Re: Yet another perspective on low wages

Subject: Re: Yet another perspective on low wages
From: John Posada <john -at- TDANDW -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 1998 11:50:59 -0400


I may be out of place in posting this publicly, and the only reason I do so is
that there are a number of rookies on this list and they may take your input as
fact, but... don't know what you are talking about.

You put out all kinds of absolutes with no regard to reality and base these
absolutes on your apparently very limited exposure to this field...and it
doesn't matter what you believe your qualifications are...your observations are
what this is based on.

> >All tech writers make around $100,000 a year. If you are not, than someone
> else is taking your money:
> Technical writing is rife with incompetence. As most companies will tell you,
> hiring a good technical writer is extremely difficult. There are so

Hiring ANY skilled person is very difficult. It's difficult to hire a good
writer, it's difficult to hire a good programmer, it's difficult to hire a good
grocery store shelf stocker. Don't apply the obvious and universal to a
particular field

> many bad ones in comparison to so few good ones. The good ones LEAVE
> technical writing because it is extremely frustrating to work in a position

No, the good ones just leave bad contracts and agencies

> with no respect and no future. I interview a lot of writers and for the most
> part 1 in 10 is skilled, motivated, and talented. Most are lazy, bitter,
> and greedy. Last week I interviewed a woman who had basically no skills and

That's why you interview instead of just call 1-800-goodtech and place your

> The sad fact is, tech writing is a depressed field because employers have a
> bad opinion of tech writers. And for the most part, I don't blame them.
> They have been burned by so many bad writers that they figure - why waste
> money on someone who will sip coffee and complain all day.

> I left day-to-day tech writing to start my own consulting organization. I
> happen to be one of the very few writers that does make $100,000 a year.
> But let me tell you something, I work 15 hours a day almost every day and I

> have very little social life.

Maybe your number of hours isn't the detirmining factor (sorry, couldn't help

> The only way to make $100,000 in tech writing is to either run your own
> company, have enough leads to independently contract year-round, or hook up
> with a small and well-connected consulting operation like mine.

Andrew...I don't run my own company, I don't work 15 hours per day (currently,
I'm doing about 95 hours per two week period), and I don't know SAP.

What I do offer is the basic skills done right. Self motivation, good
interpersonal skills, ability to deal with the geekiest programmer to the
sweetest accounting department worker to the CEO, to the marketing managers.
However, that's not the strength they are paying me for. I'm paid for my
single-minded detirmination to never miss a deadline or committment. Never.

> I guaranty you that if you demand $100,000 from a company (as a full-timer)
> or a contract agency you will get laughed at and shown the door. And I also

As a contractor, I do so all the time and I never get laughed at. I may not
always get hired, but it wasn't because the rate wasn't warranted, it was simply
that they didn't have that kind of money. However, my last four contracts did
have the money, did feel it was warranted, and did pay it.

> guaranty you that if tech writing unionizes, the writers in the union will
> make less, get less, and eventually get nothing.

This is the only fact in your whole message that I happen to agree with.

John Posada
john -at- tdandw -dot- com

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