Re: Help -- staffing issues

Subject: Re: Help -- staffing issues
From: Caryn Rizell <caryn -at- HPPTC95 -dot- ROSE -dot- HP -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 1994 14:32:40 PDT


I don't know where you are geographically, but I would suggest
your first step would be to get in touch with the local chapter
of STC (Society for Technical Communication). Not only will
you meet people who can do the work you want, but you can get
ready info on how to hire a writer.

For example, our chapter has an Employment Manager and a REsume
Review Committee that could answer a lot of your questions.

That would be where I would start.

For info on the closest chapter, contact STC at
stc -at- tmn -dot- com -dot-

Caryn Rizell
caryn -at- hpptc95 -dot- rose -dot- hp -dot- com

> Folks,

> Where to begin? From the beginning, I suppose. I'm a technical writer
> for a manufacturing firm. I don't have a background in either tech
> writing or engineering, but here I am. I was hired and was "trained"
> (yep, it should be in quotes) by an older gentleman who'd been doing this
> for 15 years. Now, he's a nice man, but he didn't have much experience
> in training another person in *technical writing*. For example, we have
> no style book. Every manual looks similar, but different, since we have
> no procedures or work instructions anywhere. So my training was pretty
> haphazard.

> After 7 months, the gentleman had some health problems and went into the
> hospital. For the past 9 months, I've been on my own, muddling through
> as best I can. My advantage is that I'm a pretty quick worker, so I've
> met all the deadlines for the past 9 months.

> However, we're starting into a major crunch time. I've been
> quasi-promoted, so now I'm responsible for both technical writing and any
> and all documentation issues in my department (which is evolving into the
> company, it seems). We're developing several new products that need new
> documentation; we're developing all sorts of projects than need my input;
> and my boss has given me the orders: Find help.

> I feel at a disadvantage in a couple areas. First, I'm not sure how to
> handle this situation. The other technical writer could *theoretically*
> return to work at any time, so we're not hiring someone. What we want is
> someone to come in and learn the way we do things (maybe 4-6 weeks of
> training) and then be available to do work on an as-needed basis. Does
> this seem feasible?

> Second, I'd like guidelines on *how* to hire a writer. How do I evaluate
> from their resumes/samples? I've never taken a writing/editing test, so
> I wouldn't know where to begin in designing one (and I also don't have
> the time).

> Any suggestions to follow, resources to check, or war stories to comfort
> me would be appreciated.

> Thanks,

> Paula Reynolds
> Hi-Speed Checkweigher
> paular -at- hispeed -dot- mhs -dot- compuserve -dot- com

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