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Director: We could hire a professional services consultant to explain how X works to us.
Me: Nah, let me and [colleague] do a little research first. I bet we could figure it out ourselves.
Director: I love your DIY spirit.

My DIY spirit was forged largely in grad school, where literally almost everything was more expensive than my own labor. Why spend what could end up being thousands of dollars on a consultant when maybe we could just do it ourselves? The only thing I need to remember is that I'm not paid like a grad student anymore and neither is [colleague]*, so it is possible to reach a point where the consultant becomes the cost effective option.

Until then, I'm gonna DIY it. Punk rock doc, y'all.

*Come to think of it, [colleague] is also a former grad student, which might explain part of why we work so well together.
Which song makes you happy every time you hear it, and why?

New Order's Regret. Actually, nearly everything by New Order, with the exception of some of the stuff on their later albums, makes me instantly, inexplicably, happy. Sumner, Hook, Gilbert, and Morris appear to have found a direct connection to my limbic system. (Post-New Order spinoffs Electronic and Bad Lieutenant still manage to hit the same neurons occasionally, but Joy Division doesn't. Which ought to make it clear that this is an entirely separate phenomenon from the pure aesthetic appreciation of the music.)

I chose "Regret" in particular because it was the song I listened to over and over again while I was in the process of escaping graduate school, probably because it captured the mixture of hope and regret I felt at the time. Now, hearing it always reminds me that it is possible to completely screw up something that you thought was really important to you, and still have things turn out better than you'd have ever imagined.
19th-Jun-2008 11:32 am(no subject)
bannakaffalatta, short
"Technical writer" seems like a very poor job description for the combination of project management, cheerleading, IT support, reference librarianship, and stand-up comedy that I've been doing this morning.

Still, I am having a blast. It's a lot like the best parts of teaching chemistry, and no one ever asks, "Is this going to be on the exam?"
Just finished teaching a class on writing online Help. It went well. It's amazing how old instincts kick in - despite my not having had time to rehearse, I'd prepared just enough material so that with time to answer all the inevitable questions, I finished exactly in my allotted time slot.

People seemed to think it was well-delivered, as well, though I was acutely aware of every "um", awkward pause, or clumsily expressed thought, since we were recording the whole thing for posterity. Not sure if I'll have the guts to go back and listen to it later. Not sure if anyone will go back and listen to it later, but it seems to have served its purpose in the present.
15th-Jun-2007 10:41 am(no subject)
Had lunch yesterday with a former coworker from my last job. (She had worked there as a contractor, and is now working as a contractor just up the street.) Neither of us had realized until yesterday that we'd both bailed out of Ph.D. programs in the sciences and fallen into tech writing. We drank a toast: "Here's to bailing out of your Ph.D. program!"

Honestly, I've told my manager that we ought to start trawling local grad programs for disaffected grad students as part of our recruiting efforts. She's still skeptical.

The sonic screwdriver toy I'd ordered from Who North America arrived yesterday. I found it quite funny that you actually need a Phillips-head screwdriver to open the battery compartment of your sonic screwdriver. The sonic screwdriver is, of course, useless as a screwdriver, but it emits UV light, useful for revealing hidden messages written with the included UV-activated invisible ink. I keep thinking that there ought to be all sorts of glow-in-the-dark possibilities with this.

I am very, very glad that today is Friday
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