RE: What Would You Do with a Writer Who Can't Write?

Subject: RE: What Would You Do with a Writer Who Can't Write?
From: "David Locke" <dlocke -at- texas -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 01:09:44 -0500


The attitudes of the manager who wants to think that it's not brain surgery
show up in the documentation and did so before you took the job. I've seen
this enough times to know that when I see bad documentation in an interview
that I am seeing bad managers. I've had managers that deliberately sabotaged
the work, lie about content, and deliberately hired incompetents. There
isn't anything you can do about it. When he told me he, the company, didn't
care about doc, I should have walked. But, I stayed and fought on for more
than a year before leaving. The best defense is to detect it going in and
just saying no. Once you take the job, then you have to do what they say. If
they want Motel Joe's writing, then by all means follow the Motel Joe
Stylebook as approved by management.

I image that after Bruce left that job, they didn't give him a good
recommendation either. I had to go over my manager's head and got a great
reference from his boss, the boss that took responsibility for documentation
away from him. So to stay out of trouble, or to keep yourself from
committing career suicide, make sure that the person hiring and your future
employer actually care about doc. Interview them as hard as they interview
you. And, be prepared to turn down work. Yes, even now in this economy,
because your future depends on it.

A lot of times, the only reason there is a job opening is that your
predecessor quit. Surveys show that 85% of the time people quit, they quit
to leave their manager. In this case your predecessor probably quit, so they
didn't have to deal with the manager that will be making your job impossible
to do. Don't ever think that your predecessor was incompetent. If that were
the case, the manager would have fired them, instead of allowing poor
documentation to persist.

I know it is hard for a manager to admit they made a mistake and fire an
incompetent hire. It's an ego thing. This is why you don't want to bring it
up. You can't win by pointing out a mistake a manager made.

I do remember a doc manager that wanted us to approve his hiring of a
candidate. He told the candidate all about us, so he could stroke us. The
other writers complained about the typos on his resume. But, he was going to
be hired anyway. He turned out good work, but took a few shortcuts. And,
years after I left, went on to become the doc manager. What you do is more
important to your career than the things other people do.

David W. Locke





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References:
Re: What Would You Do with a Writer Who Can't Write?: From: Bruce Byfield

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