Re: The bottom line on professionalism in TW

Subject: Re: The bottom line on professionalism in TW
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- jci -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 09:21:27 -0500

This is against my better judgement, but I'll lay out just once my take on
this alleged bottom line. "Fasten your seatbelts, we're in for a bumpy

>Just as engineers, medical doctors, and even software developers <G> are
>considered professionals, so do we want to be considered.


>If you can't "take the time" to care about what you write, or those to
>you write, why take the time to write at all?

Because I figure in a room full of writers, people might just be more
interested in what I have to say than how I say it?

>Dadgummit, aren't you a WRITER?

Yep. Even have publication credits in nationally-circulated consumer
magazines, though it's been some years since those days.

>Don't you want to be thought of as a professional?

Hard Truth (sorry, I'm fresh out of sugar-coating): Don't much care what
you or anyone else on this list thinks of me. I care what the folks who pay
me think of my work; what they think of me is a different question, as is
what I think of them. I think of the man and the work as separate and
distinct entities. Anything less would be unprofessional. I am a
professional. The rest of the world can think what they like; they will in
any case. I don't have the time or energy to do their thinking for them.

So hear me now and believe me later (or not at all, suit yourself):
If someone out there is so dense, so incredibly shallow, as to make a
judgement about my professionalism based on the odd typo in an email, I
don't care. It'd take more time than it's worth to ship them a clue, and
even then they'd probably not take delivery.

I'm surrounded by professional engineers. Can you possibly be so naive as
to think every design they pass around among their peers for comment is a
top-notch, professionally done drawing? Get Real. They're generally sloppy
sketches, just good enough to get the general idea across. I've seen some
real howlers go by, with errors (technical errors, that is, not language
errors) in them big enough for *me* to spot, and my only engineering
knowledge has been acquired by watching good ones at work.

But when it's time for production, it's a different story. Everything is
thought about, and handled, sometimes by touches so elegant they take your
breath away. And *that* is the mark of the true professional. When there's
money on the line, there's quality in the design. Or, as another engineer
(a hobbyist auto racer) around here had on a sign in his cube: "When the
flag drops, the BS stops."

Emails to me are like back-of-the-napkin drawings to the engineers here.
they're half-formed thoughts sent out among fellow writers to elicit
*their* thoughts on ideas that perhaps I'm not entirely clear on myself. Or
they're my annotations on the napkins that the rest of you are passing

Any relationship between them and the real world of professional writing is
strictly coincidental.

You want my best, open your checkbook. Otherwise settle for what you get.
You think *that's* unprofessional, try asking a doctor or a lawyer to
continuously perform their professional services for free. At least from me
you'll get something.

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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