Help Meryl find a job

Update December 2006: Yes, I am still looking for permanent work. I’ve seen two jobs disappear out from under me at Large Company in Richmond, and my contract is up the end of the month. And I’m really tired of updating this post.

Update August 2006: I’ve finished a contracting tech writing position, and am still looking for permanent work.

The job that I’ve been temping in these past two months will not be going to me. I found out this week that the company is filling the position with someone who will work for far less money than I. That’s their decision, and though I think it’s not the best decision to make, I have no say in the matter. (Update: It isn’t going to anyone just yet.)

But I really need a job. I can’t afford to be unemployed. At all.

Here’s what I need you all to do for me, especially Richmond-area readers. Pass along this post, or link to it, or email the link to a friend ( (For bloggers, the trackback to this link is ). You can right-click and copy the link in most browsers. It worked for Scott. Maybe it’ll work for me.

To prospective employers:

I have spent the last year in web content management and technical writing (training documents, white papers, and programming guides). Clips are available on request.

I have an extensive background in publishing, both print and electronic. I have years of experience as a typesetter (Atex, AM Varityper) , a desktop publisher (Quark and Pagemaker), a web developer (HTML, Claris Homepage and Dreamweaver), and now I have experience on Vignette Portal and a proprietary content management system. I have experience with many of the major blogging tools (Moveable Type, WordPress, Blogger) and have been writing this weblog (until this year, in Dreamweaver) since April of 2001.

I also have experience editing, proofreading, and copy editing in the magazine and book industries. I am a superb proofreader and copy editor; you will have to look long and hard to find typos in my posts. I have written various pieces for company newsletters and intranets. I am a very fast writer–I once stunned a PR manager by giving her a 200-word story in 30 minutes after she gave me three articles about one of our corporate officers to condense and rewrite. (“You’re finished already?”) The article went into the newsletter without a single edit. Although I prefer the essay form (that’s why I blog), I have written dozens of news, sports, and feature articles if we count my college newspaper–which I also edited. I have done tech writing, including the sysops’ manual and help files for 2AM-BBS, a proprietary software system.

I was an entry-level programmer. My programming skills are rusty, but I never forget the basics of what I am taught. The following are skills that I am light in, but that can be brought up to speed if need be: C++, SQL, Java, JavaScript, ASP, VB, DB2, Oracle, and Access. I’m not really looking for a programming position, but I do have more than a passing grasp of what programming entails. I have a much deeper knowledge of HTML and CSS, and a smattering of XML.

There is a saying that someone’s knowledge of a subject is a mile wide and an inch deep. My knowledge of many subjects is a mile wide and a foot deep. In some places, it is several feet deep.

In most interviews, your candidate tells you that she is a quick study. It’s a cliché. Well, it’s not a cliché with me. I taught myself Adobe Pagemaker in three days for a job interview with the New Yorker. (The job went to a relative of the production manager; go figure.) I took the Microsoft Office skills tests when I registered with Kelly Services last year, and managed to pull out decent scores even on the programs I hadn’t used in five years. I have shaken the rust off my Powerpoint and Outlook capabilities since working for my current temporary assignment.

I built and maintained intranet sites for Lucent. I manage intranet content for my current employer, as well as deliver new HTML/CSS pages for the intranet. I am not an official proofreader, but I do bring discrepancies, bad grammar, and errors to the managers’ attention. I create graphics and adjust images for the intranet articles. In short, anything that needs doing, I will do.

I am a teacher and a trainer. I teach fourth-grade religious school, and I have trained people in the Atex typesetting system—a painstaking, three-month process—and can sit down with a 73-year-old woman and teach her how to download her mail from AOL.

As I said above, my salary requirement and departmental budget constraints are what’s keeping my current company from hiring me. I can supply references from current and past managers, including my manager from Lucent, with whom I still keep in touch six years after being laid off (in the first wave of Lucent cutbacks).

I don’t want to relocate. I like the Richmond area. If you have a job for me outside my area, telecommuting would be a great thing, but I am also open to traveling onsite on a regular basis.

In any case, I am a devoted, loyal, hard-working employee. If you think you have a position that I can fill, or know someone who might, my email address is meryl – at – yourish -dot – com.

I need a job. Do you need an employee?

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27 Responses to Help Meryl find a job

  1. Joel says:

    Not that this will do you any good but if you were in the New York area I am confident I could get you a job in my company as I perform a lot of the things that you say you are accomplished at. We have a huge proofreading, copy editing, department.

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  3. russ says:

    You don’t list it as an option, but your skill set makes you sound as though you should consider tech writing. The number of people who can write clearly and actually understand what techies are saying and can translate it into English is too small. Unfortunately, I don’t currently need a tech writer (alright, I can always use one but cannot pay one right now, which is much the same as you are concerned). Have you looked for this kind of work in your area?

  4. segacs says:

    If I could, I would hire you in a second. Sadly, I live nowhere near you, and you probably earn more than I do… but the notion of you being unemployed just seems wrong somehow. Like the universe is out of kilter. If companies in your area know what’s good for them, they’ll be fighting over you.

  5. Good point. I forgot about my tech writing background. I’ve updated the post. Thanks, Russ.

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  7. DBL says:

    Good luck Meryl. I’m just writing to say how impressed I am that you know Atex. Is Atex still in use? I thought, for no good reason, that desktop publishing software had replaced it, but hell, how would I know?

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  9. MrFred says:

    are you willing to commute to DC?

  10. DC is a helluva commute, MrFred. I don’t supposed you’re talking about, say, a three-day work week. That I’d be willing to do.

  11. SMASH says:

    Quantico? Norfolk?

    Check your email.

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  13. Patti says:

    ew, sorry about the code spam…. my template is still in beta.

  14. drlivipr says:

    Rude to say…have you thought about Public Affairs? has a couple of PA jobs posted this week. Your skill set would be very handy (and it’s not like you can’t write).

  15. Public affairs? But I’m not a politician–oh, those affairs!

    I’ll go look. Thanks.

    Patti, don’t sweat the code. At least I can read it. Been brushing up on my javascript lately.

  16. Maggie says:

    Well, I’m no help, Meryl, being out here in Cochise County, Az one of the poorest places in the country, but I’m sending very good thoughts your way. I’ve been in your postition and have found that everything always works out.

  17. chsw says:

    I think that you gave drlivipr’s suggestion short shrift. You would make an excellent legislative assistant in Richmond from both your writing background as well as the good head on your shoulders. Perhaps you can get by for a time freelance writing for local papers until something you like comes along. Good luck.

    chsw in ny

  18. All of them are in the DC area. If I could find one around Fort Lee or a base closer to Richmond, I’d be interested. But I don’t want to move to northern VA. I may as well just move back to NJ if I do that.

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  23. I think you need to post “Help Meryl find a job, or this kittycat starves.”

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  25. Ezzie says:

    I’m kind of late to the party, but just an idea…

    A very skilled computer tech we know in Baltimore was in a similar position as you seem to be from 9/11 until about a year ago. He ended up opening his own niche business, I believe servicing small businesses and the like – perhaps you should think along those types of lines: Figuring out a way to contract out your obviously excellent skills at market (or above-market) value. If you’d like, you can e-mail me (email address is on top of my blog, within the header), and I could try and put you in touch with him – he can explain it better.

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