Re: Workmanship

Subject: Re: Workmanship
From: Tracy Boyington <tracy_boyington -at- OKVOTECH -dot- ORG>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 16:09:21 -0500

> If you see somebody else making a mistake (in your humble opinion) just try
> not to make it yourself, use it as a lesson, rather than teaching somebody
> else how much better you think you are.

OK, here's an analogy. Let's say you're a house painter -- a darn good
one. You've had years of training and experience, you've won awards, you
get regular positive feedback from your customers.

And now let's say your neighbor hires a house painter. Maybe it was
someone who just decided house painting was easy -- anybody can paint,
right? Or maybe it was a professional manicurist who decided painting a
house couldn't be very different from painting fingernails. Or maybe it
was someone who thought since they built the house, they knew how to
paint it. But here this person is, painting houses, and doing an
absolutely horrible job. Runs, drips, missed spots, paint splattered all
over the place; a horrible job. The obligatory sign in the yard says
"professional painting by so-and-so." Anybody who drives by is going to
think "Yikes! Why on earth would I hire a professional painter? I could
do better than that myself!" As a professional painter, would you simply
say "boy, I'll try not to do that on my next house!" Or would you hand
out your card and the addresses of some houses you've painted, gently
point out a couple of things you would have done differently, and say
"I'd love to give you an estimate next time"?

Someone said this would be "destroying reputations." To me, pointing out
that not all tech writers are bad is *saving* reputations.

Tracy Boyington mailto:tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org
Oklahoma Dept. of Vocational & Technical Education
Curriculum & Instructional Materials Center
Stillwater, Oklahoma

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