Subject: Re: EGOS
From: "Diane Boos" <dboos -at- drizzle -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 08:48:35 -0800

Parul Agarwal wrote:
> This sounded so much like I go through in my current
> org. I was of the opinion that I was facing this
> 'cause of the 'Indian' mentality. But now I guess this
> holds true for many of us in this field (whatever the
> nationality).

No nationality or ethic status isn't the cause of the problem. Some can be
related to gender discrimination but not all. I've had other women display
the same attitudes so that's not the root of the problem. It's not just
managers either because I've had non-managers play that game. Nor is it just

When I was on a Boeing contract, about 5 managers/supervisors and I
discussed this problem. Their perception of what a TW did was based upon
what they "saw." To them the documents "looked pretty" (their comment, not
mine). I countered with a series of questions: can you find the information
you want/need; is that information easy to understand/use; does the
information fit the purpose/need you have; is the information simple and
complex enough to do the job for a novice or an advanced user; is the
information accurate; what's the target audience, its needs/requirements;
what is needed for the information to have impact; etc. It made them stop
and think. I pointed out that good documentation will have structured the
data in a way that it seems seamless for the output and will have answered
those questions in the backend. Good documentation will look simple and easy
to the user but involves much more underneath. I suggested to those
managers/supervisors that a good TW manages the target audience like they
did their employees. That analogy finally got some light bulbs going.

I've come to think the roots of problem is because of TWers. Rather than
defining ourselves, we allow others to define us. That can and has led to
misconceptions about what technical communication is. I think we need to be
more proactive in defining ourselves.



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