Re: Writers job description/definition

Subject: Re: Writers job description/definition
From: SB <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Caroline Tabach" <caroline -dot- tabach -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 13:06:15 +0200

My feedback embedded.

On 2/26/08, Caroline Tabach <caroline -dot- tabach -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> Take a step back and try to explain the big picture to us.
> You are the permanent writer,

[SB] I am the permanent writer. I don't have a title but my boss made it
clear that I was in charge of dealing with the freelancer.

Are you also the other person's boss, do you manage them?

[SB] I am not his boss, he is his own boss. He is a freelancer. He will not
touch any document before starting reformatting it to his taste.

Who gives out work?

[SB] Until now, I have given him work. Now, some people have started giving
him work independently and it makes it very difficult to know what he is
working on. I stopped that right away.

Is each person responsible for their own projects or are you also
> responsible for his?

[SB] I am responsible for the whole documentation.

Who hired him?

[SB] I hired him with the management's approval after a major struggle to
convince them that I needed help. I do need more help indeed but it would be
nice if he would start by doing what he is supposed to do first. For
example, it does not matter how much work there is, he will not start
working on a document before he reformats the document to his taste.

and who approves the bills that he sends in?

[SB] Until about a month ago, I was signing the bills. Now my boss does.
They are quite upset at the size of the salary and feel that we could hire
two Technical Writers for that amount. As a freelancer, he does not take so
much actually but at the end of the month and of course with the long hours,
it adds up.

The bills should include only the projects that your company approves
> him doing, so why is someone agreeing to pay for wasted hours.

[SB] It is hard to track what he is doing. This is what he is declaring.
Define wasted hours. To him nothing is wasted and everything is vital.

Sometimes it is hard to tell the person not to work on these extra
> things, is there someone else in the company who can explain that he
> will not be paid for doing unnecessary work?

[SB] Well, we were under so much pressure that I once told him that I didn't
want him to continue developing the template because it was listed every
month on his bill. He did develop a lot of "fancy" things but he set up the
template to his taste. I have not approved it and will not approve it as is.
He will have to do some more work on it. He is very stubborn and very
argumentative about everything and absolutely nothing is easy with him. I
struggled for a long time to keep him on board but I feel that I can't
handle it anymore.

Somewhere up there you should have a boss, who is presumably the
> person who hired him and the person with the power to hire someone
> else instead of him.

[SB] My boss wanted me to do that a long time ago. I was afraid that I would
need to train someone else and I was afraid that they would not know the
tools, which would make things even more complicated. I have so much to do
that I am afraid that it will be even worse. I mean, there is no doubt about
the fact that we are understaffed and that we can't produce high standard
documentation at this rate and I have been trying to get things to improve.
However, it still does not justify that when you know you have a very urgent
project, you first need to reformat everything, which in itself takes a
substantial amount of time (and there is nothing wrong with the original
formatting), then focus on the warnings instead of the contents, and more.

You should make time to have a meeting and present to them why working
> with this person is wasting the company's money and in what way this
> is damaging the company, preventing you form meeting targets etc.

[SB] I have told my boss that it is very difficult form me to be able to
rely on him. Before that, I spoke with him numerous times to try to
cooperate. He always has all these excuses: it was only half an hour, it is
not our responsibility to make sure the document is accurate, etc. And he
does not even get the hard part.

Try to make a list of all the problems you have with this person and
> at some point you will have to say, it is either him or me!

[SB] True, but I can't do that until I have somebody else that knows the
job. I think my boss agrees that this is what needs to be done.

This is not the first string of emails you have written on this
> subject and it is not clear why you are letting this problem continue.

[SB] True.

The only solution is to talk with management, explain you have
> consulted with technical writing colleagues who agree that this person
> is not working as he should.
> Not only that, if you do have management, they should be able to see
> that having 2 writers who do not manage to work well together is not a
> good situation.
> Then, be involved in the hiring process of the next writer.
> Search the archives here for the large number of threads on the
> subject of how to hire a technical writer.

[SB] Thanks Caroline. I really appreciate your feedback. I will definitely
start searching for another technical writer.

On 2/25/08, SB <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> > Well, I don't think that he views this as reduced contribution.
> > He is focused on doing things right. Of course, there is no end to how
> right
> > you can do things. So, he formats and formats and formats his heart's
> > contents. And he proofreads again and again. Of course this is very nice
> but
> > he never meets the deadlines. I don't have the time to proofread what I
> do,
> > partially because most of what he does not do falls back on me.
> >
> > Please forgive me for pouring out my frustration here in so many details
> and
> > sorry for venting; I have just been steaming inside and trying to take
> as
> > much as I could on myself but I realize that he has to be a lone
> technical
> > writer, he has to be able to tell the "others" about the
> professionalism,
> > and he has to be able to do things just the way he wants to do them. I
> am
> > really ready to let go but can't right now.
> >
> > --
> Caroline Tabach
> Technical Writer
> e-mail: caroline -dot- tabach -at- gmail -dot- com

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Writers job description/definition: From: SB
Re: Writers job description/definition: From: Ned Bedinger
Re: Writers job description/definition: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Writers job description/definition: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Writers job description/definition: From: SB
Re: Writers job description/definition: From: Caroline Tabach

Previous by Author: Re: Writers job description/definition
Next by Author: Re: Writers job description/definition
Previous by Thread: Re: Writers job description/definition
Next by Thread: Re: Writers job description/definition

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads