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Subject:RE: Quote of the Day From:"Gordon McLean" <Gordon -dot- McLean -at- GrahamTechnology -dot- com> To:<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Tue, 28 Aug 2007 15:35:41 +0100
"how long does it take them to stop referring to us as "scribes"?"
Forever. You won't change these people. Rise above them and make sure
everyone else understands the values you bring to the organisation.
Demonstrate it daily, and push back any "can you pretty this up" requests.
From: techwr-l-bounces+gordon -dot- mclean=grahamtechnology -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+gordon -dot- mclean=grahamtechnology -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- c
om] On Behalf Of Jim Barrow
Sent: 28 August 2007 15:23
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Quote of the Day
"Writing is not a profession, but a vocation of unhappiness."
-- Georges Simenon
If I had to boil the following rant down to a simple question, it would be:
How long does it take for a business to treat technical writing as a
respected profession? More specifically, how long does it take them to stop
referring to us as "scribes"?
There are 70 people in our department. Twenty-five of these know that a
portion of their success is due to the documents that the Tech Pubs
department has produced. Forty of these people view tech writers as people
who take documents and "make them pretty" (dot this, cross that, use a
pretty font, etc.). Five of these people refer to us as "scribes". I can't
stand that term. From Wikipedia:
"A scribe (or scrivener) is an ancient professional...usually involv[ing]
secretarial and administrative duties such as taking of dictation."
Four of the people who refer to us as scribes are developers who all but
have outright contempt for technical writers. Their "scribe" comments used
to get muttered under their breath. After a recent all-hands meeting, in
which a senior VP referred to us as scribes, these developers started
walking around snapping, "Hey, tech writer, go scribe; jot that down".
My manager is disgusted and wants to call a meeting. He wants to spend an
hour extolling the virtues of the tech writers. Uh...no, I can't subscribe
to this approach.
Personally, I find this demoralizing, especially when I see these same
developers getting praised for a job-well-done after creating
software...using the technical specifications that the tech writers
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