RE: Getting Up To Speed On A Contract Assignment

Subject: RE: Getting Up To Speed On A Contract Assignment
From: "Lauren" <lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu>
To: "'Richard Lewis'" <tech44writer -at- yahoo -dot- com>, "'Mike Starr'" <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 11:58:22 -0700

> -----Original Message-----
> Behalf Of Richard Lewis

> I guess tech writers do a wide variety of things. I have
> been on a contract assignment for over seven months and am
> just now starting to make a contribution. Up till this
> time, I spent most of my time just trying to learn the As-Is
> situation.
> Richard "Introspective" Lewis
> Mike Starr <mikestarr-techwr-l -at- writestarr -dot- com> wrote:
> if I hired a writer and they took two weeks to get up to
> speed, I'd seriously question my interviewing skills.

I think it depends on the type of contract assignment. If a documentation
system is in place, then there will be a learning curve to understand the
processes. If the technical writer is required for a new project, or to fix
an old one, then the writer will probably need to hit the ground running.
My cases have mostly been the "hit the ground running" types, except for one
gig where I was brought into a team of technical writers by a manager that
wanted to expand her group but didn't have the budget for a full-time
employee. It didn't work, she lost half of her people in a mass corporate

I also don't understand why an organization with an on-staff technical
writing team would want a contractor to fill a vacancy like an employee.
Contract technical writers are there for the short-haul. They help when
there is a backlog of work, when there is a new project that is not typical
for the organization, and when the organization needs to get a handle on
some otherwise undocumented system or process.

There are those "temp-to-hire" positions where organizations would like try
out an employee before making any commitments, but those are not typical
contractor positions and those positions should be treated like regular
employment positions. "Employment" positions will have a learning curve,
but "contract" positions have a limited time frame in which to complete the
work, so the contractor needs to be ready on Day One.



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Getting Up To Speed On A Contract Assignment: From: Richard Lewis

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