Re: Re[2]: Reduce page count WAS Re: secretary's day

Subject: Re: Re[2]: Reduce page count WAS Re: secretary's day
From: Barb Philbrick <caslonsvcs -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 21:51:50 GMT

>>In my specific case, it was purely political. When my quality and level
>>of output was compared with that of the permies doing similar work, the
>>difference was very noticeable... and contractors can't show up the
>It's probably my imagination, but do I detect a bit of scorn and derision when
>Mr. Somers talks of "permies?"
It struck me, too, and I'm a contractor.

>But seriously folks...I've worked with some great contract people and I've
>worked with several losers. The same is true for permanent employees. At no time
>was there any "political" consideration or thought that we couldn't let the
>"contract" show up the "permies." We expect the contract people to be top drawer
>since we pay them top dollar.
I don't think I've ever been let go because of politics.

I suspect that what appeared to be "purely political" might have been
"not adhering to style." I have been in situations where I had to do
things I felt weren't serving the user as well as another method. I
presented my arguments, lost, and got over it, and tried to match the
client's style as well as possible. Yes, I might be able to create a
much better document if I struck off on my own, but it also might
stick out like a sore thumb from the other documents. I think
consistency can be an important factor in using documentation,
especially if customers have various pieces of equipment from a single

I've found I have to "lower my standards" in quite a few instances.
Sometimes it's because the clients don't have as much expertise in a
package, so I won't use complex functions that I know they can't
maintain after I'm gone. Sometimes it's because the time frame and
budget just don't allow the best work. Sometimes it's because they
don't want to invest in better tools.

As a contractor, you've got two considerations: the client and the
final user. Yes, I'd like to make perfect books for every user, but
sometimes it just isn't practical to produce the perfect book.


Barbara Philbrick, Caslon Services Inc.
Technical Writing. caslonsvcs -at- ibm -dot- net
Cleveland, OH

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