RE: working with an inexpereinced writer

Subject: RE: working with an inexpereinced writer
From: "Ladonna Weeks" <ladonna -dot- weeks -at- comtrak -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 13:20:04 -0600

I have a story along these lines.

A tech writer was put on bed rest due to a problem pregnancy. The
department of three was in a deadline mode. Someone in power
foisted on them a woman who had been a trainer but had never
worked as a technical writer. The person doing the foisting had
worked with the person and knew she was a decent writer and was
competent technically. The manager of the group was pretty much
forced to accept the new contractor.

That contractor had a steep learning curve: in addition to
learning the product and the industry, she had never used a Mac,
a mouse, or PageMaker (this was in the early 90s). She spent a
few days getting her feet wet, then the manager gave her an
assignment, which she performed satisfactorily. The assignment
was to write a user manual and training manual for a homemade
scripting language which the customer would use to write
diagnostic scripts on telecommunications equipment. (Later, she
learned that the assignment was so difficult, none of the
experienced writers had been able to accomplish it. The
intention, I believe, was to cause the newbie to be seen as
incompetent and thus to be let go.)

To make a long story short, a few years later, the others in the
department had moved on to other assignments in the company and
that newbie was the sole technical writer (and trainer) present,
still a contractor. And she has been a technical writer since
that time. In case it isn't obvious, I was that newbie. And I'm
still friends with the manager who tried to axe me with the
difficult assignment. :-)

Ladonna Weeks
<mailto:ladonna -dot- weeks -at- comtrak -dot- com> ladonna -dot- weeks -at- comtrak -dot- com
cell: 314-210-1652


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