Re: Tech writers, comments about.

Subject: Re: Tech writers, comments about.
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 09:52:48 -0800

"Andrew Plato" <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote in message
news:233002 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> Furthermore, you're boss absolutely can do what you do. It might not be as
> high-quality, but they can do it. As such, you might want to pull back on
> attitude, as the next thing your boss does say to you is "we're letting
> go."
Mine can't. I'm currently working in a situation where my boss is head of

If that doesn't say enough, may contracts/consulting gigs I've done are
situations where I'm the lone tech writer. I've found that it makes for a
tougher planning and production situation than working for someone in the
field, in large part because those who are not experienced see what we do as
"just" writing and so therefore should be simple and done quickly.

Meanwhile, I've done close to 100 brand new pages in about a month
documeenting a rather complex product (of about 200 pages originally)
because the existing pages were pretty much useless (apparently originally
offshored). When I was hired, I repeatedly asked the person who was to be my
boss to send me a copy of the original so I could get up to speed before I
actually started; I was told repeately that it would be sent. I wasn't. When
I got here and saw the mess that was the User Guide and scoped out its
needs, I concluded that it would take a minimum of 2 months of solid work to
get done anything close to right--but had been brought in 1 month before

Needless to say I've been working my patootie (will that get by filters)
off, evenings and weekends to get at least the highest priority content
done. I've been able to use almost none of the original. My boss asked me on
a number of occasions for samples to review, which were never looked at.

While contracting/consulting can pay better $$$ (not so much these days), if
I had a choice, I'd be working for a company that has a dedicated TW/user
experience group with a manager that know's what's needed to produce both
high quality docs and usable products and develop a good, long-term working
relationship that keeps everyone happy and productive.

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. The day
may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our friends and
break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day! This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf


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