Re: The Real Offense

Subject: Re: The Real Offense
From: SteveFJong -at- aol -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 12:26:11 EST

Andrew Plato makes a good point. There's theory, and there's practice. We get
paid to turn out the docs; we are more like factory workers than artists.

Andrew's roofer analogy is useful, but I've had a different analogy in mind.
When homeowners hire a roofer, we want roofs built, but at the same time we
don't interfere with the design or the process: we don't say things like,
"I'd like to have a roof that comes to a peak at one end and is flat on the
other." (At least, if our own heads aren't peaked at one end we don't 8^)
technical writers have to deal with engineers and managers who DO say things
like, "I want an alphabetical reference of every menu item, and oh, by the
way, your writing's choppy."

The analogy I like that of chef versus cook. A cook doesn't question your
order, a cook makes scrambled eggs and sausages, omelets and bacon, over and
over on demand. Not much fun and not much money. A chef designs meals, and
you order what the chef makes specially; chefs get the big bucks. What we'd
like to be is chefs, who design documentation sets. This is our domain; let
us do our thing!

Of course, Andrew's still right--the bottom line, chef or cook, is getting
the product out the door 8^)

-- Steve

Steven Jong, Documentation Team Manager ("Typo? What tpyo?")
Lightbridge, Inc., 67 S. Bedford St., Burlington, MA 01803 USA
Jong -at- lightbridge -dot- com -dot- nospam 781.359.4902[V], 781.359.4500[F]
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