RE: Contracting

Subject: RE: Contracting
From: "Jones, Donna" <DJones -at- zebra -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 14:57:40 -0600

After seeing Paul Hanson's reply and having e-mailed Dick off-list (not to
mention laughing my fool head off at Lynne wanting to paint the attic RED),
I think I'll add my perspective on mundane tasks.

After one of my tech writing contracts died down several years ago, I spent
three weeks going from computer to computer installing a piece of database
software that some people at this company would need to do their budget
requests. This was back in the days when software still came on multiple
floppies, so I spent an hour or more at each computer reading books and
occasionally switching disks. By chatting with the people who were working
on changing the budgeting process, I turned this menial task into the
opportunity to document and train users on their new budget requesting
process. I turned the three-week boring contract into an interesting one
that lasted four months, plus I got to travel (all expenses paid) to Dallas
and San Francisco to do the training. You never know when a mundane task
will lead to something better.

As long as a company didn't expect me to take a pay cut to do the frivolous
tasks or do anything illegal/immoral, I'd be happy to wash windows, clean
the kitchen, run their clothes to the dry cleaner... I think it would be fun
and a nice break from the usual tasks. That isn't to say that I wouldn't
keep my options open to line up my next tech writing contract (if I were
still contracting, that is), but why not take on the other tasks in the
meantime? I kept myself out of the unemployment line more than once this

Donna L. Jones
Technical Writer II
Zebra Technologies Corp.
Vernon Hills, IL

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