re: Some of us are victims and some aren't (was Re: Tech writers, comments about.)

Subject: re: Some of us are victims and some aren't (was Re: Tech writers, comments about.)
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 10:47:05 -0800 (PST)

Richard G. Combs wrote:
I'm willing to bet that the Rodney Dangerfields of tech writing are much more likely to have one or more of the problems and complaints listed above (or others like them). I bet that those who feel valued and respected either don't have such problems or they see them as minor, manageable, and to be taken in stride.

I would agree, but with caution. It's all too easy to simply say "you're just whining, grow up" (although there are times when I do say that). It's all too easy to blame someone for a situation their in rather than examining the situation as a whole. I can invision, and have worked for, a place in which success by underlings is discouraged and those who are successful are fired and replaced with people who are less talented. I can invision a place where all of the things that some technical writers complain about are not their fault, but a problem with a corporate culture in which no amount of effort, diplomacy, positive spin, demonstration of abilities, external research, baseball bats, or backstabbing can make things better. Why do these places exist? I don't know, maybe because of some insecurities on the parts of those in charge, or those who own the companies. But such .... well .... bad workplaces do exist and it's not because the technical writer has a bad attitude or is a whiner. Now maybe the tech writer is a whiner who is working in a truly bad place to work, but their whining doesn't make it a bad workplace.

Granted, if such a business did exist chances are it wouldn't be around long. But during its brief glimmer of tainted life that such an organization has, there are employees who are mired in the BS that it leaves behind.

I suppose one way to determine if the tech writer is being whiny or is in a truly bad situation is to know how other people are treated and feel in the company. If the tech writer is the only one with complaints, chances are there is something wrong with the tech writer, but if a majority of employees share in the same complaints, then clearly the problem is not that the tech writer is a whiner.

Food for thought: Just because you're in a comfy situation doesn't mean others are.

Now let's all sing "Kumbaya." :-)

Sean Hower - tech writer

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