Re: Jobs Future for Techn

Subject: Re: Jobs Future for Techn
From: Marilynne Smith <m -dot- smith182 -at- GENIE -dot- GEIS -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 02:22:00 UTC

Rick talks about the loss of "history" when you use contractors. I think
that's an important issue, but it isn't just a contractor issue. Companies
are not keeping a full staff of technical writers (a cost issue). Even
"permanent" writers come and go. They may go because of layoff, a better
offer, dissatisfaction (usually overwork), or because they are following a
spouse to a new job. In each case that history is lost.

A manager from one company (permanent job) called me at my next job
(permanent job) to ask how I had planned to do the proceedings of an
upcoming conference. I had discussed my plans with this manager and the
manager previous to her. Seeing their glazed eyes, I had written down
details of the agreed upon plan and stored it carefully in a file. Meeting
my replacement, a know it all type, I had cautioned her that this
information needed to be protected. What did my replacement do? She threw
out all my files as irrelevant, even though they contained history of
ongoing work.

So, what can you do? I told my ex-manager that I had done everything I
could to protect this history, but no one had respected that effort.
Because these plans were detailed and some parts had already been
distributed to presenters, it was more than could be discussed on the phone.
I wasn't asked to come back and help them (probably a cost issue). They had
to punt.

So, what Rick says about preserving project histories is valid, but how can
you do it?

m -dot- smith182 -at- genie -dot- geis -dot- com

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