Re: Appalled, eh?

Subject: Re: Appalled, eh?
From: "Meek, DavidX L" <davidx -dot- l -dot- meek -at- INTEL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 09:08:01 -0800

Barbara A. Tokay wrote:

Professionalism is a term that's bandied about... what's professional about
paying someone less than the going rate because he/she "didn't follow
procedures."? Is the goal hiring someone who can do the job or hiring
who will kiss your hind end?

First of all, what's so difficult about following directions? If you don't
like the directions, don't apply for the job. You probably wouldn't like
working there anyway. Second, how is following directions kissing someone's
"hind end?" Are you too good to follow directions? Third, there's an
arrogance in assuming someone else's directions are unimportant. Did you
bother to discover why such directions were given before you decided to
ignore them? Fourth, if I have to spend more time supervising this person,
who has a demonstrated weakness in following directions, I'll want to pay
that person less to compensate for the expenditure of my time. I'll be more
investing time to get that employee "up to speed" than I would for someone
who hit the ground running.

A number of people on this list have given good & compelling reasons for not
supplying samples etc. And I personally never supply samples on the first
go-round. It eliminates prospective clients who are "trolling" for samples
and/or pay rate information.

If someone is seriously interested in my work/credentials, he/she will take
time to speak with me, preferably in person. At an interview, I provide all
necessary and appropriate information.

As for submitting writing samples, I don't. My samples require an in-depth
explanation that I wish to provide in person. All my samples are of work
that was more challenging than is readily apparent; that's why they are my
samples. But I also don't apply for positions that request submitted
samples. If you don't believe in submitting samples, don't apply for that
position. Where is it written that you must apply for every job out there?

Another statement was made on this thread that needs a response.

>>What does professionalism have to do with "following directions?"

Among other taskings, I have documented software code in which straying from
precise directions could cause serious system errors, including a
system-wide crash. As a tech writer, I had to follow the directions given
to me so that my users would receive the proper information. The
intricacies of the coding were beyond my knowledge, and things that didn't
make sense to me made perfect sense to my intended audience. My value added
was in presenting the material in an easily absorbable manner.

I have also documented procedures in which straying from precise directions
could cause physical injury to the users of my documentation. Like the
situation described above, there was little room for a tech writer's
personal interpretation of the material. I certainly wouldn't want a tech
writer who made personal assumptions about what directions to follow and
what directions to disregard. Sorry, but I just wouldn't have confidence in
such a person. I'm not looking for an automaton, but if an employee is
going to stray from the given directions, I want to know why. Maybe that
employee's suggestion is valuable to other processes, or maybe that employee
doesn't know the circumstances. Often times, directions that make no sense
to one person are in place for reasons of which they are not aware.

The *number one* compliment I receive from clients is that I have a "big
picture" view that is lacking in most other tech writers they've hired. I
don't change things simply to express my unique personality, and when I do
feel a need for a change, I pass it through management first. Frequently,
procedures and standards are in place for a variety of reasons that are not
immediately obvious. There can be legal reasons, company style reasons,
future document maintenance concerns, etc. If I change a style tag without
telling someone, what are the possible reprecussions to others who will
update it or possible convert it into another format? My little tech
writing pocket of the world is not an island unto itself.

(Any statements made above are mine, and mine alone.)

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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