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You know, I don't think too many people who aren't writers themselves
appreciate the work that writers do. From the perspective of the average
person, writers sit around all day. We seldom do any work as they
understand the term. This lack of appreciation is especially true in the
office environment where everyone writes something now and again. Since
their writing is probably a small part of their job, they have trouble
imagining that there is anything more to what we do than throwing words on
Of course, we don't always help ourselves. It generally annoys me to hear
about a Technical Writer whose goal is to become a developer, usually
because the pay is better. I once interviewed a nice fellow who told me
that his goal in applying for the job I was offering was to get inside the
company so he could look around and find a place where he could do what he
really wanted to do. (I'm such a snob; I didn't hire him. <g>)
So, let me ask you all a question. When was the last time you thanked the
people who write the reference material you use everyday in your jobs? Ever
drop a note to the dictionary editors or the thesaurus editors or the style
guide writers or the help creators for the software you use in your job?
I confess I haven't done that either, though I am quick to complain when
those materials are incorrect, incomplete, or (worst of all) don't conform
to my notions of what is correct.
Perhaps it is the nature of our profession that it is, truly, a thankless
job, that we do it because we have a passion for it, and that when we do it
well no one notices, but when we make a mistake they come from everywhere to
make sure we know about it.
I'm a believer that what goes around comes around. If we want more notice
and praise, we might want to try giving more notice and praise. (Oh, and it
would annoy the heck out of me to be thanked for "beautifying" the
Senior Technical Writer
Alliance Data Systems
800 Techcenter Drive
Gahanna, OH 43230
Fax: (614)729-4499 mailto:tmurrell -at- alldata -dot- net