What a drag (on technical writing)

Subject: What a drag (on technical writing)
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 11:05:11 -0800

It is really refreshing to see this group have a strong contingent of
pro-free-market voices. A year ago when I challenged the notion of
unions with such talk I was battered into the ground by the seething

Yes, you are worth what ever you will take. If you accept a job for $5
an hour - that is what you feel you are worth. Sorry, there is no
mandate from God that all tech writers shall make $50 an hour.

Someone complained that low wage takers were "dragging down technical
writing." This made me laugh. Of all the forces "dragging down
technical writing," wages are not most prevalent drag.

Stupidity and complacency are a much larger drag on technical writing.
People who refuse to learn subject matter and remain deeply committed
to tools out of some irrational spiritual bond are doing real damage.
People who say things like "I don't need to know how that works, I am
a writer," or "I have used X since I was 3 and it is the only tool
anyone should use."

But the drag is very subtle. Each time one of these dead-weights
applies for a job and then burns an employer - the employer becomes
wary of all tech writers. There are so many people calling themselves
technical writers that consistently keep burning companies, that if
you come in the door behind them, prepare to be treated like dirt and
paid nothing.

Anyway, good luck to those unions.

I think we should form a secret society where only ritually
brainwashed members can join. We can have secret meetings and charge
the "little people" tons of money to attend. We can hold a huge
yearly self-absorbion conference that allows loud-mouthed,
self-aggrandizing fools to speak about insignificant topics to
wide-eyed followers.

We can get software companies to come speak at "informative seminars"
for members taking huge kickbacks from companies. We can also publish
a magazine with fascinating stories such as "Ten Rules for Managing
your Counterproductive Obsessive Behaviors." or "How I Found Solace
with my Fonts."

Mostly we can ensure that the upper echelons are populated only with
loyal servants to our cause. No outsiders will be accepted for any
positions of authority. Those who disagree with us will be crushed
and forbidden to play in our little reindeer games. It will be like
the Stonecutters from the Simpsons:

"Who controls the British Pound, who made Steve Gutenberg a star - We
do! We do! Who controls the fonts and links, who makes writers' IQs
sink? We do! We do!"

Yeah! I can see it now, we can call it the Braincutters Union or the
Society for....what? Oh you're kidding. Well, it looks like someone
already has done this. Nuts! I always miss out on the fun.

Oh well. Back to work you.

Andrew Plato
Grand Idiot Wizard
The Braincutters Union

Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com

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