RE: them engineers

Subject: RE: them engineers
From: melonie -dot- mcmichael -at- amd -dot- com
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 11:57:35 -0500


<Martin Smith>
The lack of respect issue is one that I have battled my entire career, often
because of engineers' bad experiences with technical writers in the past. I
have simply come to accept the fact that I will have to prove myself each
time I begin working with a new group of people. Generally this entails
demonstrating an ability to accurately comprehend the source material and
produce meaningful documents with a minimum of hand holding.
</Martin Smith>

Yep, been there, done that, designed the T-shirt. One of the problems is
the incredibly range of positions which fall under the heading "tech
writer"--everything from straight DTP to high-level engineering-type
writing. I'm right in the middle between the two--I can handle software
without a problem; hardware is QUITE a challenge. I have repeatedly
worked with engineers who believe all tech writers were just DTPers,
mainly because that is the only type of writer they had worked with
before. And I have repeatedly showed them otherwise.

I have also had to mend the fences torn down by Tech Writer Gods.
People who demand respect seldom get it; people who earn respect
and GIVE respect get it returned in multiples. (I've had to learn
this lesson again recently.) I have had to disprove that all writer's
are arrogant, know-it-alls too many times.

In my career (and in my life), willingness is the key. The engineers
around here know I don't know what the heck they are talking about
most of the time. They also know that I am _willing_ to learn whatever
I can. And they see that I am _willing_ to do whatever it takes to
get a doc out the door in good shape. They also know that I want to
take the "burden" of writing away from them, a cause which most of
them support with abundant delight. Because of that kind of attitude,
I almost always get all of the cooperation I need.

A free lunch or a chocolate treat now and then help as well, but they
are just a little icing on the cake.


Melonie (Lonie) McMichael
Tech Doc Coordinator
mailto:melonie -dot- mcmichael -at- amd -dot- com

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