Re: Contract work newbie

Subject: Re: Contract work newbie
From: Eric Ray <ejray -at- IONET -dot- NET>
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 1996 12:15:09 PDT

--- On Fri, 5 Apr 1996 13:13:46 -0500 WaverlyD -at- AOL -dot- COM wrote:
>I am about to enter the wild and wooley world of contract work. Previously,
>I've done the

>To those of you who have worked contract jobs in the past, Lord hear my plea.

Ray wants to know about several things I don't know enough to speak
about, but I can add a couple of tangential tips:

When doing contract work ...
* specify exactly what your task includes and doesn't include.
* identify your deadlines AND your client's deadlines. Don't
unknowingly get yourself into a position in which you are
idle (=unpaid) and waiting for input from your client.
* brainstorm for hours about what pitfalls could beset you
and address those issues through discussions or the contract.
* never assume anything. The old saw about what happens when you
assume isn't an idle joke.

And an anecdote:
Several years ago when I had more bills than than I had
experience and sense combined, I took a (mercifully) short-lived,
entry-level, flat pay contract.

I researched and wrote the requisite chapter of a book, spent literally
hours doing busy work paperwork (e.g. illustration requests in triplicate
with at least two samples of similar illustrations and completed reproduction
permission requests in case the illustrators decided that the samples
were exactly what was required), and submitted
the whole thing. Paid fractionally better than McDonalds.

Then I got it back for initial revisions: "This is technical writing.
We don't use definite articles. Change all instances of 'the whatsit'
to just 'whatsit'." Done. Net hourly pay now lower than McDonalds.
Second go on revisions: "This sounds kind of stilted. Why don't
you relax a little and use more articles?"

The contract did pay the rent and more than paid for itself in
knowledge and experience. I learned A LOT there.


--> Please note new E-mail address <--
Eric J. Ray ejray -at- ionet -dot- net
TECHWR-L Listowner

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