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John Posada's comments on proposal writing paint a very clear picture of what it's like. John loves it.
I wrote proposals for several years. I didn't know until I quit how much I disliked it. The stress-level
is high, very high, when you know that 300 of your company's employees are going to be affected by
the outcome of the proposal. Add to that the critical deadlines and the fact that EVERYONE around
you is as stressed as you are. The environment you work in is highly charged from that stress. For
the first 3 years I found it exciting. But, the burnout rate for proposal writers is high. I lasted 7 years,
I did it well, but I never want to do it again.
John also mentions being well compensated. I wasn't (by comparison). I worked for a company that
was trying to grow and didn't pay even half the figure John mentioned (even with overtime). If you go
into proposal writing, you'll be grabbing meals on the run, ordering pizza at 11 p.m. etc. That will
usually come out of your pocket. For weeks at a time, you may not have time to do laundry or load your dishwasher. Dry cleaners, drop-off laundries, and cleaning services are another expense you may need to consider so that you can concentrate on work. John and others doing proposal writing ought to be
well-compensated. In fact, I suspect that the proposal writers who last longest are well-compensated.
When one is well-compensated financial stress isn't as likely to add to the rest of the stress. When
the compensation is low or even moderate, you can't pay someone else to do your laundry, clean your
house, etc. Nor can you afford a stay-at-home spouse to do it for you. I'm not saying money can
eliminate household pressures, but lack of it can be a real problem when you choose a career like
Finally, the other reason why I'm glad to be out of proposal writing--I love working with a product.
I like to get in and play with the software. I want to understand it inside out. I really missed that
sense of working with something tangible when I did proposals. I love working for months at a time
with the same people--especially when they care about building good, solid, software that meets the
I admire people who can do proposals and maintain enthusiasm for it over the long haul. I'm just
glad that I know what works best for me. I still work long hours when necessary (it's Saturday, I'm
at work), I still meet deadlines, but it's a different kind of stress.