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Subject:Re: What a Tech Writer Really Does From:Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- YAHOO -dot- COM> Date:Sat, 14 Nov 1998 20:26:58 -0800
What what you're describing, Jason (a.k.a. Slagathor), is a
"service-oriented" work ethic opposed to a "task-oriented" work ethic.
Most people are "taskers." They do what they are told and nothing
else. They define their boundaries very tightly and they resent
having them moved. These people are okay workers but terrible
leaders. They need to be very closely managed. Most employees fit
this category. They focus on the tool and task.
Service oriented people see their job as providing a service to other
people, customers, co-workers, departments, etc. In the tech writer's
case, this is providing information to people in a logical,
well-organized manner. The physical act of writing, the media used,
and the process of delivery become irrelevant since the focus is
getting the job done right - whatever it takes. Taskers will spend
weeks obsessing over the tool or the media and miss the larger picture
of what needs to be done.
Ultimately, this is a problem all over the high tech industry.
Uncontrolled "taskers" can suck the life out of an organization
because they are rigid and inflexible. They demand absolute processes
for everything and will not tolerate dissent. (Where have I heard
this before...hmmm.) The solution is to keep those nasty taskers
under tight control. Hardcore taskers with a speck authority will
quickly sap the energy out of an organization and destroy everything.
They cannot do anything with out a spec, a process doc, or a blessing
The problem with being a "servicer" is that you have to respect your
position in the chain. I have seen countless writers burst into an
organization acting like they were the world's greatest person. They
demanded instant respect and instant authority. When it didn't come,
they became resentful and worthless.
So you're on the right track, sweetie. Keep being an information
sphincters. Pucker up and give your co-workers and customers what
they want. You've got the right attitude for being a leader. I am
delighted to see more people taking on this opinion. It is good for
the entire industry when we quit being so damn territorial about
everything and start working together. Like a big happy family of
Beware those evil taskers. At the first whiff of a methodology, flee
into the woods and take off all your clothes. It isn't really a
solution, but it is fun to take off all your clothes in the woods.
Just look out for the squirrels.
But you already knew that.
President / Principal Consultant
Anitian Consulting, Inc.
PS: Hey Techwr-l kids - I'm back. New account and new small-minded
opinions. I'm looking forward to offending some more people.
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