Re: Want Ads

Subject: Re: Want Ads
From: Jim Grey <jwg -at- ACD4 -dot- ACD -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 1994 08:42:09 -0500

Steve Fouts, in his musical, magical way, shared with us:
>I was perusing some want ads this weekend, and noticed one from a large
>and influential company looking for a Technical Writer. I was scanning
>the ad and saying to myself, "O.k., I can do that, yup, uh-huh, sounds
>good... OOOPS!"

>The oops was when I hit, "typing, 60 wpm desired." This, to me, says in
>big red letters, "WARNING! This company has absolutely no respect for the
>profession of technical writing!" And I resumed scanning. Am I offbase?

While looking last summer, one company listed a typing requirement in their
want ad. My eyebrow arched. A sweat shop? A company that uses its writers
to "pretty up" or edit/enter material others have written? Eh, what the heck,
I'll fire off my resume. If they want to talk, I guess I can give them an
afternoon of my life.

They called. I interviewed. The writing staff was fairly inexperienced,
save the manager, and they wanted someone with some good experience to
broaden the department's abilities. I would have been creating new manuals
from scratch, and would have been a big part of planning a documentation
strategy change -- far more than the pseudowriting I feared.

Unfortunately, those in the food chain above that poor manager didn't think
much of writers, because they wouldn't allow her to offer anything near what
I wanted. She called, and said, "I want to hire you. But the company is
only giving me enough money to hire at the entry level again. So I won't
insult you with the offer they told me to make."

Thing is, the lowball offers were the rule in my search, *especially* from
companies which placed want ads which seemed to say, "Send Jim Grey up for
the job." (So I stayed put. Why uproot your life to go back to entry level
in the same career?) So, while a typing requirement does send up a red
warning flag, I don't discount such companies completely. You never know.

>Do you out there have any other huge red flags that you see in want ads.
>The only other one that I dislike is a request for salary history, since
>it implies price shopping, but I ignore that one.

My big red flag: contract. I wouldn't mind if I went to work for a company
which contracted writers to other companies, but I'm not the least bit
interested in contracting as an individual. I'd change careers first.

In my last search, when a company asks for salary history, I provided it.
What the heck. But the money I make in Terre Haute, Indiana is misleading,
since it costs next to nothing to live here. (My 2 bedroom apartment in a
good neighborhood is $250 per month. This is a good deal here, but isn't
far off the beam.) So, I always added a "Salary Requirements" paragraph
which read something like, "Salary must at least maintain my current standard
of living, depending upon local cost of living and offered benefits." This
is why I laughed so hard when a company in Chicago seemed so excited about
hiring me, but turned around and offered *exactly* what I make here. Ack!
Rent in Chicago ain't no $250.

jim grey |beebeebumbleandthestingersmottthehoopleraycharlessingers
jwg -at- acd4 -dot- acd -dot- com |lonniemackandtwangandeddiehere'smyringwe'regoingsteadyta
GO/M d p+ c++(-) l u+ e- m*@ s+/ n+ h f++ g- w+@ t+ r- y+(*)
Terre Haute, IN -- The Silicon Cornfield

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