Re: Cases for telecommuting/working remotely

Subject: Re: Cases for telecommuting/working remotely
From: John Garison <john -at- garisons -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2006 21:44:02 -0400

Interesting thread.

I'm the recent recipient of walking papers from a MegaCorp who ostensibly has been backing telecommuting for a number of decades. I've been telecommuting from my home office on 20 acres of pastoral beauty in idyllic southern Vermont (better than a boat!) for the last year, and if it hadn't been for issues with acquisitions, project delays, and all around "stuff" that's totally beyond my control, I would be looking at a nice future of telecommuting.

However, in the last month or so I've had to hang out my shingle as an independent freelance software technical writer.

I gotta say that it looks like one of the best things that's ever happened to me. Granted, it's only been a few weeks, but I've already established good contacts at virtually all the local software shops (thanks to Google and a few local professional groups). Nothing has come of them yet, but they're there and they know I'm here and I've had some talk with a few folks. I even got the chance to do a presentation for one of the local software developers' groups and made some good contacts.

But I've also landed a great contract for a software company in the Boston area. It's over 2 hours away, but so far I've been down there twice in four weeks. Everything else I've done from home. And get this - they contacted me.

Since day one, I presented myself as a no-doubt-about-it, I'm-working-from-home guy. And they were so impressed by my credentials (!) that they were willing to offer me a gig pretty much sight unseen and let me work from home. On a project that has no specs. On a project that I have to access remotely through a VPN. With a developer, QA person, and product manager who I email, IM, and talk to on the phone as necessary. On a project with a very tight deadline. And within 2 and a half weeks, I turned in a darned decent (if I do say so myself) first draft of a help system that they thought was good enough to send out to a prospective buyer/user.

I have to put in a plug for LinkedIn here. The product manager found me by typing in "technical writer" into his LinkedIn account and my name came up. I then used LinkedIn to find out that I had worked with the VP of HR there, so that pretty much sealed the deal, and when it turned out the permanent tech writer they have on staff is an old colleague, well, the die was cast. If you're not already on, get there. NOW. It's sort of like MySpace for professionals, especially high tech professionals. Send me your email and I'll send you an invitation to join my network (especially if you know me and I know you).

It's great for both of us. I get a great gig that pays well, they get what they want, and it's all working out great. As I told the product manager - I can do everything from home except go lean over someone's cubicle wall, and I can call someone there to do that for me if it comes to it.

So - telecommuting is not just a pipe dream. If you've got some cred, if you've got the nerve to demand it, you just might get a chance to do it!

My 2¢,

John Garison


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RE: Cases for telecommuting/working remotely: From: Jones, Donna

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