Re: Lone Writer Struggles - A Horror Rant

Subject: Re: Lone Writer Struggles - A Horror Rant
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 16:18:03 -0800 (PST)

Dude...I feel your pain. About three years ago I recommended writer (who
was an ardent NWU / STC person) to a client. I took my recruiting fee and
the guy turned out to be a grand larceny butthead.

He tried to change everything on day one, argued over every edit, and
sulked in his office never talking to the engineers about anything. EVERY
f-ing thing this guy did had to be mapped, planned, theorized, concepted,
and plotted into his elaborate and utterly nonsensical writing paradigm.

He was so infuriating. He just would not do his job. All he did all day
was plan and fiddle with fonts. God help them if they had hired him during
a crunch. Fortunately they were between cycles so he didn't cause much

Fortunately, my client was very understanding and tolerant. They fired his
ass and I gave them their money back. We got a good person in there and
life has been dandy since.

You got to be careful who you hire. You got to grill the hell out of
people. I torture candidates with this technology test these days. I hate
to do it, but you can't just take people at their word.

In the meantime, sorry about your troubles. Best thing I can recommend is
put her way out in front of you on a project so she can hang herself. Most
morons will hang themselves when presented with nobody else to blame.

Good luck.

Andrew Plato

"Ed Manley" wrote...

> Of course you could do what I did - convince management you need a TW to
> take over various technical documentation tasks.
> They approved the hire.
> I went to the STC (Society of Technical Communicators) and asked for
> candidates.
> Was given some member contacts. Found one ready willing and able.
> Talked to her on the phone. Great - she says she meets all the
> qualifications and has experience with most of my needs.
> Recommended her to my boss.
> She's hired.
> Bills herself as a Word and RoboHelp expert. Knows how to document
> development.
> Two months now.
> She doesn't know a damn thing about documentation. Has no clue what the
> software development lifecycle is or what documents it calls for, much
> how to create them. Has no idea what goes in a Technical Specification,
> how or why one would be created.
> When asked to do anything she acts like she knows what you are asking.
> personable. Very helpful. Sure. Can do. Management thinks she's great.
> operates in secrecy with passwords on her files. Ask to see them and
it's an
> emotional nightmare.
> Ask her how I can assure management that we'll meet deadline if nobody
> see her work. Get "Don't worry about it - I got it under control".
> Asked her how to do something in RoboHelp (I am a novice). She can't
> the document!!!!
> Totally useless - worse - dangerous.
> Now management thinks we got time - there are two of us now so obviously
> can handle more now I have to do it all. I am an anlyst, not a
> writer.
> She has claimed responsibility for my work twice already.
> Spends her day reformatting headers for old documents and "creating a
> documentation plan".
> I have to get this User Guide out by the ifs ands or buts.
> God help me if I ever ask for help again. How can I tell management this
> woman I interviewed and recommended for hire is incompetent? Dishonest?
> there's no way I can work with her? I RECOMMENDED HER!! What's more, I
> a $1500. finders fee for doing so!!
> If you can do it yourself - do it!
> Ed

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