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I've been busy finishing a contract and preparing to move out of Alaska,
so pardon me while I catch up.
On the subject of being nosy--If it's a communal printer and I happen to
see something pertaining to my current task laying in the tray, then I
always give it a quick glance. However, I don't dumpster dive for data.
I don't have too...my cubicle is between the SMEs on one side and the
Section Chief on the other. I learned about a new release of the
application I'm documenting from an impromptu meeting between two SMEs.
I also learned that the budget for contractors was slashed with some
contracting positions (including the lone writer) being either shifted
from full time to part time, or eliminated. Since I had a hunch this
was going to happen, (the budget deficits are tricking down and I work
for a government agency) I had already prepared a proposal to do most of
the writing from my home office. Overhearing that conversation helped me
tune the proposal and deliver it before any personnel adjustment
announcements were made.
Environment--My first writing job (in Benicia, CA) had me positioned
between HR and the software engineering group. I learned early how to
tune things out. That ability was further enhanced when I worked as a
freelance business reporter/magazine editor in Fairbanks, Alaska while
raising two kids as a single parent. I can write with a marching band
practicing outside my cubicle and I often bang the keys while listening
to good old rock and roll. I have also edited technical material and
written magazine articles while camping in the middle of the Interior
wilderness. (My motto is never miss a deadline, but that doesn't mean
you can't enjoy life.) I tend to agree with Karen Zorn that the biggest
problem I have concentrating is not from the noise, but from the aroma
of the Orville Redenbacker Kettle Korn that floats through the cubicles
every afternoon around 4 p.m. Good thing nobody is around to help me eat it.
Al Geist, Geist Associates
From Concept to Completion
Technical Writing, Publishing, Video, Web Design, Graphic Arts
Voice 907-317-3194 Fax 907-622-2321
www.geistassociates.com al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com
<mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
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