Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 15 Sep 1996 to 16 Sep 1996

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 15 Sep 1996 to 16 Sep 1996
From: Marilyn Barrett O'Leary <moleary -at- LSUVM -dot- SNCC -dot- LSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 08:01:21 +0100

Moshe gave us a long description and then wrote:
>When does a freelance technical writer say, "Enough; time to go"? I'm
>truly baffled. I've never walked out on a project before.

1. Moshe, you had no formal contract to continue, therefore, you did not
"walk out." Since you are not God, you can't take responsibility for this
company's success or failure. You have not done them a disservice. Quit
beating up on yourself.

2. A freelance technical writer says "Time to go" when his work is not
contributing to the success of the project. Your emotional turmoil, the
poor organization of this project relative to tasks and revisions, the
demands of your superior all point to a project that is not on track. The
team had broken down. Everyone needs to walk away from that project. A new
team needs to salvage the usable parts and start again.

3. The bottom line: No one person is responsible for any project. One of
the most exciting parts of technical writing is that technical writers are
always part of a team. Even when we're pulling an all-nighter alone, and we
think we're carrying the whole load, someone else will take the next step
in the morning. Later, after publication, the product is part of many
teams-and we have no idea who these are or what they are doing with our

Go for the next project, Moshe, and look back only to learn, not to mourn.
It's time to go on - in your job and your life.


Marilyn Barrett O'Leary
Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-7507
moleary -at- lsuvm -dot- sncc -dot- lsu -dot- edu

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