Re: Producing Books

Subject: Re: Producing Books
From: "Stephen D. Martin" <smartin -at- STORM -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 11:42:39 -0500

Thiessen, Christopher E wrote:

> Remember: it is a poor worker who blames the tools.

Even though (s)he may be entirely correct to do so?

The phrase applies very well to the carpenters and other such manual
labourers for whom it was originally coined, but it has no place in the
modern business place where we are told what tools we are going to use.

Carpenters, to continue the example, go out to the store and have the
option of picking "just the right" hammer, out of a number of
manufacturers and styles.

When was the last time you ever heard of a boss or client telling the
carpenter which tool he was allowed to use? How many times have you
heard of a company giving its technical writers carte blanche to use
whichever tool was specifically correct for the specific job at hand?

Obviously it's not good for the corporate pocketbook to have to purchase
a copy of Word, FrameMaker, Ventura, and PageMaker, for each Tech Writer
on the payroll, and overall productivity will fall if each writer is
using a different tool; so for better or for worse, Management makes the
decision of what tool to standardize on.

If the carpenter chooses a poorly designed hammer then of course (s)he
is a "poor worker" for blaming the hammer, but in the world of the Tech
Writer I think you would be better off to either forget the phrase ever
existed, or place the blame where it belongs (and it isn't on the
shoulders of the poor worker).

Stephen D. Martin
President, Stephen Martin Enterprises

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