The other day somebody sent me a funny sentence taken from an advert for a technical writer published on Jobnet. The advert stated they were looking for a technical writer who was good at writing, editing and marinating technical articles.
How I laughed; how I chortled; how I giggled; how I suddenly had a nervous breakdown when I realized it was my very own company that had published that Job Description.
I rushed like the wind, a forbidding wind, to HR. “All job adverts are edited by the marketing writer” they said to me.
Okay I thought, now that you mention it – marinating is not such a bad word. In fact – it’s quite a clever way to look at technical writing. Just like the piece of chicken soaking up the ketchup and the wine and the mustard; so too the technical writer takes the raw manual and uses it to soak up the information and the concepts and the lingo to produce a deliciously grilled final product.
When I finally got hold of the marketing writer, he said he had never seen the job description before. My simile flew out of the window quicker than you could say “Put another shrimp on the Barbie” and I promptly sent a condescending, snobby email to HR, Director of Support, Director of Products, the guy who once fixed the radiator in my house and a distribution list of everyone in my high school class.
HR realized immediately that marinating was a gross error and in fact they had meant to write “maintaining”. They sent me an email promising to find the source of that mistake and shoot him at dawn without offering him a blindfold (they didn’t actually say that in the email – but it was inferred).
But you know – for that half an hour – when I was prepared to accept the marketing writer’s clever use of language – I really got into the whole marinating concept. And so I say to you, my colleagues, have you marinated your User Guide lately?