Over experience and other dilemmas

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Walt D in Sunnyvale, California

56 months ago

I still haven't been paid as of this date though I kept up polite requests and reminded them that they could not use my work without paying me for it.

In other news (since I haven't whined for two whole weeks), here was a job post on local Craigslist for a technical recruiter. It pretty much says everything one needs to know about who recruits and who gets hired these days in Silicon Valley:

Triune Technologies is expanding their workforce in Human Resources.
Job Requirements:
Entry level / Prior experience for hiring candidates
Excellent communication skills
Quick learner
Should be able to communicate in Hindi

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Michael Aprile in Rogersville, Tennessee

56 months ago

Walt D in Sunnyvale, California said: I still haven't been paid as of this date though I kept up polite requests and reminded them that they could not use my work without paying me for it.

In other news (since I haven't whined for two whole weeks), here was a job post on local Craigslist for a technical recruiter. It pretty much says everything one needs to know about who recruits and who gets hired these days in Silicon Valley:

Triune Technologies is expanding their workforce in Human Resources.
Job Requirements:
Entry level / Prior experience for hiring candidates
Excellent communication skills
Quick learner
Should be able to communicate in Hindi

This world we live in, Walt. The Triune Tech description reveals a bunch, doesn't it. I thought of a new idea, out of desperate creativity which comes from a poor man. I broke down my Tech Writer experience into separate vocations. For example, as a Tech Writer, I had 30 years of editing (good for applying as a Copy Editor); I had 30 years of researching (Researcher); I had 30 years of proofreading (Proofreader). I found there are unique companies for each of these skills. The key, I found, is that we could freelance these skills for less money. Then, the answer is to contact many companies and make a lump sum of these jobs as an income. One has to think creatively, take on the mind of the employer, and determine how to make your offer to work for less sound appetizing to them. For example, "I have been a professional writer for 30 years, but I am now offering my services as a Copy Editor for people who are publishing their books. My rate is $1 per page. Let me know if I can serve you. I am also a professional graphic artist/designer." You can mold this to those skills that you can provide companies. Hope this helps someone.

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Walt D in Sunnyvale, California

53 months ago

Just popping in to report Cisco's crass employment behavior. It's well-known the CEO has a love of outsourcing to India, and they laid off many employees but rehired over there. Now today, a slap in the face to the tech writers they laid off, with their current contract job requirements:
Condensed description:
"enterprise networking client needs several Contract Tech Writers to create network administration documentation for multiple projects. To qualify, you must have worked with Cisco's proprietary documentation tools, including CDETS/DDTS. These projects are expected to last at least three (3) months, and will be paid on a 1099 or corp-to-corp basis (not W2 unless you insist).
Required:
* Familiarity with Cisco's in-house authoring tools, style, and publishing processes"

So what we have here is Cisco having laid off its TWs, now wanting to bring them back as temps, no benefits of course.

I can't begin to tell you how much I loathe the network companies here, Cisco, Juniper, Brocade. Their HR departments are utter b*a*s*t*a*r*d*s, I note from personal experience.

I'm hoping you guys around the country are seeing at least a little action in 2011. Polishing the deck chairs on the Titanic, at least it's work.

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renee alberts in Baltimore, Maryland

47 months ago

SEO services companies have a need for technical writers, to write the article they need to advertise the product or use of the product they are promoting.
www.seoservices.com

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Michael Aprile in Johnson City, Tennessee

47 months ago

renee alberts in Baltimore, Maryland said: SEO services companies have a need for technical writers, to write the article they need to advertise the product or use of the product they are promoting.
www.seoservices.com

Thank you, Renee. We writers appreciate anyone today who has information about companies that are hiring. The hope is that they are also not excluding us older, more experienced people who they have chosen to put out to pasture. If so, they do not know what they are missing.

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Michael Aprile in Johnson City, Tennessee

47 months ago

While I am in here, let me say that I found that publishers who are interested in getting their books out the door in pristine condition, as far as English, grammar, typos, misspellings, and the like, have accepted me as a freelance proofreader/editor. I usually have to format a book, and edit and suggest a better way of saying it as well as letting the publisher know if something doesn't make sense. I find it a bit easier to charge less than the going rate. To get my foot in the door, I tell the $1 per page. Who can beat that. Often many clients that are content with my work can make a meager salary that I am not getting looking for a job at my age. Hope this helps.

Also let me say that I really appreciate all the great people who have contributed to this long-running string in this forum. It has been a real education, as well as a comfort to most of us who have listened. For all I know it has also served as a way for us to politely express what has been bugging us about the struggles as a writer, tech writer, or what. Keep it going, continue to be polite and professional, and let us hear from everyone.

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Allan in Sparks Glencoe, Maryland

47 months ago

Hello Michael and all... Haven't written in awhile. Just wanted to post this up here for anyone who might be interested and is located anywhere near Wisconsin. It is with GE. The recruiter wrote to me through LinkedIn.

On 8/11/11 6:24 PM, Mark Yedor wrote:
--------------------
Hi.

While searching online I came across your resume and feel it is an good match for a Technical Writer, Quality, Regulatory & Medical - Networking role I have open presently. Please review the role at www.gecareers.com the req# is 1@4@1@9@2@6@2. (I added the @ because the site wouldnt let me send it) If you agree and feel this position is a good match for you or anyone you can think of, please apply while on our website, be sure to state I referred you to the role, as this will help expedite the process. Once you have done so please shoot me a quick reply email letting me know you have applied and if you would include a current copy of your resume, desired salary, and confirm that working in Waukesha, WI is an acceptable situation for you, that would be excellent! We are aggressively searching/recruiting for this role and would like to move quickly! I hope to hear from you soon!

Thanks,

Mark Yedor
Kelly OCG for GE Healthcare
Senior Recruiter, Staffing Solutions
Human Resources

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Michael Aprile in Johnson City, Tennessee

47 months ago

Allan in Sparks Glencoe, Maryland said: Hello Michael and all... Haven't written in awhile. Just wanted to post this up here for anyone who might be interested and is located anywhere near Wisconsin. It is with GE. The recruiter wrote to me through LinkedIn.

On 8/11/11 6:24 PM, Mark Yedor wrote:
--------------------
Hi.

While searching online I came across your resume and feel it is an good match for a Technical Writer, Quality, Regulatory & Medical - Networking role I have open presently. Please review the role at www.gecareers.com the req# is 1@4@1@9@2@6@2. (I added the @ because the site wouldnt let me send it) If you agree and feel this position is a good match for you or anyone you can think of, please apply while on our website, be sure to state I referred you to the role, as this will help expedite the process. Once you have done so please shoot me a quick reply email letting me know you have applied and if you would include a current copy of your resume, desired salary, and confirm that working in Waukesha, WI is an acceptable situation for you, that would be excellent! We are aggressively searching/recruiting for this role and would like to move quickly! I hope to hear from you soon!

Thanks,

Mark Yedor
Kelly OCG for GE Healthcare
Senior Recruiter, Staffing Solutions
Human Resources

Thanks for this contribution, Mark. This will probably help some deserving Tech Writer to make the connection with this company. I hope more people will catch on and send good career opportunities via this forum. Michael

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walt dismal in San Francisco, California

47 months ago

Hello guys. To my dismay, I've been noticing more than one company now that only wants someone who is already employed - they actually say it in their ads. I assume they do this because they want to poach employees trained in very current technologies, at other companies' expense. A few conversations with agency recruiters have reinforced my belief. HR at such places, and managers, incredibly will reject applications if the applicant is unemployed though skilled. I had a recruiter decline to represent me for a contract, even though I have current skills, after asking where I was currently employed (she meant salaried) and using the skills. Even though I've had three clients in the last 4 months where I was using the skills. Her perception was that her clients did not want contractors for contract jobs (!); I assume what this really means they wanted to lure skilled employees away to do the contracts. This is insane. What then happens to people who have been newly laid off but have the skills? These companies are shooting themselves in the foot, but I'm seeing more and more very stupid HR practices. It's like low-IQ survivors on the life raft trying to covertly eat their shipmates and hoping no one notices.

We need a sitcom about the jobless, and one making fun of the ignorance and venality of HR departments.

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Michael Aprile in Johnson City, Tennessee

47 months ago

walt dismal in San Francisco, California said: Hello guys. To my dismay, I've been noticing more than one company now that only wants someone who is already employed - they actually say it in their ads. I assume they do this because they want to poach employees trained in very current technologies, at other companies' expense. A few conversations with agency recruiters have reinforced my belief. HR at such places, and managers, incredibly will reject applications if the applicant is unemployed though skilled. I had a recruiter decline to represent me for a contract, even though I have current skills, after asking where I was currently employed (she meant salaried) and using the skills. Even though I've had three clients in the last 4 months where I was using the skills. Her perception was that her clients did not want contractors for contract jobs (!); I assume what this really means they wanted to lure skilled employees away to do the contracts. This is insane. What then happens to people who have been newly laid off but have the skills? These companies are shooting themselves in the foot, but I'm seeing more and more very stupid HR practices. It's like low-IQ survivors on the life raft trying to covertly eat their shipmates and hoping no one notices.

We need a sitcom about the jobless, and one making fun of the ignorance and venality of HR departments.

Hey Walt...Good report. Even though I am not currently employed, I believe I am qualified as one of the actors in that sitcom -- except I won't need to act.

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QuestionAuthority in Frederick, Maryland

47 months ago

Hi Walt,

it's not just technical writers. Many companies are doing that, to the point where it's become a political issue. There are petitions on websites like Change.org to see that kind of discrimination banned by law. Good luck with that. Even if they win, how would anyone go about proving that they weren't hired by a company because they were unemployed?

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Michael Aprile in Johnson City, Tennessee

47 months ago

QuestionAuthority in Frederick, Maryland said: Hi Walt,

it's not just technical writers. Many companies are doing that, to the point where it's become a political issue. There are petitions on websites like Change.org to see that kind of discrimination banned by law. Good luck with that. Even if they win, how would anyone go about proving that they weren't hired by a company because they were unemployed?

Walt...In the case where I was thinking how law makers could determine that someone was not hired because they were over 55, I realized that companies could required to report the names, ages and soc. sec. numbers of those they hired, each quarter with there tax filing. From this they could see that no one 55 or over was hired at a company and that they hired illegal aliens. Generally it is the use of statistics to prove white-collar crime that is breaking federal discrimination laws. This approach could also be adapted to the unemployed somehow, I'm certain. The real problem is to get our law makers to give a flip about it.

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walt dismal in San Francisco, California

47 months ago

Michael, it is indeed a very good idea that some legislators get behind all the unemployed being shafted by discriminatory practices, and do something to even the balance. When I am, all the key legislators (Nancy Pelosi, Anna Eshoo) are either millionaires or bought and paid for by the corporations (Anna is owned by HP, Intel, and Cisco, so there will be no help from her; Pelosi, hahahaha I'm not even getting started there. I've seen her mansion in SF). But I hope that people in other states have more honest representatives and can get action. We need so much change and a complete cleanout of the stable. We need a People's Party by and for the people. I'd donate my time as a writer to create material for one, as my part.

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Norman

44 months ago

Michael Aprile in Elizabethton, Tennessee said: Just wanted to say thank you, technical writer in Carrollton, Texas. I heartily agree with all said, and truly believe it was very valuable advice. I can tell that you have been around and appreciate you.

Without meaning to sound proud, or like a know it all (I do not), I have done all the things that you advised--already. One point, though, is that cutting back to ten years on my resume, in my slim opinion, does not negate that my BA in English was earned in 1977 along with other normal resume items that give away my age. I don't think I am fooling anyone. And, who wants to show up at an interview knowing the truth will find them out? I think that we very experienced Senior Technical Writers are simply stigmatized by a hiring force that has no appreciation for what we have to offer. They have taken control of the job market and don't believe that we matter at all. Their advice, if it weren't politically and legally incorrect, would be for us to just go play golf the rest of our life and leave these jobs we're applying for to the young and the restless. There has to be a better way and I believe somewhere up in the corner of our collective creative mind we can discover it.

All true, but let me add that there is a distinct and pervasive tendency by company managers to hire Human Resource Managers who know absolutely nothing about anything technical, are horrified at being asked what they know about the skills they are hiring people to perform and actually DO NOT even read more than a few words of any resume. Sounds crazy? Ask around. Many of these people are women hired because they work for less, ask no questions that could inconvenience a manager, and also substitute the "touchy, feel good" questions as a substitute for hard info on job abilities so they can get you onto ground they can manipulate asking if you are considered a "team player, get along with people, etc. They're often incompetent.

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Michael Aprile in Elizabethton, Tennessee

44 months ago

Norman said: All true, but let me add that there is a distinct and pervasive tendency by company managers to hire Human Resource Managers who know absolutely nothing about anything technical, are horrified at being asked what they know about the skills they are hiring people to perform and actually DO NOT even read more than a few words of any resume. Sounds crazy? Ask around. Many of these people are women hired because they work for less, ask no questions that could inconvenience a manager, and also substitute the "touchy, feel good" questions as a substitute for hard info on job abilities so they can get you onto ground they can manipulate asking if you are considered a "team player, get along with people, etc. They're often incompetent.

Norman...I am in agreement with all that. Thanks for your comments on the matter. Befuddling, isn't it? I always try to leave with the point that it is a federal crime to deny applicants for their age. I wish someone could catch them at it.

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Walt D in Sunnyvale, California

44 months ago

Michael Aprile in Elizabethton, Tennessee said: Norman...I am in agreement with all that. Thanks for your comments on the matter. Befuddling, isn't it? I always try to leave with the point that it is a federal crime to deny applicants for their age. I wish someone could catch them at it.

All this year I've watched as Marvell Semiconductor posted tech writer salaried job ads for writers with experience dealing with complex semiconductors and their documents, requiring 'Excellent writing skills, with up to 1 year experience in the field'. That is, they do not respond if you have more experience than that, which I consider to be age discriminatory. They would not respond or even talk to me on three tries (applications) over the last year. However, no action by EEOC bureaucracy on this despite complaints. So much for federal crime. Also, I discovered to my horror that federal laws about discrimination DO NOT APPLY if a job is a contract. An employer has complete freedom to reject as they desire for these positions.

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Michael Aprile in Elizabethton, Tennessee

44 months ago

Walt D in Sunnyvale, California said: All this year I've watched as Marvell Semiconductor posted tech writer salaried job ads for writers with experience dealing with complex semiconductors and their documents, requiring 'Excellent writing skills, with up to 1 year experience in the field'. That is, they do not respond if you have more experience than that, which I consider to be age discriminatory. They would not respond or even talk to me on three tries (applications) over the last year. However, no action by EEOC bureaucracy on this despite complaints. So much for federal crime. Also, I discovered to my horror that federal laws about discrimination DO NOT APPLY if a job is a contract. An employer has complete freedom to reject as they desire for these positions.

Pretty sad, Walt. I don't usually apply for contract and get the same lack of result.

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Michael Aprile in Kingsport, Tennessee

39 months ago

Walt D in Sunnyvale, California said: Well, a little light amusement. I've gotten so tired of never getting responses to resumes I submitted online as requested by job posters who never list a human name at an agency. My cover letters, which point out specific expertise relevant to the job so as to help the recrutier sell me, never get a response. So last week I bit the bullet and ran a test. I put a note in my cover letter to a particularly notoriously unresponsive agency, offering the recruiter who read it $50 cash for just calling me.

- I did not get any response -

Suspicions confirmed. They don't even read the *&() things sometimes.

Walt...you have by far been one of the most informed posters to this forum. It was you that brought our attention to the H1B dilemma. Now our readers can benefit from a most informative article on this subject and travesty. The article must be read by all at www.eagleforum.org/column/2012/mar12/12-03-21.html This article tells the whole story very well and should make people stand up and say enough.

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Walt D in Oakland, California

39 months ago

Just checking in.

I'm now accumulate enough observations from interviews to note something. Nearly all tech pubs managers I've interviewed with in the last three years had a common characteristic: they very likely fear for their job security and so they screen out possible competition, and they have ALL been very company-political. My background is such that I'm pretty strong (run several TP depts) and I suspect that when HR puts me in as a candidate, managers have to go along but don't want it to go anywhere. One woman told me 10 or 12 times in the interview how close she was to the CEO (veiled hint not to try to upstage or displace her). Another one lied to me right from the start ("I haven't had time to read your resume"), meanwhile the printed copy in front of her had numerous markings. Another one opened with "I don't know how you could come up to speed quickly enough to do well, all your projects are only 3 to 5 months." (Except they aren't. I thought that one was veiled ageism). And so on from too many others.

I conclude that in these tough times, don't scare corporate politicians.

My personal alternative revenue plan has been writing a couple of books and now preparing to take them to market. A shift - use my skills for myself and not try to break back into industry, that's a tough fight for anyone over 50 now.

I hope all you guys and gals stay encouraged and go out there and experiment with alternatives.

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Walt D in Sunnyvale, California

39 months ago

Arrggh. Typos - not senile! Haste makes waste. :)

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Michael Aprile in Jonesborough, Tennessee

39 months ago

Walt D in Oakland, California said: Just checking in.

I'm now accumulate enough observations from interviews to note something. Nearly all tech pubs managers I've interviewed with in the last three years had a common characteristic: they very likely fear for their job security and so they screen out possible competition, and they have ALL been very company-political. My background is such that I'm pretty strong (run several TP depts) and I suspect that when HR puts me in as a candidate, managers have to go along but don't want it to go anywhere. One woman told me 10 or 12 times in the interview how close she was to the CEO (veiled hint not to try to upstage or displace her). Another one lied to me right from the start ("I haven't had time to read your resume"), meanwhile the printed copy in front of her had numerous markings. Another one opened with "I don't know how you could come up to speed quickly enough to do well, all your projects are only 3 to 5 months." (Except they aren't. I thought that one was veiled ageism). And so on from too many others.

I conclude that in these tough times, don't scare corporate politicians.

My personal alternative revenue plan has been writing a couple of books and now preparing to take them to market. A shift - use my skills for myself and not try to break back into industry, that's a tough fight for anyone over 50 now.

I hope all you guys and gals stay encouraged and go out there and experiment with alternatives.

You are so right about that, as usual, Walt. I have a book in the works (my second)and I have started a freelance proofreader/editor service that brings in some extra money. Be creative with what you have. The industry has little to offer the real professionals.

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