Subject: Alienation
From: Jim Shaeffer <jims -at- spsi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 12:17:57 -0400

For some of us who have jobs as technical writers:

Our users do tasks and jobs that we find boring, banal and
Our users use technologies that are lower tech (less powerful,
less varied, less interesting) than the technologies that we
use to produce the documentation.
The challenge of keeping up with our users' technology is
less than the challenge of doing a moderate crossword puzzle
a day.

We are alienated from the content of our work (and can
muster no passion for that content), so we compensate by
becoming passionate about the formats, the processes and the
technologies that we use to produce the documentation.

We focus on our own technology not because we are lazy and
afraid of the complexity of our users' technology but because
our own technology is so much more complex than our users'
technology and, therefore, it provides the greater mental

What do you think of that diagnosis? What's the prognosis?
What's the prescription?

Jim Shaeffer (jims -at- spsi -dot- com)


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