Laid off---hi again everyone

Subject: Laid off---hi again everyone
From: Jeffrey Osier-Mixon <jefro -at- mcn -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 00:26:23 -0700

I was an active member of this list for a few years while I was employed
at an embedded systems company, but have not been subscribed for a
while---got too busy writing documents! Since then I have worked for a
well-known web browser and tools organization that was sopped up by The
Borg, and for the past almost three years have been grinding away as the
purveyor of external technical documentation at a certain microprocessor
company that just laid off 40% of its workforce. Including me.

So. Here I am, jobless for the first time since I was a freshman in
college in 1987, except this time I have a family, three cats, a
mortgage, and a general aviation habit to feed.

On the plus side I have been a full-time telecommuter for three years,
and two years ago I got a pilot's license that enables me to get from
home in the wilds of northern California to the Silly valley, where all
the computer-writing jobs are (or used to be!) in about an hour, though
not every day since it's fairly expensive. I have been a technical
writer for ten years, using TeX and troff for the first four (no, I'm
not kidding) and FrameMaker for the past six. I write my own code
examples and consider myself to be fairly well-versed toolwise and

On the minus side, well, I'm without an income. Now, how to see this
situation as an opportunity?

The logical answer seems to be: contract! I have mobility, an
established home office, a willingness and ability to write. However,
my contracts are few since I have had my nose to the grindstone. The
plain truth is that I am scared of being six months without a contract
and running out of money, losing the house, selling the cats, etc.

The other option is to be hired again as an employee, but I am finding
that it is difficult to find an employer in the current economic climate
who wants to pay me a seasoned veteran's salary to work from home
hundreds of miles away.

Can someone please either assuage my fears of contracting (and give
advice on where to start) or help me find more options? I already
considered and rejected giving up and buying a bed & breakfast.



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