Re: Bad Employers/Clients List

Subject: Re: Bad Employers/Clients List
From: Maury <alsacien -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 18:13:17 +0300

Years ago, I subscribed to a publication from Cassell Communications Inc.
in which there was a Storm Warning column. The column was not a vendetta
column that could spawn litigation; to list someone, a writer had to have
hard evidence of having been stiffed for payment or some other contract
violation, and the column only mentioned the name of the company and the
nature of the violation.

During my years outside the U.S., I've seen that such a list would
definitely have merits. I've seen some very devious tactics

* The company who is so enthralled with the contractor that it keeps piling
more and more tasks on the contractor but doesn't pay until "all work is
finished," even though the additional tasks were not part of the original

* The client who, from the first draft, does not stop to complain that the
contractor "isn't taking the job seriously" and then proceeds to keep the
contractor jumping through an endless series of fiery hoops, always coming
up with one more esoteric requirement that was not previously stated, in
order to delay payment indefinitely, while one of the earlier versions of
the documents has been sent out with the product!

* The company that hires the staff writer for a very specific position,
only to change the definition of the position so radically within days
after receiving the new employee so that the new employee suddenly has to
"grow into" a job for which he/she is barely qualified instead of the one
for which he/she was hired, thereby putting the new employee on an unfair
defensive. This tactic is sometimes used for "political" reasons, such as
when a new employee is hired to replace a veteran employee who may have a
grudge against his/her employer and may be suspected of planning corporate
revenge; hiring the new employee is just a way of neutralizing the veteran
employee and has nothing to do with any serious plan to keep either employee!

* A variation of the above is in the case in which the company employs a
person of questionable qualifications and needs a "slave" to keep said
questionable person in said position. In such a case, the "slave" ends up
doing all the work but the questionable person gets the credit, at which
point the "slave" gets fired for not being productive. A company that makes
this a policy should be avoided, because it means that any prospective
employee is at risk, no matter what level of position he/she assumes.

* The client who makes a contract with a contractor and keeps none of the
deadlines, runs far over schedule, and will not take a "no" answer from the
contractor. I had this happen to me in the last year and was forced to
"dump" the project on someone else, something that the client was not
willing to bear, even though my contractual agreement had been fulfilled in
total. This situation can easily end up a "win the battle, lose the war"
situation. Often, "settling the score" happens outside court in an ugly
mudslinging battle in which the solo contractor is at a definite disadvantage.

I could go on, but I think I've made the point. A list of employers and/or
clients whose practices are less than savoury is in the interest of
technical communicators if for no other reason than to prove that they are
not "easy prey" and without defense. The legal implications could be worked
out, but just rolling over and playing dead is not, in my opinion, a
recommended practice for any professional who wants respect.

- Maurice King

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Job Openings -- Summer Technical Writing Interships
Next by Author: Re: Bad Employers/Clients List
Previous by Thread: Re: Bad Employers/Clients List
Next by Thread: Re: Bad Employers/Clients List

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads