Re: Do'ers and Doubters (was observation about engineers)

Subject: Re: Do'ers and Doubters (was observation about engineers)
From: "Lisa Bronson" <Lisa -dot- Bronson -at- ipaper -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 08:22:28 -0500

Andrew Plato wrote:

> Tech writers are a diverse batch - there is no question about that.
> However, I find that GOOD tech writers tend to be goal oriented AND good
> problem solvers. However, MOST tech writers are neither. They are just
> slugs that suck up useful air. But that is true of people in general.
> people are slugs.

And Bonnie Granat replied:

> I think that most people are kind, decent, smart, and hardworking.

That reminds me of a story I heard (and yes, at the end, there will be a
definite tech writing tie-in):

Once there was a farmer who lived near a small city. One day, a man
driving along the road stopped and asked the farmer if he knew what the
people were like in that city.

"Well," the farmer responded, "what were the people like in the place you

The man scowled, and rapidly fired out, "They were awful, just awful!
Every single one of them was greedy, only looking out for themselves. They
were unfriendly and unhelpful. They were cheaters and liars. They were
the laziest bunch you'd ever meet. That's why I left, to find a place with
better people. I couldn't wait to get out of there!"

The farmer stroked his chin and shook his head. "Well, sir, I'm sorry to
tell you this, but I'm afraid you'll find the people in this city just the
same." The man, angered by this response, shot off down the road in a
cloud of dust.

A few days later, the same farmer was approached by another man, who, along
with his wife, was moving to the same small city.

"Excuse me, sir," the man began. "Could you tell us what the people are
like in that city?"

"Well," the farmer responded, "what were the people like in the place you

"Oh, they were wonderful!" the man responded. His wife, nodding
vigorously, added, "They were the best people you could ever hope to meet.
They were kind, decent, helpful, cheerful, hardworking folk."

"We hated to leave," the couple said in unison.

The farmer stroked his chin, and nodded his head with a smile. "Well," he
said, "I'm happy to tell you that you will find the people in that city
just the same."

The promised tech writing tie-in is that when I approach SME's for
information, I do so anticipating that they will be willing to provide the
information I request. I seldom have trouble getting the information I
need from them. When I do have trouble, it isn't because they are
unwilling, but either because they don't have the information to give, or
the powers that be have imposed impossible deadlines on them, such that
they have no time left for me. But for the most part, the SME's are
willing to help me, and give me the information I need in a timely manner.

I have watched co-workers approach the same SME's, but with the
anticipation that they will be rejected, that the SME won't have/take time
to help them. They continually remark that those SME's are unhelpful,
unwilling, un-whatever-else.

The importance of attitude has become such a cliche that many people
(myslef included, until recently) have begun to ignore comments about it.
I suggest that you don't ignore it. Your attitude speaks louder than the
words you say. And everywhere you go, it goes with you, whether you invite
it along or not.

Have a wonderful week,

Lisa Bronson

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