I’ve been out of full-time contracting for almost two years and recently thought back to some of the stranger things I saw during the contract technical writer chapter of my life:
- A fellow contractor was posting nude pictures of his wife on Usenet from his client account. He was busted and walked offsite by armed security guards when a Usenet reader emailed the Webmaster of the client’s domain.
- A client who demanded the word, Please be used to begin every procedure in a user guide.
- Contract agency recruiters who just told so many obvious lies I wondered if their nose grew. There should be a special place in hell for unethical contract agency recruiters.
- A contractor who got sick and went AWOL while on a business trip to NYC. The contracting agency had to evict her from her hotel room. After taking over her hotel room, I could understand how she would want to lay in bed all day in that hotel.
- A contractor who inflated their resume so much it made me see the problems that swept along technical writers and swept along trainers cause for real professionals.
- A contractor who quit via email the Sunday evening before leaving Monday on a trip to Los Angeles. He knew the whole time he was going to stop. While I understand At-Will Employment cuts both ways, there is professionalism and decency.
Once upon a time, contractors could always count on other contractors. I stayed too long at the party. The contracting market I entered was not the same one I left.
What weird things did you see as a contract technical writer?