Re: Engineers and Writers

Subject: Re: Engineers and Writers
From: John Glenn <sfarmh1 -at- SCFN -dot- THPL -dot- LIB -dot- FL -dot- US>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 05:14:57 -0500

The problem with salary inequity (writers receiving less
than engineers) has to do with two things, one of which we
can work to correct.
With apologies to Dr. S:
Thing 1: Everybody thinks (s)he can write I(and take
pictures, another goodie in my ''skill set''). Almost
everyone CAN place pencil to paper and make marks, but this
does not necessarily equate to communicating an idea.
Thing 2: TW is ''overhead''; engineering is a ''profit
center'' (because the value of an engineering effort can be
fairly well nailed down in money terms).
We can (try to) do something about Thing 2 by pushing to
make the writers part of a P&L group ... make certain the
documentation costs are included in the product costs and
that all documentation is part of the product's parts
''tree'' (hard to do with s/w, but ...); convince mgt. to
sell supplemental copies of the documentation or, if you
work for a company that provides onkly On-Line Help (OLH),
try to convince it to offer for sale paper documentation.
(Course it better be GOOD documentation.)
We may never convince the powers-that-be that it takes more
than pencil & paper to be a ''riter,'' be I think we should
be pushing to be seen as a P&L.
For those keeping track of the alphabet soup, P&L=profit &
loss, s/w=software.
And FWIW, some writers CAN create a circuit and some writers
CAN keep some engineeers (who listen) out of trouble ...
like the engineer who ''forgot'' to include a system ground.
This scrivener suggested the ground was necessary; engineer
said no. Trainer got zapped while doing a show-&-tell; the
system got a redesign the next day. Trainer was OK.

Apologies for fat-finger typos ... bandaged digit.

John Glenn <sfarmh1 -at- scfn -dot- thpl -dot- lib -dot- fl -dot- us>
==================================================== not make a statement that cannot be easily
understood on the grounds that it will be understood
eventually. (Hillel)

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