Working as a contract technical writer like I did earlier in my career can teach a lot of life lessons and illuminate a lot of truths into human nature. I’ve seen a lot working with commercial, Federal, non-profit, and non-governmental organizations.
Here are some of the truths I’ve learned over time:
- People who play music sans headphones in their cubicles invariably are going to play music that gets on your nerves.
- You are going to work with the same people in every place you work in as a contractor or full-time employee. However, they will just have different names, job titles, faces, and sexes.
- Resume inflation is now an art form post dot com bust.
- Executive sponsorship of your projects is always important.
- Leaving a gig because the organization is dysfunctional will only land you in an even more dysfunctional organization.
- Always try to offer the client more value and services than are on your statement of work because it can save you from a layoff (or two).
- Some (ok, just a few) organizations are contractor friendly and appreciate their role in their projects and operations. Unfortunately, too many organizations are in denial over the role of contractors and consultants in their daily operations.
- Multiple income streams are always a good thing.
- Lunch can be a big morale builder and when you are exiled on a client site beset in a land of food by the pound, chain restaurants, or where fries are served with everything your energy and motivation can suffer.
- Same S**t, different corporate logo.
- Federal and commercial client sites are more alike than what you want to believe.
- In need of a culture change is synonymous with dysfunction.
What truths have you learned as a contract technical writer?
Image by Ryan Jenkins via Unsplash