Re: Out of Work Tech Writers

Subject: Re: Out of Work Tech Writers
From: Emily Berk <emily -at- armadillosoft -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 10:34:57 -0700

Since the late 1990s, my family has been hands-down the poorest in any of the circles in which we run. My friends who had been working 120+ hour days (just like I had), were cashing in their stock options and making profits in the many-multiples of million dollars.

I could tell when they saw me drive up in my old car that they felt that there was something that I must have done wrong to not be swimming in the deep $ that they were. I, obviously, could not possibly be as deserving as they were. (And it is the case that I have made mistakes in my life. So sometimes I do start to believe this too ...)

These days, I have email correspondents who have recently lost and I am not exaggerating -- $3 million on Intel stock -- and they are complaining to ME! about having to economize by, say, not buying another BMW this year, or delaying their $300,000 home renovation. Or, they are moaning about selling their homes and might not get the full $980,000 ($500,000 profit in 7 years) they are asking.

My theory is that these folks are Calvinists. They believe that they are entitled to their (literally) unbelievable success. They know for certain that they are

As kind as [they're] handsome,
As wise as [they're] rich"
--From Into the Woods ...

And, therefore, since they Deserve THEIR good-fortune, they are forced to conclude that I deserve my dire financial situation.

There MUST, they reason, be a Good Reason why they are making out alright (well, it is pretty depressing to not be able to buy that car, but they can always buy two next year) and I am not.

There is no way I can convince these guys that here but for a chance -- in our case an undeserved, devastating medical emergency that changed my family's medical, fiscal and emotional situation for more than 15 years and counting -- go they.

It sounds to me like Dick Margulis is feeling this way about Suzanne Chiles.

He's got a great job, enjoys his work, everyone tells him he's doing fine, he's a great guy and there's money in the bank. I'm sure that he truly believes that if Suzanne's been out of work as a tech writer and has been for a while -- well, then she's obviously Fated to Flip Burgers.

Suzanne, converting people from this kind of Calvinism to even a semblance of empathy is a full-time job you would not want.

Just my .02, and I don't have much more than that!


On Wed, 19 Jun 2002 17:35:26 -0400, Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net> wrote:
>Suzanne Chiles wrote:
>> So, I'm in my 4th month of unemployment and am having lots of feelings about it. Some days I feel like something good is right around the corner; other days I feel like I'll never find another tech writing job again.
>> How are the rest of the unemployed writers doing?
>I acknowledge that you are looking for sympathy and support, not advice;
>and therefore you may not want to read further. If that be the case,
>please just stop now instead of getting all huffy because what I'm about
>to say hurts your feelings. Okay?
>First, I am not currently unemployed. I've collected my share--maybe
>more than my share--of UI benefits, though; so I feel qualified to speak
>to the issue.
>Are there jobs around you that pay more than the benefits you are
>collecting? (Remember, your benefits are taxable income; you're going to
>have to pay the taxes that would have been withheld from a regular
>paycheck.) If so, why are you in your fourth month of unemployment?
>You're correct that you may never find another tech writing job. (It's
>doubtful but possible.) But so what? Does that mean you will never work
>again? I hope not! ...

~ Emily Berk ~
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