Level 1, Level 2, Level 9 billion

Subject: Level 1, Level 2, Level 9 billion
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 01:38:51 -0700 (PDT)

I just can't leave it alone. It is like a scab you just have to pick.


> I'm afraid that all this discussion about "process" has obscured the dual
> nature of that word. "Process" is a way of doing documentation, such as the
> Clustar Method or Kepner-Tregoe. "Process" is also a sequence of steps that
> should be taken to produce documentation. This second kind of process is
> spelled out in the masterwork on the subject, JoAnn Hackos' "Managing Your
> Documentation Projects". If you fully absorb that book, it will reduce your
> time out the door by at least 10 percent, even in bad conditions.
>

Hmmmm

10 hours to read the book, 15 hours to learn the method, and another 150 to
write the manual.

Or 160 to just sit down and write the manual and ignore the methods all
together.

Ooooo, this is a tough one. I wish I hadn't smoked all that dope before math
class.

Okay if you are a grade zero, fresh off the farm tech writer, there is some
value in learning the ropes and adopting some structure. But at some point it
is time to let go of the process teat and actually catch your own prey.

Worse - you could spend a zillion hours perfecting the XYZ method only to be
downsized and trying to sell your expertise in a system very few use. A
recruiter at my company interviewed a guy the other day for a ColdFusion
position. This applicant raved about how he knew some methodology. The
recruiter nodded and carried on the interview as normal. The guy was insistent
that his expertise was the sole reason he was qualified and worth more money.
Of course, whenever the recruiter asked about his ColdFusion skills, he just
redirected the question to talking about his amazing ability to implement this
methodology at his last employer.

The recruiter finished the interview, politely thanked him for his time, showed
him out, and threw away his resume.

Sure - it is swell he knew this methodology - but NOBODY wants that. The
client wanted someone who could hook a ColdFusion server to Sybase.
Methodology was utterly, totally irrelevant. As long as it worked and made them
able to build the apps who frickin' cares how he got it there.

Guess what - this is not some isolated contractor's circumstance. This is what
ALL companies want (and need). People who can do the work and make money.

> If your organization is a level 1 or 2, don't expect to get much sympathy
> for instituting processes or procedures. If you're a level 3 person in such
> an organization, move on. You'll be frustrated and frustrate everyone around
> you if you don't go.

Now here is some truth. Basically - if you even care about levels then you'll
never fit in with the rest of us who could care less. Because the rest of us
know how completely arbitrary this stuff is.

Level 1, Subsector 5, Grade Q, why not just name these levels as they really
are:

5 Police State, with random full body cavity searches
4 Tyrannical Monarchy
3 Semi-corrupt Democracy
2 The Good Kind of Communism
1 Pre IPO
0 Millionaire 23 year olds eating that weird-ass Thai food and driving BMWs

Honestly, I am really quite impressed that some consultants can sell these
methodologies. I would give my right kidney if companies would pay me for my
bullsh*t. Believe me I have tried to sell bullsh*t to people and while there
are some suckers who will buy it - eventually the sucker train leaves the
station. Trust me, I have mountains and mountains of bullsh*t to sell and not
too many buyers. I guess I am a bad sales man.

Thus, I am stuck selling what will always sell: hard work. Hard work and a "get
it done at all costs" attitude will always have value. This isn't some goofy
New Age crap - it is pure economics. Work has true value, the value of
structure fluctuates wildly.

Structure at the expense of work is waste - plain and simple. Hard work has
been the backbone of the capitalist system for over 1000 years and it is not
likely to change.

So, those of you that sell processes and methodologies to clients, I salute
you. You have real guts. I wish I had the business and sales acumen to do
this because I would be a very wealthy man. I have so much bullsh*t to sell,
I'd never run out.

For me, I will have to struggle and sell my skills and talent. It isn't much,
but it will keep me employed.

Now get back to, er, work - YOU!

Andrew Plato

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