HUMOR: Tech Writer's Certification Test

Subject: HUMOR: Tech Writer's Certification Test
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 00:17:33 -0700 (PDT)

Tee hee.

---Technical Communications Certification Test---
--- From the DeYork Institute for the Betterment of Human Whateverism---

Please answer the following questions honestly, you are being monitored.


Your Name:____________________
Your REAL Name: __________________________
Your Name without the "master of all he/she writes" suffix:___________

Your title:__________________
What you REALLY do all day____________________________
(Eating pork flavored cubes and spraying Fabreze on the cubicle walls does
not count as "skilled labor")

Your employer:___________________
Your Previous Employer:________________
Years since you left the "hydro-thermic ceramic technician"

Your professional goals:_____________________
Your professional goals that won't make people laugh hysterically:________

School Attended: __________________
School Attended where you didn't have "nap time" every few
Classes took:______________________________
Percentage of time you were sober during class:_____________________
Percentage of time you were sober at work:_______________________


1. Are you willing to spend the rest of your life pecking out
incomprehensible manuals for illiterate, subhumans? For hostile aliens?
For people who think its clever to use the word "write" in place of

2. How often do you have to rotate the prepositions on a gerund? Change
the tense filter? Get a new torque verb installed? Evacuate your

3. Are you generally considered dull, unpleasant, or smelly?

4. Can you accurately use the word "ubiquitous" in a sentence that makes
sense to someone outside the marketing department.

5. Develop a comprehensive on-line help system for a new enterprise
database system using a piece of chalk and a head of lettuce. You have
three days and must submit a status report every hour.

6. Can you recite all the fonts in the alphabet?

7. Does working on a large, complex FrameMaker template make you horny?
Sweaty? Sleepy? Grumpy? Doc? Sneezy? Dopey?

8. Write a massive technical reference manual about an esoteric, rarely
used, and universally loathed programming interface in a week. Errors will
not be tolerated. You must work with a SME who cannot speak, hates your
gender, and smells like warm baloney.

9. A SME approaches you and complains about the quality of a document you
wrote. What do you do?

A) Explain that it must have been that invisible "Not Me" blob who follows
Billy around that wrote those errors.
B) Listen carefully to his/her complaints and then humbly admit you are
pond scum, unworthy of their greatness and snappy sense of style.
C) Say to the SME "Quit Scully-ing me."
D) Develop an esoteric documentation methodology and give it a cute name
like "STACEE" or "Chunkizer".
E) Quit your job and become a shark hunter.

10. You are assigned to a project that is painfully boring, excruciatingly
mismanaged, horribly under-funded, and occasionally deadly. What do you

A) Explain to your manager that this violates some inalienable right you
B) Crack, babes, and booze!
C) Work hard to make the world a better place.
D) Complain and whine everyday to the person in the next cube about stupid
everyone is and how you have worked in the industry forever and know
E) Pray to God for a reorganization.

11. State your feelings in 100,000,000 words or less how you feel about
one or two spaces after a period.

12. Two tech writers are traveling at 110 kph. It is a Wednesday and there
are two crows pecking away at a dead rat in the middle of the street. The
first tech writer leaves the bathroom on his way to the weekly status
meeting. The second tech writer leaves the kitchen on her way to the same
meeting. If the first writer is interrupted by a belligerent QA dork and
the second writer is attacked by blathering, incompetent vice president,
compute the odds of either writer being able to reproduce without serious
birth defects. Use the formula:

Meeting (crows + vice presidents)
QA dorks (management buzz words - velocity)

13. What did you do with your last copy of that magazine STC sends you.

A) I'm a member of STC?
B) Made nice warm fire for potential mate, engaged in sexual activity,
ruined life forever.
C) I Read it cover to cover extracting amazing insights such as "How to
Milk Clients for More Money When You're Diagnosed Clinically Brain Dead
after a Serious Car Accident." and "The Amazing World of the Letter 'N'"
and "The IRQ and You: How Hardware Interrupts Have Hurt the Timeless Art
of Communication."
D) I left it in the men's room at a rest stop.

14. Are you or have you ever been a member of an executive review

15. When confronted with a user interface that is confusing or causes
brain cancer, what do you do.

A) Wrap a warm towel around my head.
B) Immediately demand to be promoted to a position with the title
"Concerned Advocate for the Tender Users."
C) Point gun a foot, pull trigger.
D) Open a "web portal" and get 97 billion in VC money.
E) Eat more fiber in an effort to ward off the tumors.

16. Do you enjoy obsessing over the mundane? Aggrandizing the trivial?
Fussing over nonsense?

17. Is your soul in torment? Your shakrahs out of balance? Your aura in
flux? Your fabric softener not giving you that spring fresh feeling?

18. Tell me now how do I feel? Am I getting fat?

19. Do you have a really bizarre hobby like collecting pizza boxes or
genetic engineering?

20. Do you like it when you make people feel dumb? Are you currently dumb?

Thank you for your interest in being a technical communicator. Your
results will be tabulated and locked in a vault in South Carolina. If you
wish to know your results, send $129.99 to the DeYork Institute. Cash only
please. Your results will be mailed to you in 6 to 8 gallons. Don't call
us, we'll call you.

The DeYork Institute is not responsible for death, dismemberment, or
general protection faults due to your decision to be a technical writer.
By taking this test you agree not to hold DeYork Institute liable for any
homicidal tendencies or changes in your genetic composition. Those who are
currently or considering illicit drug use are advised to buy some firearms
and move to a trailer park. In the event of a serious outbreak, Wildfire
is equipped with a nuclear device. Your mileage may vary. Do not touch the
glass, the snakes are depressed.

Have a nice day.

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