New TECHWR-L Poll Question

Subject: New TECHWR-L Poll Question
From: Emily Berk <emily -at- armadillosoft -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 08:50:05 -0800

>In your career as a technical writer, how many times have you been laid off?
>* I have never been laid off
>* One time
>* Two times
>* Three times
>* Four times

Well, if you count abrupt termination of a consulting contract without cause...

In my more than two years as a contractor at Borland, I was terminated -- so many times I have lost count.

The first time was two days after I reluctantly signed a contract that read "This contract may be terminated without notice and for no cause." (The person I signed with swore up and down that no one had EVER been terminated without cause. He was being truthful. But two days after I signed on, the CEO terminated ALL contractors.) My manager's manager came to my desk with tears in her eyes to give me the news.

I was re-hired at a higher hourly rate a few days later and was then subsequently terminated without cause every six weeks or so and then re-hired within a few days or weeks for about 18 months. My phenomenal managers got around that no-contractor rule by identifying me as an "office supply". To the bureaucrats at Borland, I am, and may forever be, the world's most expensive paperclip.

After the first three or four times, the "laying off" process became a lot less stressful for all concerned. (Each time I came back, my hourly rate went up.)

That last six months (which was after everyone in tech pubs including my wonderful manager, associate manager and manager's manager had left EXCEPT for me, which is why I was not laid off quite as often) was utter misery for me.

The only reason I stayed as long as I did was because I really enjoyed working with the mostly-brilliant, very hard-working engineering team.

This was during the boom, by the way.


~ Emily Berk ~
On the web at *** Armadillo Associates, Inc. ~
~ Project management, developer relations and ~
extremely-technical technical documentation that developers find useful.~

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