Month: February 2019

The downside of works-for-hire, NDAs and dead links

Business

The downside of works-for-hire, NDAs and dead links

I’m applying for jobs again, which brings me once again to the Hell that is “provide links to your work.”

There are three reasons that’s not a simple request, and I dread this question:

  1. I’ve written literally thousands of pieces of content as works-for-hire. This means that I do not retain rights to those works. In many cases, they are posted under someone else’s name. They may contain proprietary information. My best pieces have been written as works-for-hire, which means I cannot share those pieces with potential employers/clients. It’s a bummer.
  2. NDAs. In the corporate world, NDAs are common. I’ve spent years of my life writing for clients with literally nothing to show for my effort, because those works have been protected by NDAs. When I apply with corporate clients, or clients who want to see my business or technical writing content, I simply can’t show samples because that content is restricted under NDAs.
  3. Contrary to popular belief, the web is not forever. From 2007 to 2016 or so, I maintained a freelance writing website with portfolio links to articles I had written. It was awesome, because I could simply link clients to relevant content when interviewing. But businesses went out of business; people changed web hosts and URLs, and much of that portfolio turned into broken links. So I took it down, because curating and maintaining a working list became a major time sink.

So now, when I fill out forms asking for links to my prior work, I basically end up saying ad infinitum “I can’t provide working links, but I can send you some PDFs.” Or “I can’t provide samples because of NDAs and works-for-hire, but trust me, I’ve written a ton in that industry and it was really good stuff.”

If you’re thinking about hiring me, but you need to see a specific type of sample, chances are good that I’ve got a PDF somewhere I can share. Please let me know what you want to see, and I’ll find a relevant sample and send it over.

And if you absolutely have to see corporate samples that I’ve written under an NDA… I can redact something heavily and send it to you to give you an idea of my organization and structuring capabilities, but don’t expect to learn any insider info. I take the legal status of my works seriously.