Re: Reorganization Questions

Subject: Re: Reorganization Questions
From: Yvonne Harrison <yvonne -at- IHUG -dot- CO -dot- NZ>
Date: Fri, 6 Sep 1996 07:19:54 +1300

Unfortunately the entire Reorganization question comes down to one thing:
does the company you work for value their technical writer(s)?

Sadly, many companies do not. Writing a manual is seen as a necessary evil
that is more expensive than they'd like and can be just plain annoying when
technical writers start coming over to coders and going - 'guys I've been
trying to use that feature and it seems to still be buggy to me'.

You can try turning the employer around, showing him how a good piece of
documentation saves money by reducing support calls etc, etc, etc.... but
most of the time it will be like talking to a brick wall because writing is
perceived by some ego bound managers as easy. After all, they wrote papers
in University. They write memos all the time. Why is technical writing any
different? The most frequent argument I hear back from managers when I want
to go and hire an extra writer or get an editor is: 'well <insert personal
assistant's name here> isn't busy - she could do that for you when s/he's not
doing my typing'. I can explain until I'm blue in the face but a lot of time
it doesn't shift anyone's perceptions. Technical writing is like typing a
memo - only bigger.

I have *yet* to wind up in a company that is behind the technical writer
100%. Some of my client's are better than others but all seem to go by the
rule that technical writing is easy because it took their star coder 1 hour
to churn out 2 pages of tatty, badly spelt, horribly worded instructions that
don't even explain what the user wants to know.

If you're in a company that values its writers and gives you the tools you
need then you are very lucky - I'd advise staying there until you retire :-)

Yvonne :-)

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