Should my ego be squashed?

Subject: Should my ego be squashed?
From: Genevieve Burt <gb_techwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 07:44:45 -0700 (PDT)

Hi all?
The thread regarding beautification of documents has
sparked some disgtruntledness in me. I am a recent
college grad, hired by a small engineering company to
save their engineers from having to spend time on
documentation. I am their first and only tech writer.

For the most part, my work is very interesting and
fulfilling?-I get to write user manuals and
description of ops for software and manufacturing
control systems, and I get to develop the company web
site when I?m not working on something billable.

*BUT* I have also been given the task of converting
dozens and dozens of old manuals from WP to Word (some
of our customers just switched over, and they want
magnetic copies of all their manuals in Word now).
They don?t want me to edit these old manuals for
clarity (they need it), or to make them more
user-friendly (they need that too), I?m just supposed
to convert them to Word with a smile.

But what really gets me, as you all can imagine, is
that this is incredibly boring work that takes up tons
of time?-I have to make sure the TOC page #s still
match, the headers are still at the tops of pages,
etc. I mean, I could be learning ASP or FrameMaker
with all that time. Yet I feel obligated to do this
X--I was hired to free up their time.
X--I can do it faster than them.
X--I am between billable projects, so I have time to
do it.
X--I want to look good in the eyes of my new bosses
and not seem snobby for refusing to do such a task.

What do you guys think? I?ve had to convert chunks of
documents twice now, but the biggest chunk is about to
be thrown my way (over 30 docs). I've been asked to
estimate the time it will take me to do it, so we can
prepare the customer for the charge. And I want to
throw up when I think of the neck and back-aches this
task will bring me, without doing anything to increase
my TW skills. I do not want to become known as the
glorified typist, and I do not like doing this, but I
feel like I have to. I mean, my six month review will
be in January, and I don?t want to be marked down for
refusing to do a necessary task. Any suggestions?
There's a community college down the road...maybe I
could talk them into getting an intern to do it???
(wishful thinking?)


Genevieve W. Burt
{Technical Writer}
Bachelor Controls, Inc.
Do You Yahoo!?
Bid and sell for free at

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