The Burden of Novices (Was: Can a Strong Process...

Subject: The Burden of Novices (Was: Can a Strong Process...
From: Chris Hamilton <chamilton__ -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 04:56:30 -0800

---Laurel Nelson <Laurel_Y_Nelson -at- NOTES -dot- SEAGATE -dot- COM> wrote:

> I would like to hear from people on the list who have been tasked
with training a potential writer. Did management ask you to do this or
was it more subtle; that is, the person is hired and then you find out
they have no experience or college training? How did this affect your
stress level? What about your deadlines?

At my current job the other technical writer is almost completely
novice. But she is what I have to work with, so I need to be as
productive as possible with her. I view this as a challenge and a
chance to enhance my skills, not as a burden. And she's making a real
effort to pick things up. It's cool to see the light go on.

As for the deadlines, I try to manage expectations according to what
we two can do together. I view this OJT time as an investment and I've
told her and everyone else so. But part of the investment is carrying
the majority of the load right now. I was once novice at this, too.
She'll pick it up, and it'll be to both our benefits.

> How much work did you get done on a daily basis when every five
minutes you are asked questions or are told statements like the
following <snip>

If you can, set up what your expectations of this other writer are.
You expect him or her to try to solve the problem before coming to
you. You expect him or her to try. If he or she can't find/figure out
the answer. then you can talk. Also, set aside some time each day. Any
question that stops him or her from going forward, you can answer.
Otherwise, ask it at question time.

But in some ways you have to treat this person as you would anyone
else. It's okay to say "I'm heads down on this right now, can we talk

And if this person isn't trying and won't try, then it's time to talk
to management.

Chris Hamilton
chamilton__ -at- yahoo -dot- com (double underscore)

Get your free address at

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

Previous by Author: Market Rate
Next by Author: Re: Engineering approach to certification
Previous by Thread: New Book on Style Guides
Next by Thread: Re: NEWBIE asks: How to move to SGML?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads