Re: Advice on starting out; dealing with employers

Subject: Re: Advice on starting out; dealing with employers
From: Lisa G Wright <lisawright -at- mail -dot- utexas -dot- edu>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2011 12:38:22 -0500

Regarding #2, you don't have to make a big deal out of it, but you can start building your style guide for your own use and then share it as it becomes appropriate. The only items where you might have to push for clarity are if they are inconsistent in their product/service names. Even then, you don't have to go on about the style guide.

Regarding #3, you are getting conflicting opinions, which is pretty normal. For myself, I believe it's best to bring up your ability to use anything you produce in your portfolio as part of the interview process and make sure it's covered in any contract or employment agreement. In fact, I won't sign something that says I can't use my work products as a work sample, with appropriate respect for confidentiality and sensitivity. Even though the interview is over at this point, I would still bring it up as soon as possible. You don't have to say, "When I'm interviewing for my next job, I'd like to use these as work samples." But you can say something to the effect of, "I know we didn't discuss it when I first started, but I do like to include work that I'm proud of in my portfolio. Would you be comfortable with me using some of the documents I work on?" You can then talk about any details they might want you to blur over or particular items that are truly for internal use only. Even then, you can often use things in your portfolio as long as you post them all over the internet. You should have more samples in your portfolio than you would send out.

IMO, the exit interview is the absolute worst time to bring this topic up, especially if the relationship has degraded at all.

Lisa

On 4/15/2011 10:31 AM, Joan Wamiti wrote:

Hey All,

I'm new here, both to the list and to technical writing. I've been lurking
for a few weeks, browsing the archives and reading the daily digests with
interest
<snip>
3. Credit/attribution - how do I address this with my employer? I've
already written up some user documentation for clients. I'd like to be able
to use some of what I've done for a portfolio, but I'm dealing with a lot of
proprietary information, some of which I can't just scrub/block out
(describing processes etc.). I've only started working for this company and
I'm hesitant to bring this up right away, but I don't want this to become a
problem later on. I know I could save all my work for a portfolio and use
it anyway, but I'd rather have permission.
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References:
Advice on starting out; dealing with employers: From: Joan Wamiti

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