FW: ANON: Job Dissatisfaction

Subject: FW: ANON: Job Dissatisfaction
From: Lynn Perry <CLPerry -at- WALLDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 13:54:31 -0800

MarilynO wrote: No techwriter on a
>staff is noticed; <snip> In a firm, your reputation will remain internal.
I'd have to disagree with the broadness of this statement. Many of my fellow
techwriters used the stability of their permanent employment to leap into
the conference arena, presenting papers and serving as panel members. I now
see those names as authors of techwriting and help-related books, presenting
their own seminars and training sessions, owning their own companies. On a
different slant, one of the tech writers I know is part of a group recently
recognized with a patent award for creating a help-delivery system for a
product. An internal award, true, but validated by the patent office. I
think that speaks for something. Also, last year, one of our help products
won an award for Excellence at the STC, certainly not internal recognition.

>often his or her contribution is not even acknowledged
>although the team members on the project know what each one
It's true that as a tech writer, my contribution is often overlooked, but I
don't see the degree of overlooked-ness as proportional to
permanent-employee-ness. In some cases, we tech writers are party to the
silence, while in others, we insist on being noticed and acknowledged.
Again, I've not seen the phenomenon related to being freelance or permanent.

>In contrast, freelancers become known and their contributions become known
>because that is the way freelancers get new jobs - by reputation. Your
I agree that freelancers get work because they are known, but my experience
is that the known-ness comes from other tech writers. I spent three years as
a freelance tech writer. All of the jobs I got were referrals from other
tech writers; many were former permanent-employee colleagues. Certainly I
can use advertising to make my reputation, but most of us are (rightfully)
suspicious of advertising without personal recommendation to back it up.

In my opinion, satisfaction is primarily generated from within. What else
can explain the situation of two employees with basically the same job and
working conditions, and one is blissfully content while the other is
ragefully unhappy? Granted, there are terrible work conditions:
belittlement, personal insults and back-stabbing, paranoid accusations, and
so on. I do not want to minimize these. In the main, however, jobs have
difficult times and easier times. If you find yourself discontent in the
easier times, seems like a good opportunity to ask yourself Why?

C. Lynn Perry
clperry -at- walldata -dot- com
Opinions expressed are mine alone
Wall Data Incorporated, Seattle WA
Some days it doesn't pay to gnaw through the straps

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