Sleepless in cubicle land

Subject: Sleepless in cubicle land
From: "Geoff Hart (by way of \"Eric J. Ray\" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>)" <ght -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 13:44:52 -0600

That prolific author, Anonymous, sends us the following dilemma:
<<I love the art of technical writing. But I go absolutely nuts
sitting in a cubicle and technical writing all day! Can anyone give
me any advice on how to cope? Does anyone else experience this
problem, or are most technical writers content with the work style?>>

I'm unfamiliar with any technical writing job in which the
conditions for employment specify remaining caged and immobile for
long periods of time. I can't imagine sitting in one place all day
long, and for several reasons: apart from losing my legs to a lack of
circulation, and my vision to the eerily glowing screen, I have no
desire to get so out of touch with my colleagues and authors that I'm
no longer welcome in their offices. If I were offered such a job,
I'd drop it like the proverbial hot potato. Me, I make a point of
getting up and walking around every so often, even during deadline
crunches. So far, it's kept my vision mostly intact, my legs still
attached to my body, and the doors of my colleagues' offices open.
YMMV, of course; this approach is no substitute for regular exercise,
a balanced diet, and having a real (non-virtual) life.

There are lots of other useful diversions for a techwhirler,
including stopping by the cages in which they keep the developers and
tossing them food every now and then to keep them civil. (This is
also a good opportunity to find out what they're plotting so you can
plan accordingly.) Joining techwr-l and pondering the content for an
hour a day whenever your navel grows boring ought to be a pretty good
diversion for when you can't simply wander around. If a lack of work
is at the source of your content, insinuating your subtle tentacles
into sundry other job functions (e.g., internet development, writing
resumes for the managers, publishing an in-house newsletter) gets you
noticed, and makes you considerably less dispensable should a bout of
downsizing frenzy strike said managers.

Sarcasm aside, there's no reason to get bored with the life of the
techwhirler. The job is what you make of it, and there's no reason to
simply wait passively for others to define the job for you.
--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

When an idea is wanting, a word can always be found to take its place.--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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