Re: Ph.D.'s

Subject: Re: Ph.D.'s
From: Yvonne Harrison <yvonne -at- IHUG -dot- CO -dot- NZ>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 1996 08:35:13 +1200

Hi all - -

I think Miles made some good points about the whole Ph.D thing. I've
found that most people who graduate from University with Masters or
Ph.Ds tend to have real problems writing 'down' to their uneducated
audience. As Miles states - if they're writing for an expert audience
they're usually great - but all those years of writing to please their
lecturers and sponsors seem to produce a need to make sure every
sentence sound like they swallowed the dictionary. Gee look mommy - I
can say, "You should be operose in your operation of this equipment"
instead of just saying, "You should be careful when you are using this
equipment." A company I used to work for ran some in-house technical
writing courses and it was always the ex-lawyers and post-grads who had
the toughest time.

But as to flashing your Ph.D credentials... I'd only do it when
necessary. I'll relate my story of my encounter with a Ph.D/University
lecturer that permanently put me off hiring anybody with letters at the
end of their name....

I needed someone else on the team to fill in a gap with the workload.
Someone mentioned that they knew a guy who'd been looking for work in
the technical writing field and that he'd been previously lecturing at
University (I was just impressed with that - I didn't bother to ask what
in). I arranged to meet this guy for a cup of coffee.

Well... I could tell by the expression on his face when I walked in
that he wasn't exactly impressed with me. I don't really know why - I
think he was expecting someone older and certainly someone who was of a
different gender (for instance - a guy :-).We started talking and I
asked him why he wanted to be a technical writer. He said he was
looking at retiring from his current position and he needed a job that
was fairly simple to do and that his wife could do as well. I didn't
bother to ask what his wife's qualifications were. It was the magic
words 'that was fairly simple to do' that pissed me off. I hastily
finished my Diet Coke, excused myself and got the hell out.

I'm sure there are far more sensible people out in the world, but this
guy was just so arrogant it permanently put me off.

Yvonne :-)

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