Re: Desperately seeking employment (and why)

Subject: Re: Desperately seeking employment (and why)
From: Donald Le Vie <dlevie -at- VLINE -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 08:11:33 -0500

Mr. Schrengohst:

We try very hard to not attack people personally on this thread for their
opinions, but I think that others may feel you have overstepped the

With all due respect, sir, yours is such an archaic, sexist, and elitist
position to take, with no causal relationship whatsoever between female
technical writers with English/Journalism degrees and "bad press" for
technical manuals. Your opinion is most anachronistic and reminiscent of a
"good ole boy" network other technical communicators have no tolerance for.
You immediately ignore the influence/power of upper management whims,
organizational hierarchies, and a plethora of other factors that influence
the quality of user documentation.

Yes, women constitute the majority in the technical communications
profession, just like men constitute the majority of the engineering
profession. You blanketly condemn the technical knowledge of the majority of
our profession as the cause for poor technical manuals...would you be so
bold as to make the same correlation between men in the engineering
profession and their inability to communicate clearly? I didn't think so.

I remember when the Lockheed plant here in Austin shut down a few years ago
and the company where I worked was flooded with resumes from engineers
trying to pass themselves off as technical writers. Few if any of them had
any experience whatsoever with windows-based platforms, or even the standard
set of documentation tools most of us use. Nor did they have any experience
with the Internet or the Web. Their "documentation" samples oozed with
obfuscation and circumlocution, courier fonts, mil-spec style formatting
(nothing wrong with that, just didn't fit our environment), and the most
rudimentary graphics and illustrations.Oh, and all the resumes came from

This is going to be an interesting thread for the next day or so, and I
think many of the people on this list are going to enjoy watching you get
rhetorically pummeled back to your cave. I, for one, will be holding out
that you will have a drastic change of opinion once everyone's finished
addressing your talk about a career-limiting

To the female contingency of this exciting and rewarding profession (and
members of this list server), I apologize for Mr. Schregohst's comments.

Donn Le Vie
Director, Information Development
Integrated Concepts, Inc.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Stockman [SMTP:stockman -at- JAGUNET -dot- COM]
> Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 1999 8:44 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: Desperately seeking employment (and why)
> On 7/13/1999 7:45 PM, Joe Schrengohst (jschreng -at- CISCO -dot- COM) wrote this
> unbelievable piece of opinion:
> >And today most "technical writing"
> >positions are filled with people (mostly women) who have the
> >English or Journalism degrees, but haven't the foggiest idea
> >about the technology they are supposed to describe, which,
> >I contend, has resulted in the bad press that many "technical
> >manuals" have received over the past few years.
> I'll ignore your senseless and irrelevant diatribe about women in
> technical writing, since I couldn't actually tell what your point was.
> I'll just address the quote above.
> I have strong memories of the manuals in those "Golden Years" you're
> referring to, back when they were full of wonderful technical information
> that was so poorly written and badly organized that only somebody who
> already knew the information could make sense of it, and those people
> didn't need it at all. The stories about lousy technical manuals started
> back when the first technical manual was written, and they haven't
> stopped since.
> It's possible that technical knowledge has gone down while writing and
> organizational skills have gone up... I think that we haven't lost much
> tech. knowledge compared to the huge gains in readability, but that's a
> matter of opinion.
> I think you're viewing the distant past years as if they're the "good old
> days," and you need to get more realistic. Bad old manuals sucked in
> different ways than the bad new manuals suck, and there were good ones
> then, and there are good ones now. Try to let yourself see them; you'll
> enjoy this field much more.
> ----->Mike
> _______________________________________________________________________
> Internet: stockman -at- jagunet -dot- com AOL: MStockman
> AOL Instant Messenger: MStockman
> From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=
> =

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