Re: HELP! Negativity towards the techwhirler!

Subject: Re: HELP! Negativity towards the techwhirler!
From: "Kristine J. Olberg" <kjolberg -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 21:15:10 -0600

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> From: Jennifer Kraus <jlkraus -at- AMETEKWATER -dot- COM>
>
> I'm encountering some negativity towards technical writing at work, and =

[snip]

Oh boy. Consider yourself duly initiated into the real world.

It's hard to judge whether you've done right without knowing more
specifics, like the changes you made, the state of the company (financial
state good or poor?), the history of the documents, the group dynamics of
those involved, etc.

It's entirely possible that your changes don't add significant value to the
quality of the documentation. That could be one reason why some question
whether the work effort by the graphics group is worth it. This is common
for a relatively new writer. But don't get me wrong--your changes, in your
perspective, are probably correct and do enhance the usability of the
documentation. However, my guess (it's a guess based on your description of
the reaction of your colleagues) is that the documents have larger problems
that you didn't address. You've only been there 2 months, right? And you're
pretty new to the business, right? Well, I wouldn't expect you to step
right in an fix everything. You need time to figure out the business and
learn the needs of your audience. Only after that will you understand why
your colleagues reacted as they did.

Typically, negativity toward technical writers is caused by a bad
experience with a previous tech writer: the writer lacked the skills needed
to do the job, the skills to learn the business and the needs of the
audience, couldn't write well, had an abrasive personality, ...

Sounds like you need to overcome something of that sort. If you're
confident that you're good at what you do, persist. Eventually you'll earn
the respect of your colleagues. It's too bad that you have to deal with the
deeds of someone before you. That kind of stuff happens in the corporate
world, not only in our line of work but others as well.

Good luck. Keep us posted with your progress.

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