Re: HUMOR: I Need Help

Subject: Re: HUMOR: I Need Help
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 13:29:59 -0800

Jeff Hanvey wrote:

> Template design can be considered wasted hours when you're trying to finish a project. I say "wasted" because it's time away from actual production. The only reasons to engage in template design is to standardize the design and to avoid these hours of work each time you start a new project.

Maybe this is part of the problem: that many people see designing a
template is seen as "wasted hours" instead of central to the job.

A good template is tailored to the job at hand, to the audience, and
to the company's image. It isn't something that you can simply
borrow - at least, not if you want to be conscientious.

> During the first week of my job (most often on the first day), I always ask for the style guide and template for that corporation. Doing that isn't avoiding my job - it's ensuring that my work is consistent with the pre-existing documents. The idea can be extended to the community of writers: if the template exists and works well, why not use it?

Using your company's style guide and asking for a template on line
are not the same thing. Your work is generally the company's, so the
style guide is part of the resources you have available. Asking for
a template for your work is asking someone else to do the work that
you or your predecessor are paid to do. Why should you get the pay
and the credit for what you haven't done? And why should I hand you
all of that in return for a brief thank-you?

> Why is it lame? Because someone is trying to do their job without having to re-invent the wheel? <sarcasm>God forbid that we actually cooperate with each other and make life easier all around.</satire>

Cutting and pasting from another manual would save time, too, but
that doesn't mean that you should do it.

Personally, I'm willing to answer questions about what to think
about when designing a template until I'm on my death-bed (well,
almost). I'll also point out finished products that I think are good
examples of what a manual or a brochure or whatever for a particular
product should look like. I'll even discuss design issues as long
(okay, longer) than anyone likes.

But unless someone gives me a consulting fee, I'm not going to hand
them a template - even if I do have the copyright on it, which often
I don't.

There comes a point when generosity means that you are letting
yourself be taken advantage of. Doing someone else's work for free
is far beyond that point.

Bruce Byfield 317.833.0313 bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com
Director of Marketing and Communications,
Progeny Linux Systems

"As through this world I travel, I've met with many men,
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But as through this world you travel, as through this world you
You won't ever see an outlaw drive a family from its home."
-Woody Guthrie, "The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd"

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