Re: Another question to ponder

Subject: Re: Another question to ponder
From: Norm Dancy <norm -at- navix -dot- jp>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 2004 00:56:45 +0900

A little different aspect of this. I got my position just because I was older. The company that hired me was purposely looking for an older writer. Why? Because they had a client that was producing manuals for home audio/video components that were really bad. Both are Japanese companies. I'm in Japan. The client had their manuals translated in the beginning but then decided that if only a small portion was different they could make the changes and get the manual out all by themselves. Besides producing an increasingly bad product they were very happy with their efforts. The company that sought out and hired me was doing the translations but they were good enough to realize that the manuals were quickly going downhill.

Why were they looking for an older person? The capable writers they had on their staff were below 30 and just not old enough to be able to tell the client that their product was bad and getting worse and that they had to change. The company that hired me felt that someone that was, at the time, close to 50 would have the seniority to be able to tell the client what was wrong, how to fix it and to stress the importance of it all.

It worked. After I was hired I went to the client's factory. Worked for over a year rewriting their manuals and getting rid of boiler-plate passages such as, "Press the Stop button for 0.2 seconds."

I'm not in management but when I do go back out to their factory from time to time they have two workers come to the gate in suit and tie to greet me, they usually wear factory work clothes, and treat me very nice because as they say when they introduce me, "This is Mr. Dancy. He fixed our manuals."

Norm Dancy


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