Degrees of employment

Subject: Degrees of employment
From: Robert Maxey <Bob_Maxey -at- MTN -dot- 3COM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 15:51:01 -0600

Here is a question (I will eventually get around to asking it) for anyone
who wants to answer it. I know 5 writers who do various jobs related to
writing. I know an Indexer, a Freelance Editor, two Technical Writers and a
fellow who has published more than ten books. None of these people have
degrees in writing and they have walked into their various writing jobs
through a variety of back doors. The person who writes the books decided to
write because he had a perception that writing is simple and might be the
perfect way for a lazy man to make a quick buck.

I recently saw a list of writers who are very famous, highly paid and have
sold millions of books. Those on this particular list did not have degrees.
If a Dean Koonze or Stephen King changed editors, agents or publishers, he
would most likely be accepted regardless of how much training he has had as
a writer. Granted, he has a proven ability to write best sellers.

I would never be hired by my company to do the job I do now, because I do
not have a degree. I write documents used to set up expensive production
lines, I write for the Corporate Internet and Intranet, I do page layout,
editing of other peoples writing, etc. No writing degree, no art degree, no
nothing special about me.

How many believe that a degree is the most important thing to possess when
being hired for a writing assignment? Either a permanent or freelance
position. How many good freelance writers out there are ever asked about
their training and/or degrees? Do any of you think that a good writer
should be considered for a permanent position only if he/she has a degree?

A friend of mine writes articles for several editors who rely upon her to
provide consistent quality month to month. She has bee with one of these
publications for several years. In effect, she is doing the work that any
other staff member would do, but she can not get hired full time because
she does not have a degree. To me, this is a rather odd point of view.

We hire people to fill positions in the company that are really not as
qualified as I believe they should be, but they have degrees. One person
has a degree that is completely unrelated to the job he is to do, and the
person most believe should have had the job, can't apply for it because he
does not have any professional training. So the person who will never be
hired is training the "qualified" person. I pointed out that it was very
odd that the person that is doing the training is, in the eye of the
corporation, unqualified to do the actual job.

Sorry for the long post.


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