Re: Self-promo in dangerous times

Subject: Re: Self-promo in dangerous times
From: "John Posada" <writer -at- tdandw -dot- com>
To: <mlist -at- ca -dot- rainbow -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2004 11:09:23 -0500

> I'm thinking that it's better to ensure retention, rather
> than to try to claw my way back from a layoff notice. So,
> my dilemma is how to hint at my value to some unknown
> decision-maker (in another city, in another country)
> in the buying company (both buyer and buyee are publicly
> traded). Something short and sweet would be a trade-rag
> review of our product that had good things to say about
> the documentation. Not totally objective, but at least
> it's an evaluation from a disinterested third party.

Kevin, and all..

There is nothing wrong with self promotion, in fact, if you
aren't doing it every day, you are doing yourself a

However, how I see self-promotion and others see it are
often two different things.

How I see it...every day, do something, anything, that shows
your value to the company management:

- a memo to your department head how you have an idea that
renaming your internal file name conventions will save some
confusion and offer an alternative.
- volunteer to be on the beta test team in your department
for an application that is near and dear to the CIO of your
- make a commitment to get a document done in time for the
Marketing VP to get some revenue on his books a month early,
and meet your commitment.
- see the VP of Software Engineering by the copier and
strike up a conversation, with the subject being that since
you have a training budget, what methodology do they use in
development that you can pursue with outside training. Even
if there isn't one, it will make points with her.
- hand in your draft in person to a Product Manager for
review, ask for 5 minutes, and discuss briefly how a certain
re-arrangement might be advantageous.
- talk to a system engineer about how a TV program you saw
on the Discover channel made you think about what he was
doing on a project.
- mention to the GUI Development Manager how you were
reading his FR, noticed that the Help button was missing and
discuss it for a few minutes.
- come in on a Sunday to finish up something so a
development deadline can be met, and make sure an elite
group of managers know you were there...they are easy to
find, usually their title has three letters and starts with
a C.
- get 5 minutes of the time with another writer in the
department and discuss with her a cool feature you heard
about on Techwr-l.
- meet with your manager, show him the way something was
done in a document by a writer who is no longer there and
show him that there is much better way to do it.
- make it clear to the Manager of Training that you will be
VERY upset, in a light kinda way, if you hear that there was
an internal training session being scheduled and you weren't
invited, then cc your management and the important product
-request that the internal bug tracking application used by
QA and CS be installed on your machine so that when you are
reworking a document, you can check to see if any of the
bugs could have been prevented if the documentation had
addresses it better, then make the changes to the product
document during the next cycles.
-about a million more things...

All of these are small by themselves...but when you add them
up, people who matter start to notice.

If you've been there for more than 6 months and have not
established your value already and are thinking that maybe
management doesn't already know your value, maybe they

As far as not being known by the buyer, no buyer with a
teaspoon of brains is going to make a decision on employee
retainment for in the bought company without consulting some
of the bought company management they respect.

The only time this might not work is if the decision is made
for the wholesale elimination of a department with no
consideration of ANY of the members, but then the point is
moot matter what you may have done, you were
simply on the wrong side.

John Posada
Senior Technical Writer


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