So, here's what happened:
Mr Businessman emails me (months after our last contact) to ask:
"Hey, are you still in the technical writing biz? Wanna do some technical writing for me?"
I am poor and in need of work, and say:
Mr Businessman says:
"Great! Now, we'll just need you to complete one user manual for our Coke Bottles And Lids Machine, as a test. Here's all the background materials you'll need..."
And he sends me 20 documents - most of them barely comprehensible diagrams - and a template to follow for the finished user manual.
I spend several days looking through these documents, trying to figure out how the Coke Bottles And Lids Machine works. I take copious notes, and figure out a lot - but there are still some things I can't
- The diagrams are, as I've said, barely comprehensible. How do I tell which bit makes the bottles and which bit makes the lids?
- The template has headings for "Basic Operation", "Maintenance", "Valve Positions", "Emergency Shutdown", and "Start-Up Procedure", among others. None of these can be completed without me having lots of additional info about the Coke Bottles And Lids Machine. Info that hasn't be provided.
- This is a "test", sure, but am I getting paid for it?
- No, seriously. I've got 3 full days of work coming up, followed by two days of freelancing that I definitely will be paid for. And this template is rather large and going to take up heaps of free time. Am I getting paid for this? Or do they only pay me once I've "passed"?
- Is this really worth a week of my free time if I'm not getting paid?
- How the hell am I going to complete this without the extra info, even if they do pay me?
*time passes, and Mez pulls her hair out*
So, eventually, I email Mr Businessman:
"Hi, Businessman. If you really want me to do this, it'll take me a week. And also, I'll need lots of extra info about your Coke Bottles And Lids Machine. Can you give it to me, please?"
And he emails back:
"You FAIL the test!!!! Here's the correct answer sheet. What you should have done is:1) Copy and paste the first document into the template's first page.
2) Delete all the template's other pages, as we really don't need to know about maintenance, emergency shutdown, basic operation, or any of that crap.
3) Put all the diagrams at the end. Incomprehensible? Meh. The factory workers can deal.
You suck. Too bad. If you want to try another test, let me know.
Oh, also - the user manual was only about the Coke Lids, not the Coke Bottles. You weren't misled by me mentioning bottles, were you?"
...does the fact that I want to burn down his house and chop him into tiny pieces make me a bad person?