Re: "Linux is now not supported"

Subject: Re: "Linux is now not supported"
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 12:52:47 -0800

Going with my Sunday feeling, I want to now leap through a burning ring of fire and attempt to rescue this hypothetical poor unfortunate tech writer from ignominy and oblivion by revisiting, with commentary, the terms evoked by Posada's poser.

1. John is describing a top-down decision-making organization. Many of us do not have that experience (strong top-down organizational structure), and our preference for a more horizontally-inspired organization is perfectly clear, but dear colleagues let us not escape into fantasy by making the subject tech writer over into a someone somewhere else. This question does not pose a situation that admits a tech writer who can suddenly come into the light, consult with project mavens to test or verify the news, or arrange an ad hoc huddle of managers. Eaux contraires! This writer apparently only tools info into documents, and is not an integrated team member with whom the project managers share anything, let alone on Friday afternoon when they are unreachable by email, voicemail, or office visit. If you accept this interpretation, go to point #3.

2. The decision makers obviously do not consider Tech Writing to be a stakeholder of any consequence (so see point #1). This is clearly implied by the question, or at worst competes effectively with one alternative interpretation: the department knew about the change but didn't tell the tech writer. If the interviewer put me into that alternative situation, I'd draw out an ooky face while mulling whether to strip to my Superman underwear and give the performance of my life, or just gather my stuff and spend the morning doing the NYT Crossword at the corner Chock Full O' Not counter. How to choose, with so much savory fun just moments away?

3. Solutions that propose that this (now) heroic tech writer will jumpstart a cross-functional management-level investigation are, ha ha, comic book fantasy ha ha for interviewers. Plausible developments do spring from this genre of solutions--consider diverting the discussion into the 'graphic novels as effective instructional design' theme, and tell the interviewer of plans to create a comic book that teaches the organization how to use tech writers effectively. The interviewer will be speechless! Now is the time to deliver the kicker: Lokk upward, to the left as you describe your plans to have the comic localized for overseas offices, and serialized with monthly installments to cover the entire documentation cycle. ...

4. My provincial reading of the between-the-lines context of this question, and this has been brought out by so many management-inspired answers to date, is if you want the job, read the interviewer and give a beauty queen's answer. If you don't want the job, give them the truth of the matter. This is what we're tumbling to, a management lovefest at the expense of techwriters? Dammit Posada! Before this thread goes totally off the Bogusity scale, post the right answer, will ya??

Thanks in advance,

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com

John Posada wrote:

"It's Friday afternoon, your four 200-page document PDFs are on the
FinalPDF server to be picked up by the build server, the build is
Saturday morning, and you heard that Linux is now not supported. Tell me
what you do in the first 15 minutes."


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RE: "Linux is now not supported": From: John Posada
Re: "Linux is now not supported": From: Gene Kim-Eng

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