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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Frag the Simpest of Tasks

I love the way Ed on Techwr-l strung words together when he wrote:

I worked with writers who could frag the simplest of tasks. The conclusion I've come to is that we need some skill, but also must want to get better at it.

To which I replied:
I agree with what you wrote below. I briefly worked at a hellhole for a few months in a department with a writer that had come from Marketing before I arrived. She insisted upon using InDesign to write a 100+ page user guide. InDesign (ID) *could* have been the right tool, but she refused to use its capabilities.

  1. She wouldn't use styles to automatically create a TOC, brushing it off as "too complicated". She wouldn't comprehend that my suggestion would avoid the horror story she told me about manually typing the TOC, printing it, and then verifying, by hand that the TOC matched the actual page number, and staying until 11 PM the night before a deadline to make sure the manual was done on time.
  2. She required a line be drawn next to each heading from the last letter of the heading to the right margin.
  3. She used empty paragraphs to control formatting.
  4. When I asked whether the department standard was one or two spaces after a period, she told me, "Use one unless it looks funny, then use two."
It's very difficult to say anything positive about those months. Thankfully, I'm at a much better employer, approaching my 4 year anniversary in May 2015.

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