Re: Do Technical Writers Deserve Their Own Office?

Subject: Re: Do Technical Writers Deserve Their Own Office?
From: Barb -dot- Ostapina -at- METROMAIL -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 15:52:30 -0500

I have to cast my vote with John's on this one. I have a cubicle right
outside the ladies' restroom and a few feet down from the men's. This
choice spot came to me after spending several months at the unoccupied
receptionist's station, another quiet, reclusive spot. There are times when
the chaos surrounding me has exceeded typically "normal" levels in these
locations, but overall, I must say the benefits have outweighed the
drawbacks (especially considering how often I have to go to the bathroom).

When I was at the receptionist spot I was a consultant for my company. It
was a great way to meet people (and the largest conference room in our
division is situated right behind it, so I also got filled in on some of
the goings-on in the place). When I came on full-time, I was way ahead of
the game in terms of knowing the lay of the land and who knows what and how
people operate. This has stood me in good stead during the many projects I
have been on in which I have had to interface with many of these same

And John's right about not being that different from developers. At first I
thought I needed more quiet than they do (and I'm sure at times I do, but I
think there are also times when they need it more than I -- it's a
relative, and sporadic, thing). But it's not true. And I will admit to my
share of shouting over the cubicle wall to ask for help and offer it in
return. And being in the thick of things, especially as the lone, and
first, tech writer, has made it easier (though this is never simple) to
become integrated into the "normal" flow of things. And I, too, when
thoroughly engaged in what I'm doing, am oblivious to my surroundings.

I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I'm all for keeping the walls
down. I will admit, however, that I might feel differently if I were part
of a tech writing department. Since I have never been thus, I really can't

barb -dot- ostapina -at- metromail -dot- com
...speaking only for myself.

cc: (bcc: LOMBMML Ostapina Barb/OLS)
Date: 04/16/98 11:52:34 AM AST
Subject: Re: Do Technical Writers Deserve Their Own Office?

Sorry, Debra...

I'm more responsive sitting among the developers rather than shutting
myself off from them. I'm more approachable, I "hear" of things going on
with my products more readily. And besides, when I really concentrate on a
task (get in a zone?), all I hear is my thinking anyway.

We aren't different than developers. They develop information through code
and we develop information through words. It's only when we stop trying to
convince others that we are "different" (which in some eyes, is thought of
to be "better"), will we be given the equality that we ask for.

I'd spend more time learning how to tear walls down and less time trying to
figure out how to put walls up.

They get my vote.

John Posada, Technical Writer (and proud of the title)
The world's premier Internet fax service company: The FaxSav Global Network
-work -personal
-work mailto:posada -at- faxsav -dot- com -personal mailto:john -at- tdandw -dot- com
-work phone: 732-906-2000 X2296 -home phone: 732-291-7811
My opinions are mine, and neither you nor my company can take credit for

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