RE: Burnout Comes Early

Subject: RE: Burnout Comes Early
From: "Newman, Sarah" <snewman -at- bechtel -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000 09:14:46 -0500


> --- Raymond Springer <Raymond -dot- Springer -at- hummingbird -dot- com> wrote:
> > Which brings me to my question: In your experience, is Technical
> > Writing as a profession merely a high-tech sweatshop? If the
> > answer is yes, it's not too late for me to pack it in and move to the
> > beach in Bali.
>
>>Tom Murrell wrote >>Let's see. I work in an environmentally
>>controlled (comfortable) environment. I'm sitting on my butt all
day,
>>well most of the day. I do need to get up to get coffee or relieve

>>the hydraulic pressure of the coffee. And I'm doing interesting
> work that I love. Nope, I don't think I'm in a sweat shop.
>
>>I've had so many worse jobs in so many worse places. I've even had
>>people trying to kill me. I haven't seen anything in Technical
Writing
>>that I even thought was uncomfortable. Well, the air conditioning
did
>>go off the other day, and I was sweating, but nah, it weren't
nothin'.

Amen, Tom. When I was in college, I worked one summer in a paper
mill for some fast money. I really earned it. For twelve hours a
day, we
worked in the paper machine, doing the scut work nobody else wanted
to do. Ambient temperature was at least 100 degrees (Farenheit), and
the
noise level was about 96 decibels (roughly equivalent to holding a
chain saw).

Duties included
--Retrieving broken paper under the dryer, where it was 120 degrees
--Washing away paper pulp with a large water hose (even with rubber
boots,
your feet got wet. My toes stayed blistered and raw)

I'm not even complaining about the experience. I learned to drive a
fork truck,
and when I do need to work with hard-hat types, I can impress them
as
someone who knows what they go through. But my point is, that when I
look
back, none of my technical writing jobs even compare to that sweaty,
achy, ear-plugged, blistered feet, two-industrial-accident summer.

I'm reminded of the Dilbert cartoon when Dogbert says he wants a job

where he can work at home with no discernible goals or deliverables.

"So basically you'd stay home and we'd mail you checks?"
"Well, I was hoping for direct deposit."

Sarah Newman
Technical Writing Group
Bechtel
(713) 235-3352
(281) 240-9111





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