RE: About proprietary writing samples

Subject: RE: About proprietary writing samples
From: "Sean Brierley" <sbri -at- haestad -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 09:11:27 -0400

It wasn't advice.

It was "for the sake of discussion." Am not saying I do it. Am not
pointing out that if you call a previous employer for permission, they
have no reason to grant it to you. Am just laying out one choice to
kick-start discussion.

I also think that your idea of re-creating or re-working samples is
off-base. Are you also going to get them printed and perfect bound with
four-color covers? Is the template company-owned?

I would say written permission is not needed, though, and you are
unfairly discriminating against those who don't have written permission.
Maybe they bought their previous employers product and thus have the
docs. Or, maybe they have verbal permission. Getting written permission
from a previous employer becomes a bigger issue, and can lead to the
expense of the previous employer running the idea past corporate legal
departments and thus costs significant money. Indeed, in the past I have
gotten previous employers to give me copies of my work for my portfolio,
but I have no written legal document to prove it.

Just more fuel for the fire and thoughts for consideration.



Sean Brierley
Software Documentation Specialist
Haestad Methods
203-805-0572 (voice)
203-597-1488 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Manley [mailto:edmanley -at- bellsouth -dot- net]
Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 7:03 PM
To: Sean Brierley; TECHWR-L
Subject: RE: About proprietary writing samples

Really bad bit of advice here, Sean. One cannot use a company's
whether marked confidant, proprietary, secret, whatever, or even when
marked but used without permission for any reason. Not only do you
immediately reveal to the person with whom you share them that you have
intention of following rules and respecting privacy and confidentiality,
you enter into any number of tricky legal implications.

Every company I know has a policy requiring departing employees to
all company materials. I suspect that many of us have docs on our home
maybe CDs of docs burned for backup or sneaker mail while still
that we don't destroy or return, but revealing or distributing them is a

If a prospective hire showed me a previous employer's document and could
produce a written release I would not even consider hiring him/her/it.

I suggest that the original poster create purpose-written docs if he has
other. He could knock out a quick user guide for a printer, or a
guide that leads a non-technical typewriter user step-by-step through
starting a PC, Opening Word, creating a doc, saving it, re-opening it,
the edit and close.

Something along those lines can be done in a couple hours, is your own
therefore can be used in whatever fashion the writer desires, and will
employers a real feel for your capabilities.


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