Re: Personnel and Quality of Printed Manuals

Subject: Re: Personnel and Quality of Printed Manuals
From: Penny Staples <pstaples -at- AIRWIRE -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 09:22:23 -0600

Just out of curiousity, how is this secretary making a mess of your
manuals? I'm not clear on how you can mess up double-sided
photocopying. Is she going into your electronic copy and changing
things? (Much more serious) Anyway, if she's a problem, why not
just take her out of the loop? Either take over the double-sided photo-
copying yourself, or send your the copy out for double-sided reproduction.
Make sure your boss knows why you're doing it, but don't make a
big deal out of it.

> I then went to the quality assurance and production people, who could
> implement a quality check of the manuals before they are shipped out to
> customers. After trying to ignore me and the issue, they finally agreed
> that it is a problem, but now that ?this secretary? is back, things
> shape up soon. I mentioned it was this very secretary who messed up the
> I don?t understand why the company
> hired a full-time in-house technical writer, then doesn?t support me in a
> way that promotes the best possible product.

Seems to me that this is the real problem. You feel like you're being
outranked by a bossy secretary. From what I've seen, some companies
value writers as professionals on a par with other developers. Others
view writers as glorified secretaries, and it's difficult to change this
mentality. Impossible, if you don't have the support of your management.

Are you the first writer this company has ever hired? Who wrote the
manuals before you? If secretaries did it, then many people within the
company may view your job function as secretarial. Or does this company
have a history of hiring fairly inexperienced writers who then leave after
a year and a half? You need to discuss this situation (calmly and without
name-calling) with your boss and clarify your status. If I were you, I'd be

updating my resume and portfolio right now. Be prepared to look elsewhere
if things don't improve.

Best of luck,

Penny Staples
pstaples -at- airwire -dot- com

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