RE: Could you possibly be a chimp?

Subject: RE: Could you possibly be a chimp?
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 08:29:23 -0800 (PST)

Keith Cronin wrote:
<<I pose my what-if question. What if you get asked to document something about which you are not knowledgable?>>

Hi all.

I just wanted to point out that I'm in this situation on a daily basis. I work for a comapny that produces database back-end software for governments. In the year that I've been here, I've had to document software that is used to track accident investigation information, government accounting standards, pavement insepctions and so forth. I knew nothing about these topics, so I had to learn, and learn quickly. I got my first job with no technical writing experience and no real knowledge of videography. I got the job because I had a positive attitude and I was enthusiastic and I was honest (that's what my manager told me later at least).

My attitude has always been if you don't know something, you learn it, especially when it's a necessary part of your job. Having a "can-do" attitude about things helps too, as Margaret pointed out. You may get passed up for some jobs because you don't know a certain topic, but I don't think that would happen every time. And if you're in a job where you're expected to document something you don't know about, do what Keith did, and what I do, buy books, go online and learn. :-) As far as basing someone's technical writing ability on how many programming languages they know, that doesn't mean anything when you're writing for people that measure how far a body is vaulted by a speeding automobile.

Sean Hower

technical writer

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