Summary: any suggestions?

Subject: Summary: any suggestions?
From: John Engler <spillman!jengler -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 10:21:36 -0700

Hey folks,

I want to thank all of you who replied with your comments about my idea
for a top ten list of reasons NOT to become a tech writer.

I have to admit I was surprised by the number of you who pleaded with me
not to degrade myself in front of the whole company by reciting such a
list. I hadn'?t considered that point. And admittedly, you have a point.
I, too, have become keenly aware of the precarious position we tech
writers can find ourselves in. And it certainly wouldn't help to put
down my own profession.

On the other hand, and as many of you acknowledged, it is not my
intention to defame myself. Rather, I believe that people can appreciate
the ability (and willingness) to poke fun at oneself. Additionally, ours
is a small company where everyone knows nearly everyone else, and while
we maintain a degree of professionalism, we are pretty casual about
things here.

Regardless, we have decided not to do that top ten list, not necessarily
because we're worried about degrading ourselves, but mostly because
we've realized that those who aren't tech writers just won't get it.

But we have decided to do another top ten list: the top ten reasons to
read our documentation. I'?ve listed most of the ones we came up with
here.

WARNING: The last four I?'ve listed may be offensive to some tech
writers. (Actually I want to know if you think the last four would be
too demeaning--I don?'t think the first six are by any standard.) These
are not listed in any particular order yet, so I?'d also be interested i
which you think is the funniest.

--Because poetry doesn'?t work for wooing women any more.
--Find Waldo!
--Read it backwards to discover what the documentation really says.
--Finish the Administration Guide and win a date with the support
technician of your choice.
--Get high on the scratch and sniff screen shots.
--If you stare at the pages long enough, a 3-D image of Dave Funk (our
support manager) appears.
--Once you'?re finished, you can explain it to us.
--Guaranteed cure for insomnia.
--Set Guinness world record for being first to do it!
--It beats watching Lawrence Welk.

Finally, as promised, here's a summary of the items some of you sent me.
I'll leave it up to you to decide which are the top ten. I think there
are some pretty good ones here (and some that wouldn?t be good to use on
an outside audience, even if they did get them). Enjoy.

--English is NOT my native language
--English IS my native language
--Applications are ALWAYS intuitively obvious - who needs documentation?
--Why write something no one reads?
--Three words - carpal tunnel syndrome
--Tech writers are geeks
--Tech writers are programmers who couldn't cut it
--Tech writers are trainers who can't do stand up
--Don't want to learn Word, Frame, RoboHelp, Doc-to-Help, HDK, etc.
--Work all those hours for THAT pay? HA!
--The babes/hunks just don't leave you alone
--You get carpal tunnel from endorsing the those enormous paychecks
--The job ain't bad, but the secret initiation ritual is too horrifying
to relate
--It's great, if you hate status and love job burnout...
--You think people should be made to suffer with the installation or
setup and operation of your product.
--Me are a good righter.
--Making coffee is hard to do
--Being a people-person can be a real pain in the kester.
--Having to look up words you can't even spell
--Rubbing elbows at STC seminars
--Contributing to the reduction of old-growth trees
--Worshipping at the Microsoft altar
--Updating field codes
--Deadlines
--Programmers
--Editors
--Being confused with the administrative staff

John Engler
jengler -at- spillman -dot- com
Spillman Data Systems, Inc.
Logan, UT

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