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The Tech Writer’s Lot

March 11, 2012

Right now I’m the boring kind of technical writer.  I write process and procedure documents. My natural personality endears me to my customers, but eventually they realize my job is to make them replaceable, and worse, it shows them how loosy-goosy they are.

Efficient, repeatable procedures are key to cost savings and accuracy.  The most detail-oriented person, however, doesn’t realize how inefficient and freewheeling they are.

I often hear, “Oh, no, here he comes.”  Because I ask annoying questions like, “Why do you do it like this?” “What happens if…”  “How do you do…”  And it’s rather amazing that so few people actually know the answer.

Part of my job is to grasp the big picture and drill down to the minute picture.  It’s often a fact that people who know the big picture don’t know the little picture, and those who know the little picture don’t know the big picture (in other words, why they do what they do).  It’s interesting when the light bulb goes on.  With clear cut procedures, the first thing that happens is employees start to own their jobs and begin to find better ways to do something (which means a lot of editing the documents).

They begin worrying that the documents will make them replaceable, but empowers them to become irreplaceable.

It’s still boring, though.

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