Re: Not Wanted--Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Not Wanted--Technical Writers
From: "Pritchard,Laurie N" <Laurie_Pritchard -at- MC -dot- XEROX -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 10:16:00 PST

Andrew Plato wrote:

> "... I am routinely amazed at how
> senior level writers can say things like "XYZ application is the only tool
> I'll ever use for producing documents" and "I don't need to know how the
> program works, just how the user will operate it." These people should go
> back to being secretaries.

> "I hire subcontractors for work, and I prefer inexperienced, recent college
> graduate applicants to "experienced" writers. In my experience,
> less-experienced liberal arts students are more motivated to succeed and
> learn new things. Moreover, these people are far more creative when it comes
> to describing complex technology. Because they are not burdened with years
> of bias toward older technologies, they can look at difficult issues with
> new perspectives.

> " With 8 years experience as a writer, I am keenly aware of how entrenched I
> have become. Just last week someone showed me a Java application - which I
> immediately discounted as a cute toy rather than a useful
application. That
> kind of attitude is dangerous since that cute toy could become the next
> Windows NT. While I mock it, others are embracing it and making a lot of
> money doing projects documenting the cute toy.


To Andrew and others who may also feel this way: Please don't
dismiss senior/experienced writers as biased and rigid.
While it's true that years of the same type of experience, and
a comfort with the status quo, can make *some* writers jaded
and limited in their vision, this is just not the case for all of us.
I have more than 10 years of experience as a technical writer. Although
I am proud of being a senior writer, I am equally proud of my enthusiasm
for new technologies and what they can offer to our profession, in terms
of how they can enhance our work processes and open new career doors.
I can work alongside writers new to the field with no less enthusiasm than
they have for new approaches and new tools. I do not feel that my years of
experience limit me one bit in this regard. If someone wants to show me a
Java application, you can bet that they will have my full attention! I
how the Mac was dismissed as a toy when I first used it 10 years ago. But
that "toy" was a vital doorway to the technologies I'm using now, in addition
to being a practical tool for me both at work and in graduate school.

It simply does not follow that experience brings bias and rigidity.
You can find
rigid thinking at any experience level. I am sure that many
participants of this
list are seasoned writers who embrace new technology with enthusiasm and an
open mind. To dismiss their potential contributions is a loss for us all.

Laurie Pritchard
Laurie_Pritchard -at- mc -dot- xerox -dot- com
(Opinions expressed are strictly my own.), or

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