Re: Motivating Older Tech Writers Was Re: Another question to ponder

Subject: Re: Motivating Older Tech Writers Was Re: Another question to ponder
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 2004 13:07:08 +0000

Tony Markos wrote:

While it is true that many older folks lack initiative
because we are too comfortable or too beaten down,
just as many - if not more - of us don't look so
"go-go" because we place a higher priority on planning
and introspection, and resist having our chains
yanked. We have learned the value of such an approach
through experience.

I'm reminded of a comment in Gwyn Dwyer's War series about US Marine boot camp, and how the preference was for soldiers as young as possible. It was possible, the narration said, to teach a thirty-two year old to kill, but it was much harder to make him believe that he liked it.

In the same way, older workers are apt to be more cynical about talk of teamwork or stock-sharing plans, or in the value of putting in hours of unpaid over time. They're more likely to look askance at morale-boosting exercises that seem as though they were taken directly from high-school. They're more likely to read the stock prices or quarterly reports and know exactly where the company stands, and to ask difficult questions at company meetings. In a word, they're harder to manipulate according to the rather outdated ploys suggested in the latest management orient book-of-the-month. Executives have to deal with them on a more equal basis, and that's something that takes more self-confidence than the average person on any level usually has.

As for the idea that older workers have a harder time keeping up, I remember one company where the programmers were all under twenty and scornful of the CTO, who was in his thirties and, so far as they were concerned, long past his prime and full of outdated knowledge. That attitude lasted until several of them pulled an all-nighter, and failed to solve a major problem. The CTO came in, and fixed it in an hour. After that, the programmers rethought their assumptions.

Bruce Byfield

"Oh, do not trust in the guidebooks, you will not find it there,
Nor try to quiz the natives; they scratch their heads and stare,
Official expeditions are forever setting sail,
But if they fall on Liberty Hall, they do not tell the tale."
- OysterBand, "Liberty Hall"


ROBOHELP X5: Featuring Word 2003 support, Content Management, Multi-Author
support, PDF and XML support and much more!

WEBWORKS FINALDRAFT: New! Document review system for Word and FrameMaker
authors. Automatic browser-based drafts with unlimited reviewers. Full
online discussions -- no Web server needed!
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Motivating Older Tech Writers Was Re: Another question to ponder: From: Tony Markos

Previous by Author: Re: Replacing FrameMaker with
Next by Author: Re: Samples Query
Previous by Thread: Motivating Older Tech Writers Was Re: Another question to ponder
Next by Thread: Re: Motivating Older Tech Writers Was Re: Another question to ponder

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads