Tech writer status <rant>

Subject: Tech writer status <rant>
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 23:49:10 -0800

I don't get it. What is the big deal about "status" or "prestige" at a
company? Why are tech writers so concerned with their "position" and
"ranking" in an organization.

I see stuff like "I was at the same level as the technical people." or
"When I got lumped in with the bird bath cleaners I was angry." on
this list all the time.

Honestly, when I worked for companies, I didn't care one bit about my
"status" or "level". I figured if I did good work, I'd rise to any
level I wanted. I mean, someone who does excellent work will get
noticed no matter where he/she resides in the "organizational
hierarchy", right? Why obsess over position and ranking with everyone
else? If you do good work, ignore the idiots, and promote yourself -
people will respect you. Those that don't respect you are probably
jealous because you getting noticed while they are obsessing over
their status.

About 3 years ago I did a gig with Microsoft. In spite of having
"grades" and "blue badges" (full-timers) and "orange badges"
(contractors) everyone got treated about the same. I busted my butt
to do a good job and after a while was put in charge of some really
cool work. Most of the "prestigious" positions were held by morons
who were easily confused and impressed. The people who everyone
respected were the crack programmers and writers, who generally paid
no attention to their "status" in the organization.

It seems like there are a lot of writers complaining about how nobody
respects the work they do or how managers lump them into "low
prestige" groups. Who cares! All that org-chart crap is all
arbitrary anyway. Who on earth pays attention to that nonsense? I am
not a religious person, but I don't think the word "org chart" is any
where in the numerous religious texts of human existence.

I guess what I am saying is that the best way to "rise up a level" is
to not care that the levels exist. People who excel routinely break
rules and boundaries. They don't care about the arbitrary structure
placed upon them. Just think of all the famous inventors, authors,
and artists throughout history. Do you think Thomas Edison was worried
whether he was getting the proper respect of a Grade 9 Inventor? Do
you think Leonardo Da Vinci was fretting over being lumped in with the
non-Jesus painting artists.

So what if you get lumped in with the non-technical people, or the
non-creative people, or the non-breathing people - get your work done
and demonstrate why you are a more spectacular form of life than Joe
the toe picker in the cube next to you.

NOTHING speaks louder and more clearly than action.

Eventually, it will dawn on someone, that you are fantastic and
they'll put you somewhere better. Telling a boss that his/her
decision was wrong is a sure fire way to get ignored, unrespected, and
loathed. No one wants to be told their decisions are bad - it is much
easier to just ignore their decision and form your own "organizational

You know what your job is - just DO IT! If your boss doesn't respect
you - screw 'em. Are you going to spend your whole life fretting over
the analysis of some stranger? What a waste. Most of the bosses I had
couldn't fart without instructions from upper management. They are so
easy to walk around and over. Most people are slow, deliberate, and
lazy. Even a small amount of assertiveness and incentive can make you
look like the Raging Velociraptor of Technical Communications.

Moreover, if some jerk like me blathers on about all his years of
impressive experience - just doze off. Who cares what some swaggering
dork did in 1985 with Steve Job's ex-roommates, mother-in-law.
Nothing is more tiresome than some ranting moron who thinks he knows
everything --

Ooooo, that was a post-modern moment.

Well, anyway. I guess my meaningless point is: be good, be assertive,
and forget about the org-chart. If you don't like the position you're
in - force it to change: force of will, force of intelligence, force
of momentum, and force of action. Force is the only thing that can
cause real change. All things in the universe remain the same unless
forced to change. I didn't dream that up, Mr. Newton did (I think -
physics was a long time ago).

You have the power to change your company/organization. And if you
don't - then get another job. No human should have to work in a place
where hard work and incentive are not at least somewhat rewarded.

Andrew Plato
President / Principal Ranting Moron
Anitian Consulting, Inc.

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