New TW graduates...

Subject: New TW graduates...
From: Tina Sansom <kms -at- PLAZA -dot- DS -dot- ADP -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 1994 09:04:55 -0800

Hi List--

Michael Melby posted his concerns over which PC to buy after graduation, in
order to be a successful contractor.

Ok, ok, I know we've been over this before on the list... I'd worry more
about a portfolio as a new graduate than which platform to buy to do
multimedia on. I know having a computer of some configuration or other is
important, but I don't think it's as important as getting the job in the first
place, with work samples. And those can be hard to come by as a new graduate.

Maybe you've done this already? Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions? I know
there was a thread a few months back about how to put together a good
portfolio, you might want to get into the list archives (I don't know how, but
I know it's possible) to look those posts up.

Some employers also may specify they want work done on a very specific platform
(their platform, whatever that may be) so their employees can maintain the work
in the future. In my office, we hire contractors occasionally. There are 30
or so tech writers and training developers, working on Macs, PCs, Unix
mainframes, using WordPerfect, FrameMaker, Word for Windows and for Mac, with a
smattering of Pagemaker and a little Corel Draw, Claris Draw, Aldus Freehand,
and a little Adobe Illustrator. It depends on the group and the project team.

You may work on site as a contractor, using their equipment, with your very
expensive Pentium sitting home collecting dust. If I were you, I'd hang onto
my money and wait. You may very well need a PC... but you may not. It depends
on the contracting market in your area.

I just went to an STC meeting in my area (Portland, OR) talking about
contracting from the employer's point of view. They had a panel of 4 employers
who hire contractors. All of them said they required the contractor to be on
site. One of the employers was the owner of a small contracting agency, and
she said most of her clients looking for contractors wanted them on site. She
felt there was very little market for the contractor working at home. This
wasn't to say it wouldn't happen in the future, and many contractors at the
meeting said they would prefer it. However, as one contractor at the meeting
said "The golden rule is that the one with the gold makes the rules." If your
employer wants you onsite, that's where you go, or you won't get the work.

Those contractors who would only work at home basically had to be a lot more
choosy about picking their contracts. Which also might be difficult for a new

Just my $0.02 worth. I could be totally off base... this really depends on the
market for writers and contractors in your area. But my gut still says to hang
onto your money, and wait until you had a contract job in hand, or a good
prospect for one, and you know the job's requirements.

Good luck!
Tina Sansom "You see, it takes all the running you can do, to
kms -at- plaza -dot- ds -dot- adp -dot- com keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere
(503)294-4200 x2326 else, you must run at least twice as fast!"
--Lewis Carroll, _Through the Looking Glass_

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