Re: Squashed egos... it ain't pretty!

Subject: Re: Squashed egos... it ain't pretty!
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 13:15:08 -0600

> I recently got into a grudge match over the time line I'd established for a
> particular document's delivery. My boss said, and I quote:
> "Given the choice between a quality document that
> will take 4 months, and a mediocre one that will take
> 4 weeks, I'll choose the mediocre one *every time*!"
> I swear, I just about blew an artery when he said that.
> There is so little understanding of what our job's
> plain and simple. I hate the fact that I am forced to constantly produce
> than my best work.

And I'll bet you (or anyone) a virtual lunch that your boss grouses
to his peers and anyone else who will listen about the fact that
(as he likely sees it) technical writers display
" little understanding of business's frustrating,
plain and simple. I hate the fact that tech writers can't or won't
find an appropriate middle ground for document quality or recognize
when they've stumbled into the wrong side of the 80/20 equation."

I've never published ANYTHING that I'd call my
"best work". There's a lot that I'm really proud of, but
all tech writing requires a compromise between polished
perfection and acceptable adequacy. One of the real arts of
technical communication is finding the correct level of
polish vs. adequacy for any given document, and not getting
stuck into a mode of overzealous perfectionism or settling
for inadequate slapped-together getting-by work.
Or, as Deb puts it, "you do your best work, given the amount of
time available." Business realities dictate the time
available, though, and you have to understand those.


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