RE: HUMOR: I Need Help

Subject: RE: HUMOR: I Need Help
From: "Carnall, Jane" <Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 18:41:34 -0000

Jim Shaeffer wrote:
>Many Technical Communicators look around and find a paucity of other means.

>Example: Daytona Beach is not a hotbed of programming, yet our Barnes &
>Noble has several shelves of Visual Basic books, most of them advertising a
>CD-ROM full of sample programs and code. There is nothing remotely
>comparable for Technical Writing.
>I am suggesting that such posts may be, in part, symptoms of organizational
>and system problems, not just symptoms of personal laziness.

I wonder if anyone *does* send templates/samples in response to the
requests. I don't, and wouldn't, because any such files I might have
available don't belong to me: they're the property of my employers. (She
says priggishly.) I've always assumed that the same is the case for the vast
majority of the people on this list, and so any requests for actual files
are likely to get a dusty answer.

In my first job as a tech writer, I was the sole tech writer in a firm that
had only ever employed one before. I had no other resources but a set of
files compiled by my predecessor on the job, who lasted two months. (I
lasted 14 months. But I had more reason to stay.) It was frustrating work,
struggling with recalcitrant files, certain there must be short cuts - but
with limited time to figure them out, and limited experience of *how* to
figure them out. My next job was with a team of technical writers, and we
swopped files and templates all the time, because often it was far faster to
show someone else how you'd done it than to explain in words. It seems
defeatist and is certainly unhelpful to just assume that people are lazy
because they've asked the wrong question.

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.

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