I’m a technical writer subcontracting for a contract team working on the end client’s sales tracking system, writing and revising the user guides and training material. It’s a solid year of mission creep, changed parameters, and management (both end client and contract company) giving endlessly contradictory reviews when they weren’t on vacation.
Finally, the documentation is done, and I’m promptly let go because “things are tight.” Six months later, out of the blue:
Contractor Manager: “The client wants massive new changes to the manual, and they won’t pay for the work done until this is complete. Can you come back and make their revisions so we can get paid?”
Me: “Sure. Is the rate the same?”
Contractor Manager: “Well, we don’t have any budget to pay you, but we really need this done.”
Me: “Unfortunately, I have two job interviews every day this week, because I need a job that actually pays the bills.”
Contractor Manager: “We really need you to get this done.”
After refusing to work for free, I kept getting calls from higher and higher in the contractor management, TELLING me that I needed to come back so they could get paid. A month after this stopped, I started getting calls from the guy they got to do this work for free, begging me to teach him how to use Adobe FrameMaker so he could get this done.