Re: Thoughts on working WITH developers...

Subject: Re: Thoughts on working WITH developers...
From: "HICKEY, John David" <jdhickey -at- GROUPE-PROGESTIC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 14:02:07 -0500

Greetings Eric!

>I wonder, though, why it seems that so many people start
>out with the us vs. them mentality in the first place.
[...]
>but I think that approaching the common task of
>getting information for your documentation products
>with any kind of us vs. them attitude is probably a key
>part of the problem.
[...]
>But, ideal environment aside, working _with_ developers
>has ALWAYS been successful for me, and I've never had
>to resort to coercion to get the information I needed.

I agree with you Eric, and whenever I've been able to work with the
developers, it's always worked out, and worked out wonderfully.

But sometimes the dynamics of a company breed an US vs THEM attitude that is
inherent in the workplace. While I don't suggest you have to participate in
this feudal war, you can at least be aware of it and try to steer clear of
it. Therefore, it's sometimes necessary to warn up-and-comers about the US
vs THEM problem and let them know it might be something they'll have to deal
with to get their information.

Example: Way back in my early days as a technical writer, I was hired by a
company about 5 months after I finished university. I didn't know anything
about "office politics" and the US vs THEM attitude, so when I ran into it,
it battered me around so much that I didn't which end was up. I naively
thought: "I'm a professional, they're professionals. Of course, they'll just
provide me with all the answers I need because we're a team". But by the
time I realized what was happening, I was so depressed and unproductive, the
company had to let me go.

Since then, I've learned how to assess the extents of the US vs THEM
syndrome in the workplace and how to adapt to it (an essential skill for any
freelancer). And I admit, I've had to resort to some sort of bribery in
order to get information from people. But overall, a request for information
and a kind word usually gets the job done.

I don't think you have to breed or encourage the US vs THEM attitude, but I
think it's good to know that it exists.
---
Be seeing you,

John David Hickey
Technical Writer
---
Groupe-Progestic
Montreal, Quebec
514-842-7995

Do not confuse my opinions with my employers'
Each exists in blissful ignorance of the other.
---


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