Job Futures in Technical Communication

Subject: Job Futures in Technical Communication
From: "USA::MU17692" <MU17692%USA -dot- decnet -at- USAV01 -dot- GLAXO -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 1994 10:28:00 EST

Marianne Adams wrote:

>While the cooperative you suggest is a great idea for those who want to
>be independent, I think you're being too hard on agencies. My
>experience is that a good (and ethical) agency - particularly one that
>understands tech writers - can be an invaluable ally, particularly for
>those of us who hate marketing. An agency can ensure that you get paid
>by a slow-paying client, can negotiate difficult working conditions,
>and can help avoid long lapses between contracts by marketing you while
>you're still working.

>Even the W-2 you malign can be an advantage. Payment by W-2 is, in most
>cases, the only really legal way to go, because most of us are not
>really totally independent and don't fit the qualifications set up by
>the IRS. I'm a writer, not an accountant, and I'd just as soon taxes
>are withheld than deal with estimated taxes and all that stuff. W-2
>employment also means that I'm covered by unemployment insurance - a
>nice benefit that I haven't had to use much, but keeps me from panicking
>between assignments.

I am glad Marianne wrote this. She precisely demonstrates the
misunderstanding *people* have with our corporate experience.

As the stockholders and members of our own company, we control our
destiny relative to that business. Our corporation has a single
attorney and CPA. We pay wages to ourselves and withhold taxes. We
issue W-2s to ourselves. However, O'Meghan Corporation will gleefully
help subsidize our trip to the STC International Conference. As a
legally and ethically bound team, we help sell each other's services.
We share risk and reward. But we serve ourselves.

By involving many people, we hope to solve the biggest problem small
business have: cash flow. We plan to pay ouselves on time. The plan
is to pay a relatively small base wage on a bi-weekly basis and pay out
quarterly and annual bonuses in order to better manager cash flow.

We are our own agency. We don't malign agencies, we simply decided
to expand into that business as well. We are not independent, not as
individuals. We are legally bound together. However, we are independent
as a company. It's kind of like we've formed our own little technical
communicator tribe. This way, we're in a much better position to deal
with other individuals and tribes.

I welcome opinions on this subject.

Thank you for all of the responses I have received so far.

-Mike Uhl (uhl~m -at- glaxo -dot- com)
Glaxo Inc. Research Institute
Research Triangle Park, NC

"Francis Bacon told us that ' power.' This can now
be translated into contemporary terms. In our social setting,
'Knowledge is change'--and accelerating knowledge-acquisition, fueling
the great engine of technology, means accelerating change."
-Alvin Toffler, _Future Shock_ (1970)

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