Re: Fwd: Acceptance of Mediocre Documentation

Subject: Re: Fwd: Acceptance of Mediocre Documentation
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 16:16:18 -0700

On Tue, 2005-05-24 at 14:47 -0700, Anonymous Poster wrote:

> Ive racked my brain as to why wouldnt the PTB want
> clearer, more effective documentation.

Very likely, I'm afraid, because your boss doesn't consider
documentation important. That's something that is very easy for anyone
to overlook -- the fact that what is important to them isn't important
to other people. However, at a lot of companies, interest in
documentation doesn't extend beyond whether anyone is working on it.

Sometimes, the interest doesn't go that far. One company at which I
finished tech-writing for last July still hasn't hired another writer,
even though it has had software releases since.

> How do the rest of you deal with praise and/or
> acceptance for underachieving performance and mediocre
> documentation?

You have three basic choices: Work to change everyone's mind, move on,
or accept the way things are and find some hobbies to make up for the
boredom of work.

Thousands of people learn to accept, but you don't sound like the type.
Working to change everyone's mind will keep you stimulated, but it is
also likely to leave you frustrated at times, and may not succeed.
Still, moving on may be hard to do right away, so you might want to try
it for a while.

> Should I expect this attitude in a
> corporate environment and seriously consider other
> options such as consulting?

The attitude you describe is one of the reasons I generally consult, and
have expanded beyond tech-writing. The funny thing about consulting is
that, once you're not part of the company, people tend to treat your
ideas more seriously. But it does have the advantage that you don't have
to deal with indifference very much. You're focused on the job you set
out to do, and, once you've done it, you can move on to the next one.
So, possibly, consulting might suit you very well.

> Am I being overzealous
> because I want things clearer, more usable?

No, but perhaps you expect things to change too quickly. You've only
been at the company a month. Put the company on probation, just as it
probably has you. Give it at least three months before you decide to
move on before making any decisions. If nothing else, you're at least
feel more confident that you're doing the right thing.

Bruce Byfield 604-421.7177


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Fwd: Acceptance of Mediocre Documentation: From: Anonymous Poster

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