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Andrew, if you say "Dog" and I hear "Frog". If I then confirm "Frog" and
you hear "Dog" who is at fault?
You may think you asked the right questions. Your writer may have thought
she gave the right answers.
Perhaps you should realis(z)e a sad truth. You appear to be at fault on
You employed her and took her at face value. She honestly may have thought
she had the skills but it was expedient for you not to check.
A simple test would have clearly (from the information you gave) shown her
If you are too lazy or rushed to perform these tests then you are doing
yourself and your employer a disservice.
And what if she did have these skills but needed time to come up to speed.
What if the gossiping was started by another contractor etc etc. If so, you
are also doing the sub-contractor a disservice.
Maybe she wasn't totally to blame, but then, it is always easier to blame
> What the hell is wrong with technical writers these days? I want to
> this little story with you because it is driving me nuts.
> She did not know what "relational integrity" or a "primary key"
> was. Worse yet, she spent most of her first few days chatting with a
> consultant about absolutely nothing. At one point I came on site and
> her babbling away irritating another consultant. I asked her to return
> her desk and that she needed to get up to speed on the application we
> documenting. A hour later, she still had not run through the
> and was back chatting and gossiping.
> Naturally, this person was angry with me. I told her that the client saw
> her incompetence and became very, very worried (which they did). At the
> rates I charge the client was not willing to pay for an incompetent
> They had already cycled through six worthless writers before we showed
> In fact, they hired us because we have a reputation for fast, solid
> documentation work.
> This person was adamant that she had all these "extensive" skills. Yet,
> a week on site she managed to A) do nothing B) demonstrate her complete
> of knowledge of Windows, SQL, databases, etc. C) embarrass other
> consultants with her unprofessional gossiping and chatter.
> All this lead me to an interesting discovery. People believe their lies.
> This person I hired honestly believed she was a Windows NT and SQL
> She was just appalled that people could not see that. How do your
> to that?
> "Well, not only are you incompetent, but you have an extremely
> opinion of yourself."
> So, I am curious to hear your thoughts. Liars and cheats? How do we
> them out? And when you do catch them, what do you do with them? Fire
> whack them with a 2x4, let the ice weasels nibble their eyeballs out?
> Respond off list. I'll post a blatantly one-sided summary in a few
> Andrew Plato
> President / Principal Liar
> Anitian Consulting, Inc.