(Fwd) Re: Not Wanted--Technical Writers

Subject: (Fwd) Re: Not Wanted--Technical Writers
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 09:20:43 -0700

Forwarded anonymously on request. This is from the
original anonymous poster--responding to Denise's

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------

>Since when did a 23 year old writer displaying confidence in
>his/her abilities get mistaken for having a superiority complex?
>Just because they haven't paid their proverbial dues?

Since she claimed that "as a poet," she was able to better
communicate with her readers (better, of course, than technical

The general tone of the article as a whole was that experienced
technical writers are responsible for poorly written technical
material. THAT should be what offends you.

The fact that the article devalues the profession you've chosen by
claiming that those with experience in the field are virtually
incapable of producing usable documents, and that years of experience
in the field is inferior to the nebulous qualities of "youth" and
"creativity" should be what offends you.

Personally, I suspect, as several others have mentioned, that the
real motivation is stinginess. A fresh-out-of-university liberal arts
grad is just about the cheapest educated labor you can get, after
all. Of course, it'd be wonderful if this company really WERE
refusing to hire anyone past a certain age. Wonderful if they were
found guilty in a court of law, that is.

>Contrary to Anonymous's opinion, some of us younger writers
>know what we are doing.

Uh, sure. But if you are able to admit that you DON'T know what
you're doing sometimes, you'll know even more in a few years. Or are
you claiming that any experience beyond three years is redundant?

One of the most important qualities I look for in tech writers is a
willingness to admit that they don't know something. It's important
no matter what your field, but it's especially important here.

>It is very disheartening to see the more
>experienced members of our profession discrediting us. (Or, in
>Anonymous's terminology, telling us to get out of the way.)

That's not what I said.

>Liberal Arts Grad, Poet, Generation Xer

That's all well and good, but it doesn't make you a technical writer
any more than having blue eyes or being a Muslim would. Being
a technical writer is what makes one a technical writer.

Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner http://www.raycomm.com/

http://www.documentation.com/, or http://www.dejanews.com/

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