Re: SURVEY RESULTS (LONG)

Subject: Re: SURVEY RESULTS (LONG)
From: Marilynne Smith <mrsmith -at- CTS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 1996 22:34:00 PDT

At 03:53 PM 4/17/96 GMT, Bernard A. McCann wrote:
<snip snip snip>

>May I sincerely thank those who responded and I look forward to producing
>a less ambiguous survey at a later date. Meanwhile, I hope that some
>"employers" will seriously think more about technical writer job
>descriptions, ie very few technical (as in engineering and science)
>writers are highly qualified editors and electronic publishing operators,
>and it is unlikely that a writer will attain "senior" status with only
>three years experience.

>Bernie
>bi975 -at- freenet -dot- carleton -dot- ca

Bernie

It almost sounds like you used the survey to support a pre-existing opinion.

1. I use a lot of different tools because my employers demand them. If
they have to pay for training, that is, time spent on the job learning a
tool, it's because they chose the tool. I just learn it to please my employer.

2. Don't underestimate the number of tools a writer is required to use.
Today I used OS/2 and Windows, two different screen capture programs (one
for each operating system), a graphics program, a mail program on the
mainframe, and an early version of the product I am documenting. I'm
actually writing the book in WordPerfect.

3. If I don't know it, I'm expected to learn it. If it doesn't work, I'm
expected to find a solution - and be quick about it.

In my experience, my current situation is not unique. In a previous job I
had to use many different programs. I estimated that I spent about 60% of
my day on that job just using the software, not writing anything.

>very few technical (as in engineering and science)
>writers are highly qualified editors and electronic publishing operators,

I am a highly qualified editor (one crackerjack of an editor) and
electronic publishing operator (well, not expert, but pretty good).

>and it is unlikely that a writer will attain "senior" status with only
>three years experience.

Guess what? I agree with you here. Not only that, but with brand new
writers, your chances are good that their writing and editing won't be very
good. It does take a while to develop the necessary skills. I'd put the
minimum at 5 years, but the more the better.

Thanks for being honest about the survey. It always helps to have the other
person's point of view.

Marilynne
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mrsmith -at- cts -dot- com
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