
resume, saying that given the kind of work they did, I thought they might
use technical writers. If a need arose, I asked them to consider me. I
have found that for every 10 emails I send out, I am getting at least 1
lukewarm response. And once in awhile, I have found that there is actually
an opportunity to pursue. I'm not a great fit for all kinds of work, but I
am versatile enough, and I have worked at many places that give me
credibility. Somehow, I think that things will work out - even if I have to
go through more blasted anxiety attacks. My grandparents had to deal with
much, much worse! Their physical survival was often at stake. How can I
dishonor them by complaining about my easy life!???

For whatever it's worth.

Regards,
Bal




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