Re: Are we just secretaries?

Subject: Re: Are we just secretaries?
From: Lisa Wright <liwright -at- qwest -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000 15:12:54 -0600

Mariposa BY is feeling like a clerk and everyone is saying get over it
because maybe things aren't so bad (to sum up). (Apparently we're not in
a "take that job and shove it" mode today.) I just want to present an
alternative point of view.

You know, not every situation can be salvaged, and not every situation
has an opportunity to expand beyond the barriers set up by the folks
around you. Not every cloud has a silver lining. I left my last position
precisely because, once we had developed the template for report design
documents, my task was to ensure that the developers had entered
information in the right place. There was no place or need for
understanding the product, and I knew more than enough programming to
understand what they were doing. And, my own team "lead" would not back
me up nor support me as a professional worthy of the programmers respect
or cooperation. (No, this is not sour grapes.)

The possibly fun projects I did have on that job, I couldn't get any
time from the clients who supposedly requested the updates to their
user's guides.

No collaborations, no "gee, I really am glad that I formatted my 100th
table today", nuthin'. I was bored silly and pissed off.

So I left.

That said, I really enjoy mindless tasks sometimes. They let me rest my
brain. And now I'm in a very small company, where everything I do
contributes to our success, even the truly administrative task like
getting brochures and shipping them to a potential client. When I feel
like I'm being treated like a low-level clerk I let them know it, and
it's solved some issues. Just today, I was asked to put together a data
flow diagram, which, since I was just transferring notes from paper to
Visio, could be regarded as completely clerical. But I asked the
developer to show me the code so I really could understand what was
happening, and it helped me figure something out when he wasn't here to
explain. And the finished diagram has more useful information than just
what he gave me. I take pride in the fact that I understand design
principles, and that my colleagues seek out my help because they know
I'll make their stuff better.

I'm not encouraging Mariposa to jump ship. But honestly evaluate the
situation. If it's not going to change, you can look for a job where you
really do get to do all the cool things the others talked about. It
worked for me.

Lisa Wright
Technical Writer

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