What a Tech Writer Really Does

Subject: What a Tech Writer Really Does
From: Peter Collins <peter -dot- collins -at- BIGFOOT -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 16:51:50 +1100

Dear Andrew Plato,
for me, you can offend as many people as you like - but there are only
4000+ of us here - does that give you enough scope, or are you just
building up a good head of steam in readiness for the big world outside?
Now, moving right on to the nub, I think your distinctions of the
various sphincter* types ("service-oriented" work ethic [as] opposed to ...
"task-oriented") are suspect. People are variable beasts. Your descriptions
are useful because they are evocative, but don't plan your working life on
them. Some (most?) people switch from one to the other as fast as their
manager gains or loses their confidence or sympathy.
In your interviewing and writing you can switch them instantly from s-o
type into t-o by using authoritarian or prescriptive mode. The opposite
switch is much harder to achieve.
*I know the discussion started with sphincters in the context of Tech
Writers, but we aint so special. Most of what I write about I get from
others, so they must be sphincters too.
Peter Collins, VIVID Management Pty Ltd,
26 Bradleys Head Road, MOSMAN 2088, Australia
+61 2 9968 3308, fax +61 2 9968 3026, mobile +61 (0)18 419 571
Management Consultants and Technical Writers
email: peter -dot- collins -at- bigfoot -dot- com ICQ#: 10981283
web pages: http://www.angelfire.com/pe/pcollins/

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