Re: Agencies and Documentation Services

Subject: Re: Agencies and Documentation Services
From: John Posada <john -at- TDANDW -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 14:48:49 -0500

Hi, Eric. I'll describe my ideal agency by describing my current agency.

I'm a contractor working as a W-2 to the agency (Mendem Concord) and I
work at a cleint's site (Bellcore)

- Every Friday afternoon, I fill out a time sheet for the client

- Bellcore signs it

- I call an 888 number by phone to the agency telling them the number of
regular and the number of OT hours (no faxing, mailing, or additional

- Every two weeks and 3 days after the end of the second week, I get the
two weeks net pay deposited in my checking account.

** Point - minimal procedure for calling in hours and I get payed
3 days after the end of the week without a week lagging behind the pay.

The company is rather small and is run by two people who are technical
writers. This is my second gig with them.

** Point - being tech writers themselves, they know the issues
most important to me.

They are hands off, unless I need to discuss something with them, and
then I either call toll-free or one of their homes after hours.

** Point - I can address problems immediatly with the "decision
makers" without worrying about going through channels.

They offer a matching 401(k) and they recently instituted medical
insurance which while I pay for it, is done with pre-tax dollars, so in
effect, I end up paying about 60% of the cost based on post-tax dollars.

** Point - uhhmmm...I think that speaks for itself.

I believe they are on MY side. Example...when I made the inital contact
with them several years ago, I asked for a starting figure on my cover
letter. Their first comment to me was "We have a position for you, but
it pays substantialy more than you've asked that a problem?"
(Which, BTW, turned out to be between 2X and 3X more than what I asked)
THEN, after we settled on a rate, and I was accepted for the position,
the agreement letter had a rate a dollar higher than the verbal rate.
When asked, the response was "We were able to get a little better rate
than we expected, so we passed on your share." Oh, did I mention about
my getting a 11% raise about 13 months into the 2 year contract?

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot...whenever we need to get togther to discuss
anything, they always buy the pizza and beer.

I've now worked for 5-6 agencies and as the ex-employment manager for an
STC chapter, been exposed to MANY others, and they are head and
shoulders above any others I've dealt with...

> For tech writers who have any experience with
> agencies (working through them, opting not to
> work through them, or whatever):
> What's your ideal agency like? Active or hands-off?
> Tech communication specialists or generalists?
> Anyone who places you quickly? Do you care if
> you're an agency employee or a contractor to the
> agency? Can you describe your ideal agency
> (and if so, does it have a real name and address,
> or is it mythical)?

John Posada, Technical Writer
Bellcore, where Customer Satisfaction is our number one priority
mailto:john -at- tdandw -dot- com mailto:jposada -at- notes -dot- cc -dot- bellcore -dot- com
phone(w) 732-699-3077 phone(h) 732-2910-7811
alpha-pager: 800-864-8444 pin 1857522
email pager: mailto:1857522 -at- pagemart -dot- net
My opinions are mine, and neither you nor my company can take credit for
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish,
and he will sit in a boat and smoke cigars all day."

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

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