Re: FWD: Advice on contract vs. captive

Subject: Re: FWD: Advice on contract vs. captive
From: Lenore Weiss <Lenore_Weiss -at- WINK -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 1998 12:35:10 -0700

Go for the right job, one that will challenge you and that give you the
opportunity to learn from other people.

Mark Dempsey <mxd2 -at- OSI -dot- COM> on 09/04/98 12:23:21 PM

Please respond to Mark Dempsey <mxd2 -at- OSI -dot- COM>

cc: (bcc: Lenore Weiss)
Subject: Re: FWD: Advice on contract vs. captive

I heard recently that the average length of contract employment for tech
writers is 21 months. The same survey said the average length of
employment, OTOH, is 22 months. This may be a statistical artifact, or
one of those "urban legends" in the tech writing realm, but there's an
of truth in it even if it's just a legend. The moral: Look for a job at

Your BATNA (Best Alertnative to Negotiated Agreement) as the determiner of
power in any negotiation (with old or new employers). The most concrete
expressions of BATNA are (1) Savings (at least six month's living expenses
worth is the standard recommendation), and (2) Alternative employers. You
use your savings and your networking now as ways to empower yourself
you land.

Best of luck,

Eric J. Ray wrote:

> Name withheld upon request. Please reply on list.
> *************************************************
> I'm considering working for a contract agency. I'd be the full-time
> employee, full benefits, etc. for the agency, then they would send
> me out on assignments. The agency has an excellent reputation
> and is very solid (I've checked all this out and it's not the question).
> I've always worked as a permanent "captive" employee and have
> been pretty satisfied until recently. I've worked at my present job for
> almost five years. In addition to severe (and probably ongoing)
> management problems at my company, I think I'm ready to try
> some variety. I want to gain new skills and experience in different
> working environments.
> I would like to hear from others who have had similar
> situations....writers who have gone from permanent to contract.
> What were the big "uh-ohs" that you discovered AFTER the fact?
> What were the serendipitious pluses you discovered as a
> contractor? What kinds of things should I know about working this
> way? Any advice, comments, etc. would be appreciated. Most
> specifically, how did you handle "bad assignments" (either long
> commutes or lousy companies)? Any agency "gotchas" to watch
> out for?
> Thanks for any comments. I'm sure there are others on the list who
> may be interested.
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--Mark Dempsey
--Technical Publications
--Objective Systems Integrators
--100 Blue Ravine Rd. Folsom, CA 95630
--916.353.2400 extension 4777

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