Re: Writing Samples

Subject: Re: Writing Samples
From: Penn Brumm <penn -at- HEALTHEON -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 18:39:37 -0800


The comments below are aimed at the Silicon Valley-type high-tech environments.  I can't really speak for the remainder of the various industries, as I've never worked in them.

Yves had some good ideas.  However, if you're in high-tech and if you use his second one, I believe it shows you don't understand your environment.  If you work for a start-up or high-tech company, you might be writing highly confidential documentation for internal users, or for third-party users who have non-disclosure contracts or agreements. This material you write represents hundreds of thousands of R&D expenses for the company (mostly in salaries and overhead of engineers and scientists).

If you attempt to negotiate use of the material outside the company, you send strong signals to those interviewing you that you don't have a clue as to the sensitivity of the material or the basic "rules" of the industry.  For example, I work on documenting software, APIs, and engineering methodologies that may never be "exposed" to the outside world. Even if some interface parameters are, the inner workings are not.  It is simply not acceptable to "broadcast" what it is that I am writing to other companies.  In addition, modifying the material still tells too much.

If you bring "Company Confidential" material from your old company to a new company as exhibits, the new company interviewers know what you have and what agreements they cannot trust you with, even if you've whited out the confidentiality statements.  First, I feel it's ethically inexcusable.  Secondly, it's unprofessional.  If you have to ask why, you don't belong in this part of the writing field.


- - - - -

Yves Jeaurond wrote:

(2) In your next contract, you can negotiate / add a clause that states that
you have a right to use such altered / original documents in your portfolio
(speak to a lawyer that specializes in copyright/publishing rights issues--a
nice intro to all of this in Siegel's "Breaking In to the Music Business").

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