RE: Is this just the way things are?

Subject: RE: Is this just the way things are?
From: Ellen Black <eblack -at- usdata -dot- com>
To: "'Catherine Scribner'" <cscribner -at- netscape -dot- net>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 07:32:45 -0600


Unfortunately, the scenario that you describe is the kind of situation in
which I've found myself during most of the 14 years that I've worked as a
tech writer. I've had one perm job (company closed) and one contract
(contract ended) that defied your work-life description, but mostly, I've
found what you describe to be true and (gasp) sometimes, the situations are
even more horrible than you describe.

Every tech writer that I know who is knowledgeable, professional,
technically astute, and a good writer also concur with what you and I both
are saying. When these tech writer friends of mine and I get together, we
just shake our heads. We've all given up hope of ever finding a good working
environment, and we try to appease our tortured souls by reminding ourselves
that we do make more money in this profession than most other people do in
other professions. Sad, but true.

And as most of us have families to support, we put up with the bad
management and the fellow writers who don't have a clue and the
engineers/developers with egos the size of Pittsburgh, etc., etc.


-----Original Message-----
From: Catherine Scribner [mailto:cscribner -at- netscape -dot- net]
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 1999 11:18 AM
Subject: Is this just the way things are?

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

I work in the documentation department of a large and successful software
company. I'm wondering if what astonishes and frustrates me about this
department is just the way things are in documentation departments.

1. Technical feasibility of a tool for Help creation is determined after a
decision to use that tool has been made.

2. Technical implementation is delegated to a person who has not been able
produce acceptable results in more than six months.

3. The approved design of the Help system is constantly changing, depending
whom one speaks with.

4. In a recent release of the product, content about how to use the Help
system was incorrect and nobody seems to know who put the content in the

Is this just the way things are in software companies? A colleague tells me
that the industry is too young to have been able to attract managers that
anything about management.

Is bad management just the price one pays for working in this industry?

Cathy Scribner
cscribner -at- netscape -dot- net

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