Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit

Subject: Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2008 19:22:03 -0400

I feel that I might agree with Janice. When working in a small (then
large, then small again) tech pubs department, I saw several tech
writers and would-be tech writers get into snits, one of which nearly
went as far as legal action. In general they arose from poor management,
from poor attitudes, from false expectations, and from inability to deal
with people. Most writers want to do a good job, and good management
allows and encourages them to do just that, regardless of the pay
structure. I do wish that companies could see that starting the writing
six weeks before FCS might be a bad plan, and I hope that Gene's
schedule for rates helps some of us to address the problem.

I myself have gone from doing a job well to doing it poorly, or the
other direction, based on the vibes and support I received from my own
management and from others. Not every project goes well. I've had to say
to myself, "If only I had jammed my plan down their throats instead of
accepting their excuse that, 'We don't need a plan. I think everyone
here understands what we are doing.'" I've taken it upon myself to work
unpaid hours just to finish a project in time to get it out the door.
I've also occasionally felt that I wasn't accomplishing anything,
regardless of the number of hours I spent at work--a classic sign of bad

Janice Gelb wrote:
> ...
> Apparently, the person filing this lawsuit had only
> worked for Sun itself for one year. Unless her manager
> was out of the ordinary for the Sun technical pubs
> department, while it is true that writers do have to work
> long hours near product deadlines, Sun tech pubs has always
> been very good about unofficial comp time, flexible hours,
> flexible locations in encouraging people to work from home,
> and so on.
> I suspect this suit has more to do with her specific
> expectations and the setup at her previous job(s) than
> with class action abuses of technical writers. I don't
> see this as being in the same category of hourly contractors
> who are forced to work off the clock or are kept on at a
> company for years at a time so the company doesn't have to
> pay the same benefits as they would to a full-time employee.
> On a side note, I think that this type of suit directly
> contradicts the desire of most technical communicators
> to be considered professionals on a level with programmers
> and engineers.

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Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Eric J. Ray
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Rob Hudson
RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Jodie Gilmore
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Janice Gelb

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