Personal Standards

Subject: Personal Standards
From: "MacDonald, Alexander G. AP" <macdoag -at- HPDAPP03 -dot- HPDAP -dot- MSMAIL -dot- ABBOTT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 10:07:00 DST

Lower your personal standards. I've known two or three people with high
personal standards. They are really nice people, but they don't
relax...they're tense, agitated and they're always working, working working.
Ridiculous. I see it like this: To do a mediocre job takes almost no
effort at all. Just about everybody can do that. But every notch above
mediocre requires an exponential increase in effort. For example, to do a
good job requires twice the effort, to do a great job takes four times the
effort. I'd like to call it the Axiom of Technical Writers Diminishing
Returns. Here's a better example. You write a user manual. Fine. The
first time you read it through, you find and fix, say, 10 errors. The next
time through you find 5. The next time 2, etc... The manual was probably
acceptable after the first pass. So, sit back...make some personal phone
calls, hang around the watercooler, play on the'll be a lot
happier. Personal standards...there it is...but what about personal
hygiene. I think if we technical writers would stop bathing, brushing our
teeth, etc., we could eliminate a lot of our more tedious tasks. People
would stop coming by our desks with pesky "editorial changes", engineers
would no longer stop by and harrass us about our lack of technical expertise
and maybe we'd even be able to get out of tedious and time consuming
meetings. So lower your personal standards and eliminate your personal
hygiene, you're making the rest of us look and smell bad. I've checked this
e-mail once for typos, so if you find any, don't bother me...I'm on the

Alex MacDonald
macdoag -at- hpdapp03 -dot- hpdap -dot- msmail -dot- abbott -dot- com

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