Re: Techie First or Writer? -Reply

Subject: Re: Techie First or Writer? -Reply
From: Chris Hamilton <chamilton -at- GR -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 09:58:30 -0500

Mike Sechelski wrote:

> process, yet engineers and programmers as a
> whole don't get strapped with ridiculous
> schedules, budgets, and expectations (well
> maybe some do.)

More than some. I think in this entire industry, a lot of people get hit
with that stuff, not just writers. I put in a lot more overtime as a
programmer than I have as a writer. (Maybe part of that is that I have
decided that time with my family is important to me and that you can be
a professional without making work your purpose for existence, but
that's another thread.) I once worked on a project where the programmers
were REQUIRED to put in twelve hour days, seven days a week for a period
of about three months.

I think the assumption that we're the only onces that get nailed with
this stuff is harmful to us. If I were a programmer who just put in a
series of 80-hour weeks and I read this, I'd have little use for
technical writers, too. Like I said, I think these things are abuses of
everyone in the industry, not just us.

> The difference is that
> engineers/programmers/etc are "producers"
> whereas tech comm is an "add-on service"
> that doesn't really produce anything, takes
> up office space and burns electricity to
> produce those d___ manuals that nobody uses
> anyway.

There is some truth to this. Except for Sybex, Que, and a few other
places, the primary product being sold is software (or hardware).
Documentation is a very important auxiliary product, but it is an
auxiliary product. In the project I'm working on now, the loss of a
developer would be a much bigger problem than the loss of me. That's
just how it is sometimes. But they pay me well and treat me okay, so
it's in my interest to stick around. If they didn't, I'd be gone.

Chris Hamilton, Technical Writer
Greenbrier and Russel
chamilton -at- gr -dot- com

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