Re: Privacy? You Want Privacy?

Subject: Re: Privacy? You Want Privacy?
From: Dianne Walsh <Dianne -dot- Walsh -at- MEDECISION -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 14:00:59 -0400

George Mena wrote:

Hi folks =)

While I can sympathize with the "noisy neighbors" plight Ms. Mazo and
her colleagues seem to be facing, I've yet to hear of anyone actually
making a suite of private offices available for a documentation group.

..and I say:
Well George, as unbelievable as it may seen, that very situation has
happened, and I've been there! A few years ago, I was contracting at a
"major chemical company" and our entire tech pubs group was housed in
one- and two-person offices. Did I like it? You bet!

Our group wrote diverse documentation: software user guides, electronics
catalogs, promotional and technical brochures for various businesses
within the company, job aids for learning new computer sustems, task
analyses--you name it, we wrote it. We were not located anywhere near
the internal clients we wrote for; communicating with our clients always
meant traveling to another office complex (often in another town) or
spending large amounts of time on the phone. I enjoyed getting out of
the office for a couple of hours, meeting with my clients and then
coming back for a quiet afternoon behind closed doors writing to my
heart's content. That was as close to tech writing heaven as I've ever

George goes on to say:
In my career, I've had to write at a desk in a trailer out at the old
Hunters Point Navy base and test site in San Francisco and at Vandenberg
AFB in Lompoc again:
Yep, done the Navy thing, too--in an office next to a noisy hangar that
was usually open to the elements 365 days of the year. I shared the
front office (of a suite of 3) with the Technical Manager of the project
I worked on. The engineers were upstairs and the programmers were either
in the next room or nextdoor in the lab, so I saw them regularly. Again,
once I obtained the information I needed, I could go back to my quiet
little area and write for hours.

I'd give anything to have a quiet area now. Even though I'm manager of
the group at my present job, I don't rate an office (I'm NOT going to
comment on that right now). If we were sitting over with the
developers--a fairly quiet group--I wouldn't mind, but we have been
placed next to the two noisest groups in the company. On one side we
have tech support who are on the phones constantly, and on the other we
have QA--a group of very young, loud, self-absorbed kids who don't
know--or care--how much they are disturbing everyone else with their
incessant yakking. I've spoken to their manager about it only to have
some bad feelings arise.

Headphones haven't been the answer, either. They only add noise on top
of noise.

George continues:
Sorry I couldn't give any reasons for your own digs. Just not ever
likely to happen in a bazillion years. Consider it an occupational
hazard and move forward with improving the skills set. ; ) parting shot:
I agree that it's not all that likely these days, but it can happen. And if
greater productivity because of less noise isn't a reason, I don't know what is.

Still hoping for an office someday,

Dianne Walsh
Doc. Manager


Our Documentation Group is having a hard time justifying private offices
for technical writers to Product Development. We need some strong
reasons to justify that we are different than developers and work more
productively in a quiet working space, especially when we performing
editing duties.

Thanks in advance if you share any of your ideas.

Debbie Mazo, Technical Writer
Creo Products, Inc.
dmazo -at- creo -dot- com


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