Re: Another Ethical Question

Subject: Re: Another Ethical Question
From: Megan Irvine <Megan_Irvine -at- TRANSARC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 1994 10:05:20 -0400

I did not see the original post but judging from the following excerpts:

In article <9409120910 -dot- A10963 -at- pcmail -dot- cti-pet -dot- com>, Karla McMaster <mcmaster%pc\
mail -dot- cti-pet -dot- com -at- cti-pet -dot- com> writes:
|> "lemming's" post about contracting in Florida made me think about posting t\
|> question to the list...What do you all think about long-term (i.e., more th\
an a
|> year) contracting job situations? About two years ago, I turned down a long-
|> term contracting job, in part because I had an ethical problem with the
|> middleman (contributing only paperwork) getting paid over such a long perio\
d. I
|> can see placement fees, and short-term contract situations, but this positi\
|> was going to be at least 18 months, and given that it was government-relate\
|> would more likely drag on far longer.
|> My experiences here sound like lemming's experiences in Florida. Most of the
|> technical writing/editing work in this area is
|> contract/subcontract/subsubcontract/etc. In principle, I don't want to
|> participate in this "scam." However, at the time I turned the job down, I
|> already had enough work to keep me going, for the time being. Will I be as
|> tough next time? Is it important? I don't know. What do you all think?

I have to disagree with some things being said here. I contracted for
four years and, though that may not seem like much, I learned a lot
about the business in that time. IMO, long-term assignments are the
best because they give you the time to establish good working
relationships within the company and you are more likely to be treated as
a regular employee. On short-term assignments, people see you more as a
"temp." I contracted at one company for a total period of two years (renewing a
3-mos. contract several times) and it was one of the most rewarding jobs I
ever had in terms of getting valuable experience, learning new skills,
working with good people, etc.

If you don't like the idea of the "middleman" taking such a big cut,
keep in mind that you can negotiate. If you have the skills to fit a
position they need to fill *right now*, then you have some bargaining
power. Also, if you've been contracting for a company long enough for
them to get to know & like you, and they want to renew or extend your contract,
you have some negotiating power there, too. They don't want to lose
you and have to train someone else. You could also get a permanent job
out of it. But if you don't put forth the effort, of course
contracting's not going to pay off. You get out of it, what you put into it.

I resent the implication that by accepting contract jobs I'm
"unprincipled" or "unethical." In a market like Pittsburgh, where you
MIGHT see a job posting for a technical writer once in a blue moon,
contracting is sometimes the only way to find work. Unless, of course,
you can compete with the resources and staffing of the agencies around
here (which, by the way, are among the fastest growing companies). If
you view contracting as a "scam" or have an "ethical" problem with
it, then don't do it. You'll be missing out on what could be a good

BTW, I have a regular job now and I owe it to my contracting experience.

<--------------- Megan Irvine <mirv -at- transarc -dot- com>-----<
/| /| | |\ | / Pittsburgh, Pa. U.S.A. /
/ | / | | |/ | / "Technical Writer with an Attitude"/
/ |/ | | |\ |/ Standard disclaimers apply. /

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