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: "bryan johnson" <bryan -dot- johnson -at- motoman -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 11:33:10 -0400


I understand your frustration. I had a similar experience with a "writer" whose work was criticize by everyone from Engineering to the janitorial staff. There was a running joke that you could feed your dog a bowl of Alpha-bits cereal and he could crap a better sentence than this guy could write. It was brutal. They even began calling him Johnny-no-stars. Defined as: A young man of substandard intelligence, the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant. The 'no-stars' comes from the badges displaying stars that staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their level of training.

Anyway, our overworked manager (a marketing manager whom we were dumped on) didn't want anything to do with documentation and didn't want to go through the painful and lengthy process of firing him. Besides, he was a "nice guy" and the unfortunate editors fixed all the problems before shipment, so there were no customer complaints. So he continued to linger on.

The main thing I learned from this whole unpleasant experience, was to not define myself by my job or department. This was a very difficult lesson for me. I had worked very hard, along with others, to raise the departments reputation to a very high level and I took it personally when this individual began to tarnish that reputation. I felt that if this individual gave the department a bad reputation, it would make it more difficult for me when gathering information from those SME's whose only exposure to Tech Pubs was with Johnny. So far this has not been the case. My personal reputation in the company has not been tarnished along with the department.

So I guess my advice would be to document everything and keep your work as far removed from his as possible. Just do the best with what you have and leave the rest to those in charge.

Best of luck to you,

Bryan K. Johnson
Technical Communications Specialist
Motoman Inc.
(937) 847-3407

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