RE: The writer who didn't work out

Subject: RE: The writer who didn't work out
From: "Locke, David" <dlocke -at- bindview -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 18:53:55 -0600

Andrew said:

> B) It is very likely the person who didn't work out was a moron. There are
> metric tons of really bad writers out there who continue to brownnose
their way
> into jobs for which they are not qualified. If an interviewer told me a
person
> didn't work out, I would assume that the previous writer was a dolt. Give
the
> employer the benefit of the doubt. Sheesh, they called you, right? They
can't
> be *THAT* stupid.

That certainly hasn't been my experience. I've worked for a long series of
jerks. There is nothing that says the management of startups are qualified.
They have jobs, because they had capital and buddies. I've seen lots of bad
documentation. And, I could blame the writer, but long about eighteen months
into the job, its obvious where the problems were. They were still there in
the company. The writer was long gone.

I've been at this so long, I don't even argue with them. If they want
denotational doc, then hey I'll denote. If they want to take the action out
of their marcom, out it comes. If they want to advertise rather than do PR,
ok lets advertise. It's more fun anyway. If they want to ignore the
psychological state of the customers they train, go ahead scare them so the
won't buy the product. If the management doesn't want to check their
assumptions in the face of their failure, I'm not going to mentiion it. You
want to hire programmers as sales people, hey go ahead. You want to put me
in a room with flourescent lights, no windows, and green paint, fine, but
hey I'm not emptying my boxes once I move if you don't mind. Tell me to put
unedited content in the book, fine. Your book doesn't need to be edited, but
the strength score is six percent. I have this email from the VP that told
you quoted when ordering me to do it over my objections, and she's asking me
questions. Oh, that content is wrong, but I have a tape of everything you
said. You won't buy Framemaker, fine I'll use Word. It will take longer to
do beta cycles, but hey I have the time. And, you are hiring a word
processing person to fill a technical writer spot. You don't have time to
interview this candidate. Even when the board expects you to hire. You want
to make content distribution decisions. That's fine, but the document set
will cost three times more than you can afford. And, we'll have to hire
three more people.

Bull. I've been there. Where there is bad work, there is bad management. In
Dilbert's world managemnt doesn't do anything. It's supposed to be funny. In
real life, they are supposed to do things like enable. Usually, they
disable. The worst thing is that there is no justice. They M&A, and then
take the money and start another company.

I know. The preceeding has not been representative in your life. But, in
mine, I have had the opportunity to build a better jerk detector. But, there
are so many kinds. I just hope that I won't have to use my detector again.

David W. Locke





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