Re: FWD: Advice for Coping Strategies

Subject: Re: FWD: Advice for Coping Strategies
From: "D. Margulis" <ampersandvirgule -at- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 20:07:51 -0400

> *************************************************
> I love the art of technical writing. But I go absolutely nuts sitting
> in a cubicle and technical writing all day! Can anyone give me any
> advice on how to cope? Does anyone else experience this problem, or are
> most technical writers content with the work style?
> =====================================================================

There have been many excellent, practical replies to this post, but I
have a slightly different take on it.

I was pitched by a recruiter for a high-paying contract job for a local
office of a large, well-known company. I had not lived in the city very
long and did not know much about this particular plant, but they were
committed to Interleaf and needed a strong Interleaf guru, so they were
willing to pay my asking price.

I took the morning off from work, dashed home to change into a suit,
dashed to the interview, and waited in an attractive lobby until someone
came to fetch me. As I was idling in the lobby, I noticed that some of
the company's products were defense-related. This was a bit surprising
to me, as I had always thought of the company as a maker of graphic arts

Anyway, I was finally led through a series of locked doors and down a
quarter-mile drab corridor to an even drabber basement room the size of
a couple of football fields. The room was a sea of small identical
cubicles that looked like they'd been thrown out at least twice before
being recycled here. Looking around the room at ten in the morning, I
saw that not one individual was standing, except for me and the guy who
was about to interview me. There were no phones. I did not hear a
speaking voice anywhere. Each cube had an obsolete computer with a 14'
monitor. Desks were clear. The coffee maker in the corner was turned off
and the pots washed (remember, this is ten o'clock in the morning).

We walked to a conference room for the interview, at which the manager
informed me that I would be writing a technical manual for a component
of a weapons system. I pointed out that my resume showed I had spent
three years full-time as an antiwar activist, and that while I respected
his choice to work on weapons systems, I choose not to. The entire
interview, from the time we sat down, lasted less than three minutes.

My point is this: On the one hand, what were these people thinking when
they called me; on the other hand, what was the anonymous poster
thinking when she accepted a job that offered conditions she does not
tolerate? Sometimes it's best to just say No. Next time, keep your eyes
open about working conditions and people's attitudes when you're there
for the interview.

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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