Re: How not to attract staff!

Subject: Re: How not to attract staff!
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 09:55:43 -0600

>I'll ride in you life boat any time. My following comments refer to
>salaried employees only. What all this regularly scheduled overtime
>boil down to is a cut in pay. If you regularly work an extra 10 hours
>a week (without compensation), you have just taken a 25% pay cut. If
>you work this way for four years, you have just given away the
>equivalent of one year of pay. Will your employer give you one year of
>paid vacation after four years of this kind of work? I think not. I
>don't know about all of you, but I can get a job anywhere doing
>anything--as long as I'm willing to work for free. And that's just
>what regularly scheduled overtime is; it's free work. I don't object
>to the occasional overtime because the give and take between employer
>and employee works out in the long term. But I view regularly
>scheduled overtime as poor planning or maybe it's a management tactic,
>I don't know. In any case, if that's what the job requires, you can
>have it. I'll find work where the company values the employee as much
>as they value their product. And I'll come to your funeral when you
>die of a heart attack or stroke at age 45; as long as I don't have to
>work because of a deadline.
>Don Timmerman, dtimmerman -at- anl -dot- gov

Judging from the responses on this list, I am definitely in the
minority. I am one of those Tech Writers that you see still working
when you leave. I'm here many Saturdays. I do what I need to do and
more to get the job done. (By the way, I'm real near 40 and nowhere
near a heart attack; in fact I'm in better shape than I was in my 20s or

However, there are some incentives for the extra effort. I have found
my niche in documentation. I am working with programming reference
guides for object-oriented applications. Instead of asking Programmers
for example code, I develop my own. This puts me directly in my
reader's position. I am forced to read my own help as a guide to
programming the applications. Writing and testing my own code brings to
the surface those nuances that the user will run into that may never
come to surface during a technical review. I expose many unknowns and
after resolution, address them in the help.

This methodology comes with a price and that price is time. Between the
writing and the programming, I have enough variety that the hours fly
by. It helps that I am just plain interested in the stuff! It also
helps that our company compensates us for overtime in excess of 8
hours/week. I've worked plenty of places where they didn't.

I also spent a year unemployed and Tech Writing jobs could not be found.
I was left with whatever I could fit in my car. Every place was
downsizing. As a result, survivors had to pick up the load. Forced or
implied-forced overtime can really be a pain; but it beats unemployment
hands down.

Spend a year unemployed looking for a decent job, go through massive
downsizing and restructuring, find something you're really interested in
and then tell me if your attitude toward difficult work
tasks/environment doesn't soften. If anyone thinks that an impossible
deadline is stress, try facing a foreclosure and only one more
unemployment check.

Mike Wing
| Michael Wing
| Principal Technical Writer
| Infrastructure Technical Information Development
| Intergraph Corporation
| Huntsville, Alabama
| (205) 730-7250
| mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com

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