Re: Using Software Your Clients Propose

Subject: Re: Using Software Your Clients Propose
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 09:06:07 PST

jankwig -at- PANIX -dot- COM (sorry, there was no name in the post), writes:

>So, I guess your "rules of thumb" are "say whatever you think
>will get you the job, and worry about accounting for it later."
>I'm much happier hiring someone who simply says, "Well, no, I've
>never used that particular package, but I've been in this position
>before and sure do learn fast." This is preferable to a bold-faced
>lie from a newly hired employee whom I will then continue to
>*always* doubt for the rest of the time s/he works for me, and
>foget about that reference you wanted.

You miss the point. For one thing, the question was about CLIENTS,
not employers. If someone asks me if I can use FrameMaker, which
I have never used in a non-trivial way, and then years ago, I answer
"yes," because I know dozens of word-processing and desktop-publishing
packages, and it's easy enough for me to pick up a new one. It's
a DTP package; I am a technical writer: of course I can use it!

As a consultant, I am paid for my ability to solve problems without
burdening my client with them. If my computer catches on fire, if
I have a cold, if I have to spend thirty non-billable hours learning a
DTP package, these are my problems. They are none of my client's
business, so long as I live up to my obligations. As an employee,
with company-provided equipment, company-provided sick leave, and
company-provided salary for my learning-curve time, the situation is

I have also discovered that many managers do not believe in the ability
of people to learn, and only engage people who say they can do something;
they will not consider people who claim they can come up to speed quickly.
I do not lie to my clients, however.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that admitting that you're
rusty, and don't posess a copy of the program in question will often lead
the client to pay for a copy!

-- Robert

Robert Plamondon * High-Tech Technical Writing
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (503) 453-5841
"I regret that I have but one * for my country." -- Nathan Hale

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