My kids often come home with assignments to compare and contrast two things. I thought it would be an interesting and helpful exercise to apply to the two available environments in the writing field, especially since I have been a part of each environment (twelve years as a technical writer, four years operating my own business).
The two work environments that I’ve identified for writers are work-at-home (WAHM) and corporate America.
In both environments:
- You must have good writing skills.
- You are likely to get challenging assignments.
- You will be faced with (often tight) deadlines.
- Most writing is done using a computer so keyboard skills are important.
- You may have to face managers (clients) whose requirements are unclear.
- You may have the same job title.
- Pay. In corporate America you will likely receive a regular paycheck and include benefits (medical insurance, vacation, sick days, etc.). As a WAHM your pay may be sporadic. You must purchase, or otherwise provide for, your own benefits.
- Assignments. In corporate America your manager brings your work assignments to you, usually before you complete your current work assignment. As a WAHM you must find your own work assignments. Depending on how effective you are at finding work assignments there may be gaps between projects.
- Assignments, part 2. In corporate America you can’t turn an assignment down. As a WAHM, you can.
- Equipment and tools. In corporate America your equipment (computer, software) are provided by the company. As a WAHM you must purchase and maintain your own equipment.
- Education. In corporate America you are often provided with company paid continuing education. As a WAHM you are responsible for keeping current in your field.
- Hours. In corporate America you must be available during the company’s core hours (usually business hours Monday through Friday). As a WAHM you can work whenever it’s most convenient for you.
- Hours, part 2. In corporate America you are expected to put in unpaid overtime if you are salaried. As a WAHM you are expected to work until the project is done. If you find yourself working unpaid overtime it means you didn’t bid the project correctly.
- Hours, part 3. In corporate America you must ask before taking time off (often with pay). As a WAHM you can take time off whenever you like (without pay).
- Colleagues. In corporate America your colleagues are in the next cubicle. You can go to lunch with them. As a WAHM your colleagues are online. Lunch is probably beside the keyboard.
- Intellectual property. In corporate America intellectual property almost always belongs to the corporation. As a WAHM intellectual property depends on your contract.
What about you? Do you have any compare and contrast experiences to add? I’d love your feedback.
Contents (c) Copyright 2007, Laura Spencer. All rights reserved.