Re: Internal transfer

Subject: Re: Internal transfer
From: "Jane" <judydh -at- total -dot- net>
To: <NZjaba -at- phi -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2000 11:25:51 -0400

Well, it may be good for both of you, as some listers mentioned, but that's
NOT to say that something sinister is going on when there very well could
be. And if there is, it's not the Marketing Guy's fault.

I was contracting for some marketing writing, and I was charging almost
twice the rate that tech writers make. I had to ask a more experienced
writer why, and these were the reasons I wrote down from that conversation:

1) must understand product
2) must understand market
3) the writing must be more precise, so that it adds (and not detract) to
symphony of voices of advertising and marketing. The goal is to generate
4) it takes lots of experience in the above to distill product/market/angle
down into 200 words, and they gotta be *perfect*
5) there ARE fewer hours to go into a piece of unless they're
producing marketing materials up the wazzo, you aren't going to be writing
nearly as much as you are as a tech writer
6) That said, deadlines can be killers
7) Lastly, the web is more forgiving a medium for copy, and therefore
_should_ be written a little differently than for print. Still has to be
perfect, and can be more of a nightmare to get it up in style. Almost
irrelevant to the rate question but I had this number in the original list
and thought you'd still benefit to know it.

And hoo boy, you're going to have some doozies over the wording. The
Marketing Guy will probably try to get you to write a snake-oil pitch every
article you put out, and you'll have to keep him happy while redefining why
you're the writer and not him. Just like tech writing, only a little bit
more leisure suit, if you catch my drift.

A technical writer knows the company's product cold. A technical writer
should have a fairly good idea who the audience is. If the technical writer
has industry experience from another company doing the same thing, or
special education in that field, they'll be even more valuable.

To get you for half-time at the same pay rate is a bum deal. So, suffer with
the feeling of being a little underesteemed, even disparaged, but DO
negotiate for higher pay or perks. If they won't give it to you, ask
yourself if you want to stay tech writing for this company. Personally,
having been in a similar situation, I would not recommend it. I had felt
that I wasn't quite the tech writer a certain company needed, that though I
had a lot of good qualities, they needed someone else. I thought I would be
perfect for doing their marketing writing as they desperately needed someone
doing ANY marketing work at all, and I had the ability and willingness to do
all of the above. I would have humbly taken the same amount I was earning in
Cdn down to California on par in US currency, even though that would have
put me at starvation level and probably half the market rate, simply because
I knew they would hate the idea of paying me one red cent more than I was
getting, but the arrangement would save them money so they had nothing to
lose. It turned out I had support in the California office, but the local
officers didn't even put it on the table. They probably saw it as a golden
ring for me, rather than a job that needed doing and a suitable person to do

I learned that you can never transfer out of a bad situation, or even just a
good- faith-bad-fit. Unless you're in a union, or you're suing somebody. In
Corporate North America, you can never bite off more than you can chew. If
you do, you won't be the one spitting. This isn't to say that you are,
Nancy, but it is to say that someone is afraid you might be, which is just
as bad (it's like failing without even trying!). I hope that your higher-ups
don't nix the idea and that you do get a chance to prove it, and I hope you
get a higher rate or new benefits to make up for it (like education and
conferences). Good luck.


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