RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)

Subject: RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)
From: "Glenn Maxey" <glenn -dot- maxey -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 12:42:22 -0600

Bruce is hitting the nail on the head with his comments. In fact, he
probably made John's lying unwarranted. At my present employer, we ask
questions that relate to the tools. We probably would have stumbled upon
John's weakness and made him sweat. Not knowing the tool would not have
excluded him from the job. We were more interested in his reasoning/thinking

Hence, a better tact would have been honesty. "I don't know FM, but I do
know X, Y, and Z... I can write... It's the nature of my job as a technical
writer to always be learning new things in order to document them. Learning
a new tool for the job isn't a problem."

I applied and was hired by my employer two jobs ago sight unseen and only on
the strength of my telephone interview, resume, and sample online help
system (also with my resume). They were using Interleaf, which I didn't
know. But I did know WordPerfect and Word for Windows (and the Mac). I knew
what I wanted to accomplish and felt confident I could learn the new tool. I
was honest about my tool knowledge and it didn't hamper my getting the job
or my ability on the job.

My employer one job ago was using FrameMaker. I had only "evaluated"
FrameMaker but never used it in production. I told them the same thing. "I
don't know it, but can learn it."

Turns out, I ended up with a better grasp of FrameMaker than either of my
two colleagues, both of whom went to FM training in Munchen. My experience
with the other tools were directly applicable.

Glenn Maxey
Voyant Technologies, Inc.
Tel. +1 303.223.5164
Fax. +1 303.223.5275
glenn -dot- maxey -at- voyanttech -dot- com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-58477 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-58477 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Bruce
> Byfield
> Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 7:18 AM
> Cc: Jeff Hanvey; TECHWR-L
> Subject: Re: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)
> John Posada wrote:
> > I only ask this because I did something similar to this. I
> > interviewed on Friday, they asked about it...I said I knew it (I
> > shoot me), I went home and ordered it for Sat delivery, by
> > Monday I was at the job and productive.


> You don't need to know specific tools. But you do need to know what to
> expect in general category of tools. For example, if you are working
> with a word processor, you should expect to find some implementation of
> paragraph styles. For a typographical program, you might expect kerning
> tools. For on-line help for Windows - well, you get my drift. If you
> know what features should be there, you can learn a new tool in that
> general category fairly painlessly.
> Partly, John may have been able to carry out his bluff because he was a
> quick study. But I suspect that a large reason was that he knew what to
> expect in FrameMaker, even though he had never used it.


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Re: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer): From: Bruce Byfield

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