RE: them engineers

Subject: RE: them engineers
From: "Halter, Meg" <HalterMC -at- navair -dot- navy -dot- mil>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 11:10:46 -0700

Hi Uma --

As you read the following please keep in mind that I am also pretty new at
this business. But because I come from the technical side of the house, I
think I have a pretty good perspectiv. Anyway, I find it helpful to

(1) do alot of study on your own. This demonstrates that you don't have to
be spoon fed. This is very important to most techie types.

(2) be pleasantly persistent (for example, when a guy isn't completing a
review, I just stop by his office -- frequently -- and ask him how things
are going or just to say hello. When I get excuses, I offer pleasant
sympathy (often deserved!) and leave. But after just a few repetitions he
figures out that I'll keep dropping by until he finishes. So he does just to
get rid of me.) Another benefit if you make this a general practice is that
you'll become a familiar face and maybe get info sooner and more easily.

(3) not react when folks get nasty or when you feel they are stepping on
your turf. Be pleasantly low key, almost unemotional, and respond to their
comments. Often they really do mean to be helpful. The important thing is to
not add emotional fuel to the exchange.

(4) back up your points with photocopies from references. (For example, I
had one guy insisting that I do several things that were grammatically
wrong, wrong, wrong. He wouldn't back down until I presented him with
multiple references that backed up my position.) When discussing your
position, remember point (3).

In my book, getting nasty is the absolutely, positively last resort because
it burns (or at least weakens) bridges.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

-- Meg

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Uma Catherine [SMTP:uma_catherine -at- usa -dot- net]
> Sent: Monday, May 22, 2000 4:23 AM
> Subject: them engineers
> First of all, thanks for being there to share a lonely moment in my
> professional life.
> Until last year, the organization I work with had only one technical
> writer -
> he had moved into the role from marketing because there was no technical
> writer in the organization. Last year, it woke up and decided that it
> needed
> world-class documentation for its world-class products. I was recruited
> for
> the job. (I had been an instructional designer making CBTs before this.)
> Setting up processes is at the bottom of the priority list in a place
> where
> engineers don't have much of a clue why a technical writer is required at
> all.
> While the processes are still incipient, is it necessary to be unpleasant
> to
> engineers to ensure that they give inputs on time and do not try to tell
> me
> how to do my work? Also, can anyone give me guidelines on what to include
> in
> processes so that unpleasantness can be avoided.
> TIA,
> Uma.

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