Re: Troublesome Writers

Subject: Re: Troublesome Writers
From: Alan -dot- Miller -at- prometric -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 10:08:17 -0500

>From Andrew Plato:

>So, what do you think? How do you deal with a writer who just won't
frickin' get on the program. Who fights over edits, ignores direct orders,
writes documents that are not needed or wanted, uses tools that aren't

Andrew, I think the right thing would be to let her go. It's your business,
your rules. If she couldn't follow them, and didn't understand that you
were in charge, not her, then she should go. Which she evidently did,
though you didn't mention if it was by her choice or yours.

I suspect there will be a number of posts suggesting that you should
nurture her independence or something similar. Don't hurt her tender
feelings or damage her fragile self-esteem, kind of advice. From what
you've said, those approaches probably won't work. Some folks are just too
hard-headed to listen. They are going to do stuff their way and your way be
damned. It's not worth the high blood pressure and stress to try to change
them. It may sound draconian, but it really is the best answer for both of
youse guys.

Some years ago, I had a graphic illustrator working for me. (I didn't hire
him, I inherited him from a colleague who couldn't cope any longer.) He
couldn't (or wouldn't) take direction. His work, while on time, required
considerable revision before it was useful. He was 64 days in the hole for
sick leave. The other illustrators complained that he spent excessive time
on the telephone for personal business (his telephone usage was averaging
$5,000/month). I tried the gentle approach at first. Long counseling
sessions to identify his problems and help him find help. Didn't help.
Tried getting tough. He'd cry (real or crocodile tears, could never be
sure) about how his girlfriend or mommy was sick or had to go to the doctor
or something, so he had to stay home to take care of the girlfriend's kids
(he was 20, she was 30 with 2 kids from someone else). Made me feel guilty
about disciplining him and docking his pay for the excessive phone use and
paid time off. Found myself spending more and more of my time dealing with
him and not my clients. Finally decided to bite the bullet and take the
financial loss and let him go. Which is what I should have done at the
It just wasn't worth the expense, stress, and uproar in the lower digestive
system to deal with someone else's problems on the job. Point them in the
right direction and if they don't find the way, show them the way to the

Or not.

Al Miller
Chief Documentation Curmudgeon
Prometric (r), a division of Thomson Learning, Inc.

Develop HTML-based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver! (STC Discount.)
**NEW DATE/LOCATION!** January 16-17, 2001, New York, NY. or 800-646-9989.

Take XML and Tech Writing courses online! Our instructor-led courses
(4-6 hrs/wk) give you "hands on" experience at your convenience. STC members
get 20% off!
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: What is our real area of expertise?
Next by Author: RE: Features of a well-written procedure
Previous by Thread: RE: Troublesome Writers
Next by Thread: Re: Troublesome Writers

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads