Re: SERIOUS: Formal vs. informal organizations

Subject: Re: SERIOUS: Formal vs. informal organizations
From: Tommy Green <tgreen -at- AESBUS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 12:50:11 -0600

I have experienced both formal and informal writing environments. One
through writing for the Army and this present job, writing hardware docs for
a Compaq Vendor. The Army writing was my first "formal" technical writing
job and, since I had retired from the Air Force, I thought I was prepared
for the restrictions. Every minute of my work I had to document. I used
outdated software and methods, and was not allowed to change "even a word"
without some "weird" person in Headquarter's blessing. I never met her,
(having left as soon as I could), but I heard she had no tech writing as a
background, just hired as a manager. The volume was ridiculously tedious,
having to write a 2,000 page manual in WordPerfect 5.0. The stress level was
tremendous. When I took this job, I could not figure out why everyone was
freaking out when they had a 100-page manual to write. The dress is casual
here. No punching the time clock. There is a however to all this; HOWEVER,
we are growing and have hired two new managers....now it seems to be getting
a bit weird. Closed door sessions. Editing person is a bit too "Change the
manuals to the way I want them" oriented, and I find myself looking over my
shoulder a bit more. We have a format we use here based on Word templates.
The front matter, TOC, and Index is pretty much standard. We have, however,
the freedom to make the manual a better one, (based on the audience), and
don't have to go through too many reviewers to do it. I would not like to
see this company grow to where it "decides it must become one of those
overly formal organizations" as Andrew put it. Just in case, I'm keeping my
resume up-to-date.

"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards."
-Robert Heinlein-

Tommy D. Green
AESBUS Technology Group
(281) 587-2247 ext 30
e-mail
Work: tgreen -at- aesbus -dot- com
tommy -dot- green -at- compaq -dot- com
Home: togreen -at- swbell -dot- net


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