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>understood the technology and had some facility for explaining
>it to others (who were also usually engineers or technicians)
Therein lies the problem, Joe. Good ole boys are really good at
speaking the lingo with other good ole boys, and thereby they
exclude anyone else who does not understand the technology.
So why, then, would there need to be a manual? Why not just
gather around the water cooler and fling the lingo so those silly
secretaries think you're real important 'cus you use big words?
(To avoid any ambiguity, that was pure sarcasm)
It is exactly these stereotypes that we women have to face so
often in the workplace. It's a rather frustrating situation for many
reasons. If I downplay my technical skills in order to get the info
from you by making you feel important, then it's easy for you to
continue to think of me as a high-paid typist. Bribing with cookies
or brownies is another way some do this. On the other hand, if
I read through the stuff you give me, check it out for myself, then
return the doc with marks through your technical inaccuracies, what
do you suppose the reaction will be? From my experience, when
this happens, the engineer or SME feels threatened, and will often
become very stingy with any further information. I think they are
sometimes afraid I want their job. (NO THANKS!)
Point blank, the sex of the writer has nothing to do with the
quality of writing. I'm sorry you have such a chauvinistic view,
but I suppose it takes all kinds. I just hope that as the years
pass, and the good ole boys retire, that we can get down to
what really matters in technical writing--clear, concise, and
accurate documentation minus the exclusionary elitist hoakum
and horse sh*t. Good luck finding your next contract, especially
if the manager is a woman who reads this list.
Suggested reading for Joe:
"Talking 9-5" by Deborah Tannen----lots of "boring" stuff about
office politics between the sexes.