When I started this, I promised myself I would write 350-750 words a day. In terms of paper, that’s around 1 1/3 to 5 pages of double-spaced type. Not so hard, huh? Particularly for someone who has produced 8 to 10 pages of material daily for weeks at a time.
Here’s the problem: back then, I was getting paid and being given a topic, if you will. Basically, as a technical writer, you produce documents, electronic or paper, concerning the topic your employer/client wants documented. It’s pretty cut and dried. Very, very dry, in most cases, which is why I enjoyed doing user documentation. Explaining how to use software to accomplish one’s job always appealed to me; after all, computers were supposed to simplify our lives, weren’t they?
I was already out of college when the personal computer was invented. I once had a boss who swore no personal computer would ever befoul the sacred confines of his IS department. Of course, he’d spent his career in a big IBM mainframe shop and was feeling a little claustrophobic managing a department using a Data General mini-computer. It was a nice machine, with a fairly simple operating system proprietary to Data General. I learned a lot in that job, including that saying yes at the wrong moment can be catastrophic. I am thinking of the time I nearly deleted the accounting department’s files. All of them. Actually, I did delete them, but I had an up-to-date backup file and I put them right back. Until now, I was pretty much the only person who knew about that. Twenty-five years is sufficient for keeping that little secret, I suppose.
Just talking about it brings up the “Holy S***!!!” falling feeling in my stomach. Amazing how long those feelings can hang with you when you have to keep them secret. My boss at that time was not tolerant or forgiving and the organization I worked for was barely willing to have me around, because I was a single parent. At least in that area, most employers are more willing to work with employees these days. Thank goodness I had a great daycare mom who was willing to keep my son when I had to work overtime for month-ends. My daughter’s boss loves his young mothers and mothers-to-be and supports them as much as he can, not penalizing the women when they have to get children to the doctor or have a daycare breakdown. It pleases me; I know women like myself who did what they had to do to support their kids contributed to a more tolerant time.
Well, there you have it, today’s maunderings. I have a couple of things planned to write about in the future, but tonight was just a pop-off. Sometimes it’s like that, I suppose.
Just some thoughts on a beautiful spring day in Denver.