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James Barrow <vrfour -at- earthlink -dot- net> asked:
> Has anyone's age been a factor on a tech writing assignment?
Unfortunately, yes. My first job was straight out of college. I had
completed by BA in English with a certification in Professional Writing and
Technical Communication. I was the by-far the youngest in the group. After a
couple of months, my manager started asking me to pick up faxes off the fax
machine for her and xerox copies of potential candidates resumes for the
other interviewers. My admin tasks increased. I didn't mind at first
thinking this was part of being a "team player" but then I noticed that not
ONE of my colleagues EVER got asked to xerox a thing. I brought this up to
my manager. I expressed that this perhaps wasn't the best use of my time.
She responded that if I wanted to "make it" in this industry I better learn
to be a team player. At review time, she highlighted that I needed to be
more of a team player. Fortunately for me, the VP of Engineering saw right
through this and asked her to rewrite it and the other writers in my group
came to bat for me. This manager was let go soon after.
My second job was for a very large company with a great Tech Pubs
department. During my tenure, there was one particular person (who happened
to be an older woman) that would constantly make agist remarks to me. I was
"too young to know this or that archaic, non-existent desktop publishing
software hence I really couldn't grasp X, Y, Z of whatever". I was lucky
again to have other writers come to my aid and we found ways to politely and
quietly stop these comments. I'm not sure, however, if she ever thought it
was possible to "respect" me as a valuable writer.
This being said.... The writers that came to bat for me at my first job were
much older than I. They treated me as a peer and were open to learn
something from *me* without being defensive. These writers were truly
brilliant and I felt lucky to have them as resources. It was a win-win
I hope when I am in this "older" category (I don't even know what that is
anymore) that I can be this kind of colleague.
Anne Allaire Burke
P: (323) 646-5398
F: (323) 782-1957
E: anne_allaire -at- comcast -dot- net
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