Re: Wanted: Dumb Tech-Writer Stories

Subject: Re: Wanted: Dumb Tech-Writer Stories
From: Jo Francis Byrd <jbyrd -at- byrdwrites -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 15:49:45 -0600

Here's one for your collection.

Several years back I accepted a contract with a company I shall, out of kindness,
refrain from naming. Despite the lead tech writer's ordering them ahead of time,
another contract tech writer and I sat for the better part of a week prior to our
getting our computers. We had monitors, but no CPU. Finally they arrived. MIS came
up to get everything set up. At the time we were using an older version of D2H, so
I needed Word 6 as well as Office 97 on my system. Spent 15 minutes arguing with
the MIS guy as to why I needed Word 6 resident on my harddrive as opposed to
running it off the network. Explained we were were using D2H, sits resident in
Word, yada, yada, yada. He had a definite, "What do YOU know, you're just a tech
writer," attitude. He finally installed Word 6 resident, not because I convinced
him (I didn't), but because I wouldn't shut up and he got tired of me yammering at

Well, this genius gave us the wrong printer drivers, which did ugly things to our
systems. Being not quite so dumb as my blond hair might lead MIS types to believe
(blond hair is a great disguise for intelligence, she said with an almost straight
face), I ventured out onto the network, found the correct drivers, and corrected my
problems. The other contract tech writer, who was a neophyte on his very first tech
writing job, continued to have fits. We complained to MIS, explained it was the
printer drivers.

Yeah, right. What did WE know, we're just dumb tech writers, not technical geniuses
like they are. Two of them came up, worked for a good half hour, ignoring our
recommendation, getting nowhere. Finally, just to show us, once and for all, that
we did not know what we were talking about, they installed the printer drivers I

It was wonderful. Both of them stood there, figurative raw egg dripping down their
faces, stuttering in embarrassment and chagrin as all the problems immediately
disappeared. My mommy would have been SO proud of me. I was SO sweet and gracious
and was disgusting, it really was. I did not permit a single, "There!
See? I TOLD you so!" to taint the air. And I loved every second of it. Revenge was
VERY sweet! Even better, after that I had credibility with them.

Still laughing,

Jo Byrd

Bruce Byfield wrote:

> Maybe list members can help me.
> I'm looking for humorous stories about technical-writers.
> I want to hear about bad pieces of writing, tantrums about being a
> "professional," misplaced artistic sensibilities, hysterical insistences on being
> overly-specialized, desperate tactics to get information from SMEs, warped
> perceptions about tech-writers in the corporate world, stupid office politics,
> and anything else
> that appeals to your sense of humor about the profession.

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