HUMOR (or is it?): How to make the Big Bucks in Technical Writing

Subject: HUMOR (or is it?): How to make the Big Bucks in Technical Writing
From: Jason Willebeek-LeMair <jlemair -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 15:48:51 -0600

Years of not-so-rigorous anthropological study (by someone who bought a
degree from one of those non-accredited "universities" that keep
spamming me) has uncovered these four guiding principles for making big
bucks in technical writing:

1. DO NOT WRITE ANYTHING. This is the guiding principle behind making
the big buck-fifty (after taxes). The minute you start being productive
and doing what you were hired to do, you set an expectation. All future
performance will be measured against this (completely unreasonable)

2. Generate AT LEAST 25 e-mail messages a day, and make sure you copy
everyone in the reporting structure between you and the CEO of the
company. Make sure you reiterate any decisions that have already been
made about the product or project, using your writing skills to make it
seem like you were a key player in that decision.

3. Attend as many meetings as possible. The more meetings you attend,
the better excuses you will have for following principle number 1.
Also, listen to your co-workers' conversations for issues and questions
about the product/project. Then, at the next meeting, leap up and ask
the question or raise the issue before your co-workers have the chance.
Even better if you can accidently overhear their solution and propose
that in the same breath. You get extra points if some of the executive
staff of the company are in attendence. If no one of manager level or
above is at the meeting, don't bother to ask any questions. Instead,
use this time to take a nap. You need to look good for principle 4.

4. Sit with the executive staff in the breakroom/cafeteria or simply
stand near them in the hallway. This is especially important if you can
do so in sight of your boss, co-workers, and developers. Make sure you
nod and chuckle as if he/she is actually acknowledging your existance.
You will seem to have an "in" with the big (non-gender-specific-units)
and make it difficult for anyone to terminate you for religiously
following principle number 1.

A follow-up study has discovered an alternate method: be damn good at
what you do.

I am sure that I am missing a few principles, probably about
methodologies, PowerPoint slides, and hamsters. Perhaps Andrew can add
to the list.

<joke>Who is thinking of buying one of those "degrees", a Ph.D. in
Technical Communication, from one of those spammers--or just printing
his own.</joke>

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