Friday morning philosophy lesson

Subject: Friday morning philosophy lesson
From: Kat Nagel <kat_nagel -at- rte -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 11:21:38 -0500

Always start your day with a positive attitude and a sense of humor.

Why? It makes it sooo much easier to deal with the project manager who says
at 10 AM: "Give this a quick once-over for consistency. It shouldn't need
much editing, and the customer is expecting it by noon."

"This" is a 30-page consulting report, with sections written by three
different developers and an introduction by the PM. The PM thinks that
active voice is unprofessional, and writes sentences that could be
word-for-word translations from my old German Lit textbook. Two of the
developers write in an aggressive, first-person, in-your-face style. The
third took a creative writing course once, and writes prose that would get
top billing at the Bulwer-Lytton awards banquet, if only it were fiction.

An example from a typical page (by no means the worst, just the one in front
of my nose at the moment):

"Other than the sections on logistics
I would say that the text in the toolkit
section applies here as well. I believe
this true since the authors who wrote the
toolkit have also written the utilities.
Therefore it only makes since that the
code assessment is similar."

Of course, there is no section labeled "Logistics". There is a section
labeled "Something Toolkit" and another labeled "Somethingelse Tool Kit".
One is assessed as being quite good; the other is assessed as being
incomplete and inaccurate.

Consistency? And this is due at noon? <giggle>

I will pull all the bits and pieces into a simple Word template, Select All
and make everything Body Text to get rid of the creative font arrangements.
(Let's see...all Normal style; the text in this one looks like ITC Avant
Guard with occasional words in Arial Black and Comic Sans; headings are
in...Backspatter Drippy ?!?) Then I will make sure the basic heading levels
are assigned properly, build the TOC, link the graphics (2 Visio diagrams,
two WordArt drawings, an EPS file, and an unidentifiable and blurry .bmp
that might be a screen shot of a flow chart---call it Appendix A?).
Finally, I will make sure the date is correct on the cover and in the
mismatched headers and footers, and check it back into VSS before 11:30.

Then I will go to lunch.
Can't wait to see my performance appraisal.

"The transformation of calories into words, of words into money,
and of money into calories again are the three basic cycles in
a...writer's metabolism." from _Poison Pen_ by Mary Kittredge


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October 24-27, 2001 at historic La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

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