Re: Respect or no?

Subject: Re: Respect or no?
From: Chris Hamilton <chamilton -at- GR -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 10:50:09 -0500

Just a few thoughts on this.

1. Most companies make money on something other than the documentation.
Even if your company creates software, it is the software that makes the
money, not the documentation. Documentation is probably the most
important supporting product, but the software is what people buy. (For
example, did you go out and buy Windows '95 [which came with
documentation] or did you go out and buy Windows '95 documentation
[which came with software]?)

2. Among really technical people, there is often a disdain for
non-technical people. As technical writers spend their time writing and
dealing with documentation issues, they cannot, for the most part, match
wits with a programmer in the environment the programmer functions.
We're not technical to them. (Although we may be technical wannabes in
some eyes.)

3. Even in situations where I am respected as a thorough person who
cares about the goals of the team, I'm seen as a peripheral part of the
team (see reasons 1 and 2), like maybe a punter or kicker on a football
team. Kickers are real important, but they generally aren't thought of
as football players.

I've been doing this for six years, but for the first four I've been
viewed as a programmer who writes or an instructor who writes (even
though I've disagreed). I guess I'm starting to accept the fact that
I'll be viewed as somehow separate. Fine. They pay meand they treat me
okay and the work's not bad. Even though I'm maybe separate, I'm still
pretty lucky.

Chris Hamilton, Technical Writer
Greenbrier and Russel
chamilton -at- gr -dot- com
From way downtown, !

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