Re: New slant: professionalism

Subject: Re: New slant: professionalism
From: George Mena <George -dot- Mena -at- ESSTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 17:27:26 -0700

Dear Roger Mallett,

I've read all three of your posts after having taken most of the
afternoon off to actually do some work around here. For the record, you
don't strike me as the sort of guy who's ever lost. =)

A sense of perspective on my part and on Jane Bergen's part, however,
does seem to be needed, according to a very kind soul who sent me a post
off-list. Part of it bears repeating, so I thought I'd post it here:

In this case, maybe you're correct about Jane being late on the
scene, and
unaware of the nature and process of mil-spec writing. But
others have
also offered up their less-than-positive experiences/thoughts
mil-specs (which in MY experience seem to have been the
stylistic and
turgid precursors of the truly TERRIBLE crap that IBM used to
grind out and
call "user manuals"). Maybe Jane's professional pride made her
a bit
insensitive and blind to the possible reactions of her
statements. But neither of you will get any points for your
rightness -
and you WILL get censure for your SELF-righteousness... BOTH of

I think this serves as a reminder that we all still need to be kind to
each other and remember a lot of us still have old issues that still
hurt like hell. As such, we don't know what they are, especially with
the fact that so many of the people here are spread out all over the
planet and may in fact never even meet each other in real life.

Sometimes, a reality check does help.

And now, back to my headphones: got four from Creedence on KFOX and it's
time to go rollin' on a river with Proud Mary before I take Center Field



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roger Mallett [SMTP:roger -at- CSICAL -dot- COM]
> Sent: Friday, April 24, 1998 3:35 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: New slant: professionalism
> Well George,
> Just for the record,
> My intention in commenting on what you said was to confirm what you
> were
> getting at. That is, that mil-spec writers have there act together.
> Mil-spec writers have to have it right the first time through because
> the customer is very demanding (and has the right to be, as it costs
> lots of bucks to write those manuals).
> It has always been my personal contention, throughout my career, that
> those who write for Military projects, as a group, are the best tech
> writers available. None are better. I do not know any tech writer
> that
> I ever worked with in Aerospace that didn't give everything he had.
> In
> my opinion, they are top performers.
> Does this clarify anything, or am I still lost.
> >----------
> >From: George Mena[SMTP:George -dot- Mena -at- ESSTECH -dot- COM]
> >Sent: Friday, April 24, 1998 3:05 PM
> >To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> >Subject: Re: New slant: professionalism
> >
> >
> >I wanted to respond to something Roger Mallett said for a minute: =)
> >
> >I think *every* tech writer, regardless of the industry s/he writes
> >for,
> >always strives to be as right as possible; checking, double checking,
> >triple checking, always trying to make sure everything's right the
> >first
> >time whenever possible.
> >======
> >
> >And now, to continue...
> >
> >I submitted my original post because I know of both tech writers and
> >*engineers* who've run into a lot of the elitism from the commercial
> >high-tech side of the world. Imagine being an engineer who's
> developed
> >part of a launcher system who's now trying to find work at a disk
> drive
> >manufacturer like Quantum. Now imagine the engineer, maybe in his
> 40s
> >or 50s, being told by some 30 year old that Quantum can't use him
> >because he's never designed a hard disk drive in his life.
> >
> >I've seen way too much of that in my lifetime, both as an observer
> and
> >as a participant. Never mind that the 30 year old *could* learn
> >something from someone who's been around the block more. That's
> where
> >I'm coming from. =)

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