Re: Defining your role

Subject: Re: Defining your role
From: David Jones <dvjones -at- KSBE -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 10:30:00 -1000

What a wonderful opportunity you have! You can educate your
co-workers, help replace any misconceptions and/or lack of
imagination they may have about TWing, help them learn new ways of
working efficiently with TWers, etc., etc. If you include a
question/answer session as part of the presentation, you'll get some
clues identifying co-workers who need more education or have more
difficulty accepting what a TW really does ...

"How should I handle it?" you say? With great enthusiasm and joy.

I envy you, Ginna!

On 3 Dec 96 at 11:22, Ginna Watts wrote:

> Hi all,

> I am fairly new in my job, at a company where I am the first (and
> only) tech writer. We have gone through some fairly significant
> hiring in the last little while, so I am not alone in being new. The
> manager of the R&D group is also new, and he has asked me to do
> something I'm not very comfortable with.

> First, some background: The company is in the middle of a major
> upgrade of its software, from DOS 5 to NT 4. We have tentatively
> decided that the documentation will be significantly upgraded as
> well. There exists now a good reference manual for the DOS version,
> but no online help and no user guide as such.

> I would like to update the reference guide, create a context
> sensitive help system, and design a user guide. The manager told me
> yesterday that I need to 'bring the programmers and customer support
> people on board.' To that end, he has asked me to write the
> 'definitive documentation on documentation' (yes, that's a quote).
> In other words, defend my existence and job to the rest of the team.
> That is (i.e.? ;), I am to write out a description of exactly what a
> tech writer does, what the difference between user and reference
> guides are, how online help differs from an electronic manual etc.
> When it is complete, I am to give it out, and then make a
> presentation to the rest of the team. This is not a presentation on
> what I'd like to do with this specific project, but rather a more
> general, 'this is what I do and why you should support me' talk.

> Am I wrong in being uncomfortable with this? I feel that it should
> not be up to me to bring the rest of the team on board. If the
> documentation decisions are based on time, money etc., then I could
> live with doing less, but I hate feeling like I have to defend my
> job, especially when I'm so new.

> How should I handle this - any thoughts?

David Jones, Technical Writer
dvjones -at- ksbe -dot- edu

Thought for the day:
Advertising (n): the science of arresting the human
intelligence for long enough to get money from it.
-- Stephen Leacock.


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