Re: About responsibility and fault

Subject: Re: About responsibility and fault
From: "Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting" <mlists -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 18:19:15 -0400

At 8:43 AM -0600 4/6/03, Eric J. Ray wrote:

In my opinion, a core tenet of professional behavior
is taking responsibility for one's own actions and
products. [lots of good stuff snipped for space]
Yes, there are environments with unrealistic deadlines,
political problems, and "challenges" in other respects.
Managing those issues are part and parcel of what a
professional technical writer does.

Thank you, Eric, for saying what I wanted to say---and saying it far better that I would have. I've been so angry at the attitudes expressed in some of the recent posts in this thread that I haven't been able to type a whole sentence in reply without spitting at the monitor and pounding on the keyboard.

C'mon, people. Think about it.

My accountant doesn't whine about schedule slips or complain about other people not doing their jobs when the GPO is late distributing the latest changes in the tax code. She gives me the best advice she has at the moment and, if new information comes along later, she takes responsibility for filing amended returns and shows up at the audit to give reasons---but not excuses---for the original action.

My doctor doesn't blame incompetent pharmaceutical company reps when the samples they left him don't cure my asthma. He prescribes treatment based on the best information he has at the moment. Then he scrounges for any new facts that come along from multiple other sources and triple-checks them against published reports of clinical studies and---if necessary---takes responsibility for changing the treatment. He, too, gives reasons---but not excuses.

We all talk a good line about being 'professionals,' but most of what I've been seeing here lately are excuses for not producing perfect documents. Those conditions or situations may be contributing factors, but they do not excuse us from the responsibility to provide accurate information. Refusing to take responsibility for our work, and blaming others for deficiencies in the products we produce, are not tactics that belong in a professional's repertoire.

Kat Nagel
Owner, MasterWork Consulting Services
Phone: (585) 820-4045 Fax: (585) 244-3565
Business: katnagel -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com
Personal: katnagel -at- bluefrognet -dot- net

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About responsibility and fault: From: Eric J. Ray

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