Those darned tech writers!

Subject: Those darned tech writers!
From: nancy ott <ott -at- ANSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 1994 10:21:18 EDT

> > A number
> > of people I know just say "I'm a writer," and I'm starting to do
> > the same among certain kinds of crowds. The person almost inevitably
> > asks, "Oh, what do you write?" and you can then tailor your answer
> > to your estimation of the person's experience.

> I'd like to, but it kind of feels like cheating. I mean, I hardly ever
> wear my tweed jacket, and I don't smoke a pipe.

Well, I'm starting to do this. I have disregarded any feelings of
guilt over not being tweedy or artsy enough. I own several
thrift-store tweed blazers and black turtlenecks (and I even bought a
beret at an army-navy surplus store), so I can certainly dress the
part if I feel like it! 8-)

Anyhow, I used to tell people that I was a technical writer. They'd
either (a) look at me in puzzlement, visibly wondering why on earth
someone would want to do this, (b) scold me for not doing "real"
writing, (c) berate me because they can't understand the manual that
came with their badly-designed VCR, or (d) ask me how to install an
update package for a computer game, get their mouse working in DOS
packages, and so forth.

Now I just say, "I'm a writer. I write computer manuals for money and
poetry for fun." This usually satisfies the coffee shop and cocktail
party crowd, and people who are seriously interested in either poetry
or technical communication have an opening which they can use to
continue the conversation.

[coffee-shop conversation about technical writing deleted]

> But my last comment seals it up: "I get paid a whole lot of money,
> and I can dress any way I want to and I don't have to be at work by nine."

I like this line! OK if I use it? After all, I'm part of the
slacking, under-achieving X generation, and we do have some standards
to uphold! ;-)

- nancy

nancy ott....Ansoft Corporation....Pittsburgh, PA -dot- -dot- -dot- -dot- ott -at- ansoft -dot- com
We're the X Generation/And all we do is complain
- Ben Stiller

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