Re: Senior Tech Writers Needed in San Ramon, CA.

Subject: Re: Senior Tech Writers Needed in San Ramon, CA.
From: "Bauman, R. Scott (C)" <R_Scott_Bauman -at- FMGC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 11:56:02 -0400

I am in the final stages of my Ph.D. in English, and have been teaching
Freshman Composition for over seven years. I am also working for the summer
rewriting the garbage that some business major wrote--over 1300 pages of it.
In a perfect world, techies and MBAs would have writing skills, but most
people put little to no emphasis on them, to the point of getting bent out
of shape when their writing is criticized, as the current uproar about an
English degree demonstrates. It sounds to me like the fault is in the
communication between the tech side and the writing side. A good writer,
given the proper information, can write about anything--if your employer
wanted a user guide that followed workflow, the writer should have been
given a workflow, or at least training on the software, and he probably

Check the stats: English and Liberal Arts majors are highly employable,
because they've learned to think rather than been trained in a certain
technology or field.

Scott Bauman

-----Original Message-----
From: Brad [mailto:kiwi -at- BEST -dot- COM]
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 1999 11:39 AM
Subject: Re: Senior Tech Writers Needed in San Ramon, CA.

What on earth do they think a degree in Journalism has to do with qualifying
anyone to be a technical writer?

Regarding an English major, someone with a PhD in English wrote my
employer's version 1.0 documentation. My employer is a startup; they knew
they needed a writer; they naively assumed that certainly a PhD would know
what he/she was doing. WRONG! The *absolute* worst technical writing drivel
I have ever seen was written by that person. Although his two documents--a
User Guide and an Administrator Guide--did have complete sentences with
complete with punctuation, the content and organization was worst than
anything that I've seen engineers or technical support staff shovel together
and call it technical documentation. Perhaps the PhD thought he was writing
a research paper or a novel. His two documents had absolutely no task
orientation--no procedures at all. Imagine a User Guide that doesn't tell
your customer how to do things! <gasp!>

After he left the company, I came in an performed a major rewrite of one of
his documents. Believe me, it's like comparing day and night.

By the way, I'm a Business Administration major with a minor in German. I
recently won an award in the STC competition. Actually, it's my study of
German that has greatly helped my understanding of the nuts and bolts of
English more so than any set of English courses that I had taken in college.

We are a diverse group of professionals. Anyone who *insists* that a
candidate *must* have an English or Journalism degree is a red flag that
they are clueless. I would look elsewhere for a job, and it's to their own
disadvantage that they are missing or disqualifying some good talent.


> Tony,
> Can you believe this guy? I post and ad and this guy wants to know why I
> want someone with an English degree. . . . I guess he has a lot of free
> time.
> Just curious. . . is this something that is a hot debate topic on this
> list?
> -Terri
> > -----Original Message-----

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