Re: Getting fired

Subject: Re: Getting fired
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 12:38:51 -0800

> >>Naturally, when I showed up I ignored everything, wrote the entire
> set for >>the product in two months, and had my contract promptly
> terminated for failing >>to follow the established style guide.
> I must ask if you knew that there were guidelines in place. If not,
> they were a bit too hasty in their decision to terminate you. If you
> and said to heck with that, then they were absolutely justified. Did
> know either way?

Sheesh, people have hammered me on this example I mentioned in my
message about organizations.

To set everyone at ease about this issue:

A) I was not fired. The contract I was working ended, they did not
renew. I also did not push for a renewal. That is MUCH different from
being fired.

B) When I showed up this group had no styles, templates, procedures,
nothing in place. They had a pack of lazy, coffee-sipping, blathering
writers who spent months working on doc specs, style guides, and
assorted nonsense while the engineers kept pounding them for real user
docs, support docs etc. Direct quote from head engineer: "they (the
writers) can't get anything done on time."

C) I read through their work when I got there. Most of it was
self-aggrandizing, ridiculed the SMEs, and contributed absolutely
nothing of value to project. One document, I am not kidding about
this, was 70 PAGES describing the disturbed personal history of one
writer's experience working with this group. He claimed this was a
formal deliverable on the project!!! He wrote the whole thing in the
first person, it was so pathetic. It is hard to describe how
self-absorbed these writers were.

D) They were hopelessly behind schedule when I showed up. In fact
they coerced their boss to hire a contractor (me) to help them get on

E) When I got their I asked them for the templates for their docs, so
I could start work. They did not have any. "We're developing them,
they have not been approved." So I said, great - well I am going to
use this simple, very standard template while you're developing. When
you finish, you can retrofit my text into your template. At first
they didn't mind this - it was when I started pumping out useful
material that made the engineers happy that they got mad and said "I
was not following the approved templates." There was no approved
templates to be followed.

F) The management and engineers loved me because I GOT THE WORK DONE.
A few actually left, started their own company, and hired me to do
their docs. Management offered me a full time job (which I turned

G) This project taught me how important it is to build a rapport with
the engineers. The SMEs had absolutely no respect for the writers.
Likewise, the writers did crap work for the engineers and had no
respect for them. Did the engineers start this little vicious circle
or did the writers? I don't know. My guess is that both sides
contributed a lot of bile. All I know is I was hired to write docs,
and I did what I said I would. By the time I got there, the engineers
were so happy to see real docs, they fell in love with me. Kiss kiss.

Okay, everything I said was a lie. I actually executed everyone on
site and committed numerous atrocities with the bodies. I then went to
their homes and converted all their families to a UFO Death Cult.
Afterward, I went to the mall and yelled at people who used bad

Seriously, I agree that PURPOSEFULLY ignoring a companies policies and
procedures is dumb. I never meant to suggest that. But, you don't
make policies and procedures just because you don't have them.
Believe it or not, there are companies in the universe that make
money, make cool products, and don't kill people - and they don't have
a policy manual the size of an unabridged dictionary.

Now, that settled, I have to eat my ham sandwich.

Andrew Plato

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

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