Part-Time Vs. Full-Time Employment

Subject: Part-Time Vs. Full-Time Employment
From: S Sieracki <ssierack -at- ARINC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 08:56:10 EST

Hi, all:

I've been on this list for a few weeks and gotten some good
information on various subjects. Now I need to request some
help.

I'd like to get some thoughts on the benefits and drawbacks
(from both the management and employee perspectives) of
technical writers working part time versus full time.

Background: My department is thinking about placing a
technical writer in our Warner Robins, GA, field office.
The person would report directly to me in Maryland and would
work for the folks in Warner Robins as well as our Florida
offices. The WR unit is under a director in MD who is
pushing for this. I've talked with the WR managers, and
some see the need and some don't. This is partly because of
a lack of understanding of what this person could do for
them. Although tech writing and editing are old hat here at
headquarters, there is no editor or tech writer in GA, and
most of the managers and tech staff there think in terms of
someone at the *end* of document development to dot i's,
check review changes, etc. (Sound familiar?) We, on the
other hand, see the position as being an ongoing part of the
document development *process*, and we'll have to educate
the tech staff as to the benefits. My guess is that this
will take a while--first, they have to *think* to ask for
support (please don't suggest that it be mandated by
management--that doesn't work), and it will be for checking
changes, light editing, etc. I'm sure that, in time, a
talented person with a good bedside manner can get the
actual writing work.

Anyway, it's been suggested that we go with a part-time
person until the workload increases as a result of the tech
staff getting used to using such a person. I'm not
convinced that this idea is realistic (see my first question
below). I have to get a recommendation (with backup data)
together for the company president to OK (the budget for my
department is in his cost center). I also have to develop
an implementation plan, including job description and hiring
and training process. So I'm interested in finding out:

1. Is it feasible to expect to find this miracle person--a
skilled technical writer who is willing to work part time
yet be available whenever needed, is willing to do the
piddling stuff while getting the staff to trust his/her
capability, and will want to change over to full-time status
when the workload increases (preferable to my having to hire
and train another person)?

2. Should we hire a full timer and just swallow the initial
cost of having him/her sit idle some of the time while the
education process proceeds? If so, any ideas on how to
estimate what that cost might be?

3. Does anyone have experience in hiring and training staff
long distance? I expect that I'd travel to GA to interview
candidates and that we'd send the new hire here for a week
or two of training in corporate methods and procedures.

4. What are job market conditions like in the Warner Robins
area, and what would be the best way of seeking and
identifying possible candidates? (I haven't checked out
the STC FTP site, but from what I've read about it, it seems
like a good place to start.)

5. Is there another approach we haven't thought of? Are
there other questions I need to answer?

Sorry about the long post. Thanks in advance for your help.

--Sheryl Sieracki (ssierack -at- arinc -dot- com)


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