RE: Quote of the Day

Subject: RE: Quote of the Day
From: "Sharon Burton" <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>
To: "Ladonna Weeks" <ladonna -dot- weeks -at- comtrak -dot- com>, "'Jim Barrow'" <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 11:34:48 -0700

Long and windy road. I just left an employer, in part, because I couldn't
get them to see that, yes, indeed, if you have some 150 developers and are
releasing products at this pace, you need at least 25 writers and here's how
they get assigned. Or we reduce the docs delivered and deal with the
increase in support calls. I'm good either way, just tell me what you want.

I prefer to think of scribe in the Mesoamerican tradition - the Scribe wrote
the court history as it happened. He - and it probably was a he - is
depicted as a rabbit on Mayan iconography. Pretty cool. It was terribly
important to have the scribe writer the documents to verify and justify the
current king/queen and that all was right with the world. Of course, the
royalty was running long sharp thorns thru their penises or tongues to give
blood to the gods. Then again, I've been on projects where that was going
on, so it's not that different. I'd rather be documenting than participating
in any case.

But to fix this? The next person who snaps says something like that, I'd
come right back with "Code monkey, just go code that". If they complain, I'd
nicely explain that these are similar things to say and both show a lack of
professional respect. Which, in the workplace, is out of line.

And if it continues, consider going to the Boss and explain that we are on
the edge of a hostile work environment and I'm sure no one means to be doing
that but it's incredibly disrespectful and rude and making it hard to come
to work. Would they use racial epithets? Then why are they OK with acting in
a demeaning manner about your profession?


Sharon Burton
CEO, Anthrobytes Consulting

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Barrow [mailto:vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net]
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 9:23 AM
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

"A scribe (or scrivener) is an ancient professional...usually
involv[ing] secretarial and administrative duties such as taking
of dictation." [shudder]

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., 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 developed. </rant>

- Jim


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RE: Quote of the Day: From: Ladonna Weeks

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