Re: First days and weeks on the tech writing job

Subject: Re: First days and weeks on the tech writing job
From: Nina Rogers <janina -dot- rogers -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2018 21:21:33 -0400

Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone! I've purposely pushed to hire a
self-starter that I can turn loose, and we are interviewing people who are
seasoned tech writers with 10-20 years of experience behind them. We need
someone who can learn the software quickly and start writing. The current
plan has the tech writer starting on their first article during Week 2, to
be be completed and submitted for feedback by Week 4. The people who
designed the plan are not tech writers, and their experience has been
solely bringing on people who are just out of college for customer service
roles, so the result is a plan that is all wrong. I'm going to present an
alternate plan to them on Friday and will point out the reasons that the
current one is a bad idea.

The public and private feedback I'm receiving here is helping me to realize
that my instincts are good and that I'm not crazy.

Nina

On Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 8:40 PM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
wrote:

> This is a junior person? I'd have to interview them before I would
> have a clue how fast they could get up to speed.
>
> I've always hired self-starters and turned them loose, but by
> definition that's a senior person.
>
> On Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 9:55 AM, Nina Rogers <janina -dot- rogers -at- gmail -dot- com>
> wrote:
> > Hello! We are hiring a technical writer, and my company is working on
> their
> > "onboarding" schedule. (This is the first time they have hired someone
> in a
> > tech-writing capacity. I was hired for another position and morphed my
> way
> > to tech writer.)
> >
> > I was not included in the planning sessions for onboarding (yes, I'm kind
> > of bitter about that) and have been asked to review the onboarding
> > schedule, now that it's been written. I have some suggestions to change
> it
> > (oh, do I have suggestions), but I'd like to ask the folks here first: If
> > you are a tech writer with a company (i.e., not an independent
> contractor),
> > what were your first few days and weeks on the job like? Did you spend a
> > few weeks gaining knowledge of the software (or whatever you were writing
> > about) before you were let loose to start writing articles, or did you
> > pretty much dive in and learn as you go? How much oversight did you get
> > from a manager/supervisor before you stopped needing close oversight?
> >
> > I'm particularly hearing from people who have hired/onboarded junior
> > technical writers. Like I said, I have lots of opinions about how the
> > onboarding process should be changed, but I also don't want to offer
> "just
> > my opinion." If any of you (particularly documentation managers) can
> offer
> > some insights to help me see if I'm on (or off) track, I would appreciate
> > it.
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First days and weeks on the tech writing job: From: Nina Rogers

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