Re: "On the bench" explained

Subject: Re: "On the bench" explained
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 11:22:50 -0800

I knew what the term meant, but I'm just incredibly envious. I've known
agencies to keep programmers and engineers on the bench (or on the beach, as
we used to say) but never writers. Oh, ok, once. After my first contract
ended, the agency gave me some typing around the office at some ridiculous
wage, but a couple of weeks later still had nothing for me. (They didn't
like handling writers. They said, and this is a direct quote: "We don't want
that kind of business." As if tech writers were pornographers, or
something!) And they cut me loose.

For me, when a contract is over, there are regrets and good wishes all
around, and they do look, but that's it. Even the one who found me the
inCREDible "long term" contract at a fabulous rate--which evaporated when 2
weeks later the client changed their mind! Wham. I was on the street, as
opposed to the beach, for a month before a totally different agency--one I'd
never done business with before, in fact--placed me in my the current

Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I go with the agency that finds me the
work. Period.

in sunny but chilly So. California
secaram -at- mainsaver -dot- com

Compendium of Common Knowledge (downloadable version available!)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Herme [SMTP:hermet -at- DNINEVADA -dot- COM]
> Sent: Friday, March 12, 1999 11:08 AM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: "On the bench" explained
> A number of list subscribers wanted me to summarize the
> responses I received off list to my query for a definition
> of the expression "on the bench." The consensus is that this
> expression is used to describe employees of technical
> communication agencies who are not currently on an
> assignment for which the agency can bill their time. In
> order to keep a "stable" of tech. writers available to work
> for clients of the agency on a moment's notice, the agency
> continues to pay the writer for staying on the bench. In
> other words, it's like being on the bench of a basketball
> team when they're playing a game. You're ready to go into
> the game when called upon. With the unfortunate situation
> that my beloved Minnesota Gopher men's basketball team found
> itself this week during its game in the NCAA tournament, it
> didn't have enough players on the bench to get the job done.
> Oh well....
> Anyway, it seems that these writers on the bench may perform
> other duties for the agency, take advantage of the downtime
> to learn new skills, or go home and sleep. I kid you not.
> These were some of the responses I got. Of course this all
> varies from agency to agency. Since I will likely find
> myself working through agencies upon my return to Minnesota
> in a couple of weeks, I wanted to know what this "bench"
> expression meant. Now I know. And hopefully all of you who
> were in the dark now know as well.
> Regards from sunny Northern least until March
> 26.

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

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