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>Twice now I have watched as most of my fellow writers were laid off from large
>only to be brought back as contractors to the same offices and the same tasks,
>but lower compensation packages (i.e., no benefits). The first time it
>happened to me as well;
>the second time I resigned rather than be a party to it.
Steve, I am very surprised by this statement. No, shocked would be a better
word. Horrified? Since your entire post (which I will not repeat here) was
based on this trend that you see, I will respect it. I haven't seen it
myself, but in this day and age NOTHING would surprise me. Stated briefly,
you find (in at least two instances) that companies cut cost by "outsourcing"
technical writing; specifically they fired their permanent writers, then
hired them back without benefits, and, if I read correctly, at lower wages.
Now my experience has been a little different. In effect, those writers
took contract positions with the companies. Once a writer becomes a contract
writer, my feeling is that opens up whole new realms of opportunity. A
person in such a position should NEVER settle for lower wages. Not in this
current job market. There a plenty of fine contract writing opportunities
available; I'm seeing them all over the country at rates ranging from
about $25 per hour to over $60 per hour. That would be tough to beat as
a permanent writer, even with bennies. We're talking $50K to $120K per
year, minus a few thousand to provide yourself with better vacations,
I said my experience has been different. Job security is a very real
benefit in contracting. In over twenty years in the biz, I've not had any
days off that I did not request. When I did get laid off, it was always
due to cutbacks, and I always had something lined up to replace it before
the last day on the job. The rates have always been at the top of the
My advice to anyone who finds themselves faced with the scenario Steve
described would be to get active in the contract writing area. Find
those top-paying jobs and sharpen your skills, if needed. Demand
top pay rates. As Steve did in the second instance when he was forced
to make a decision, don't accept the job unless the pay is fair. Only
by standing firm and making clients pay fair rates for our expertise
will we be treated as professionals and given due respect.
Dave Demyan *** Mendem Concord, Inc.
(908) 753-8500 *** One Mountain Blvd.
concord -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com *** Warren, NJ 07059
FAX: (908) 754-8224