Re: Teacher---Andrew hurt my feelings! (longish)

Subject: Re: Teacher---Andrew hurt my feelings! (longish)
From: "Mike O." <obie1121 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 14:30:23 -0700 (PDT)

I agree with Andrew's posts (the calmer ones, anyway) about
professionalism and accepting responsibility for your work. Hell,
that's why I became a TW, because I wanted to live or die by my own
tangible output, instead of some middle manager's subjective feelings
and insinuations about me.

As a junior TW in 1993 I was exactly the lame SME-dependent writer
Andrew describes. I fiddled with fonts, belonged to STC, complained
about user interfaces, and blamed SMEs.

But at some point I had an epiphany about taking responsibility for my
own work. Basically, I got tired of complaining and I wanted to get
some work done. Once you learn to recognize it, the sound of your own
voice whining becomes very unpleasant. I'd prefer to think I came to
this realization on my own, without Andrew's messages. But maybe not.

Now, whenever I think I can't go on without some vital piece of
information from someone else, a little bell goes off in my head and I
try harder to figure it out on my own. It turns out that, once you
learn to read a little code, the coders suddenly become a lot more
helpful. So now I enjoy a minor reputation in my market for being able
to handle the more technical projects.

I've been lurking on this list off and on since around 1995. I think
all of us, whether we admit it or not, have had our minds changed by
Andrew's long-term contributions on this list (first AP post: 1995).
Andrew's message, even if it rankles you, sticks in your mind and
forces you to examine how you go about this kind of work. I think that
kind of presence is a benefit for all of us. If you are new to this
list, when you check your email - Read Andrew First.

And I'm amused that people who regularly delete porn spam without a
twinge are able to go into full Offended mode when they get a message
from Andrew.

BUT..... now that I've spent a few years as a code-reading,
language-learning, respect-earning, responsibility-taking,
foosball-playing, SME-schmoozing, fully enlightened professional, I
still think much of U.S. business has a pathological attitude toward
tech writers, and I reserve the right to point it out whenever I can in
all its nuances.

Mike O.

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