Re: Nasty Surprise

Subject: Re: Nasty Surprise
From: Maurice King <benadam -at- CYBERDUDE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 09:24:19 -0500

To relate to the following submission:

>Bernie said (in response to Melanie's "duh" comment:
>>It seems to me that, as long as the company was >>correct in its decision to establish a large
>>department, then, a manager ( a technical writing >>experienced manager) would be ideal.
>I agree with our lurker that the company should have >hired a manager - in fact, it seems ideal that they >realised they needed one. But I also agree (although, >maybe I wouldn't have used "duh) ;-) that they should >have gone about hiring the manager _before_ starting >interviews with TWs and getting their hopes up.
>Not that I'm trying to speak for Melanie here, but I >think that's what she
>was trying to say.

Whether that was what she was trying to say, the assumption made here is that companies actually know what they need. Some do, but the number of large, established companies that do not have a clue as to what their needs are is appallingly large. In light of that, the smaller, less established companies cannot be blamed for following suit.

Also, the notion that companies "should" do something rather than to disappoint candidates is something I would certainly support, but the reality is often quite different. The notion that the person hired to be a technical writing manager should know technical writing well before hiring others is, well, also a dream, because often that is not the case, largely because there are still many companies who have little idea of what technical writers actually do to justify their existence. I think many members of the list have complained about the nebulous status of technical writing in many high-tech companies, and I know that often managers who are allegedly excellent technical writers have been terrible managers. Interestingly enough, the best manager I ever had did not pretend to be a technical writer at all, but he did a great job of managing, and I wish I could have brought him with me when I returned to the U.S.

Something that also complicates things is the fact that in the corporate business world, decisions are often made that make absolutely no sense on the level of the persons actually doing the work but that profit certain persons on the board of directors. That's a grim reality we all have to face; we could be sold down the river by persons looking for a tax write-off or who want to file for a Chapter 11 at our expense. It is for that reason that I firmly believe that in today's job market, the difference between a salaried employee and a self-employed entrepreneur is only cosmetic; both work to support themselves, and neither have any security about what will happen the next day.

Just my $0.02.

- Maury

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