RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question

Subject: RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 17:16:59 -0000

Donna wrote:
>I have a portfolio consisting of work that I started
>from origination, some that I came in mid-contract,
>some end term. All of the examples I utilize I have
>had to revise to the extent I should have created it.
>Therefore, I will say-I came in mid-contract, had to
>re-work this piece-don't know the origination author,
>but consider it mine now under the revisions as I had
>to re-work it so desperately.

About the only thing in my portfolio that is absolutely 100% MINE... is a
manual of fundraising techniques for Oxfam groups in Scotland. (Well, you
could probably use most of them elsewhere, except maybe for the bit about
selling plates of stovies in the local pub.) And even there, I didn't do the
illustrations, though I did recruit and advise the artists we used. Plus
there's an account of an evening's fundraising that was way too good not to
include whole and entire.

Everything else...? There's a Help project that was 100% mine originally,
until it got too big and we had to bring in more writers. There's a series
of documents which are 95% mine, but the first writer on the job developed
the templates and did the initial write-up - most of which had to be
revised, but I didn't keep track of that sentence-by-sentence. There's a
whole lot of documents which are 60% to 90% mine in content and all mine in
editing, but the templates were the standard ones in use at the companies.
There's a series of documents where I developed the templates and I'm
entirely responsible for editing, formatting, indexing, but the content is
only 50-80% mine: the rest I have honestly to put down to a series of SMEs -
especially the documentation which is proportionally mostly code examples.
(My idea, my comments, my proofreading, but no way can I take credit for
actual coding.)

What's essential, IMO, is that if you're using a document as part of a
portfolio, you should know which parts you can claim as yours and which
parts were someone else's responsibility: and make that clear, so that the
interviewer knows you're not trying to claim something that you didn't do.
And never use a document in a portfolio if you *can't* explain how much is
yours and how much is someone else's.

I have never shown an example document at an interview and *not* been asked
"How much of this is yours?" I don't know if British interviewing styles are
different from US, but it's a question I would ask and would expect to be
asked. I don't write in a vacuum.

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Digital Bridges, Scotland
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone. Apologies
for the long additional sig: it is added automatically and outwith my


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