Dec 112013
Updated: December 30, 2013

minor edits for consistency, changed Santa's to Santas, etc.

This entry is part 2 of 14 in the series Prez Says

The holidays are upon us. This is a time of celebration and family. And crowded parking lots, long lines at every store, and holiday music creeping into our ears every place we go. Before you know it, you’re putting lights on the house humming Jingle Bells to yourself until your fingertips start to freeze while sipping on a gingerbread latte. These times can also be a little stressful, so here is our Technical Writer’s Holiday Survival Guide to get you through the holidays with minimal stress, and maybe even a little relaxation.

Greeting Cards

Every day the mail carrier brings a new stack of holiday greetings, tidings of joy, and news of family and friends near and far. And since you are still in editor mode from your 60-hour week, you can’t help but to analyze every one of them for grammatical errors. Come on, admit it! Somewhere in between season’s greetings, school pictures of children, and that one relative who sends a detailed account of every single activity the family did in the past year, you find yourself with red pen in hand, adding commas and striking misused gerunds.

Put the pen down. Enjoy the news from near and far that actually arrives in the mail. Real mail. Paper mail! Let the typos go and take a deep breath. There is no deadline to meet, just enjoy!

Social Gatherings

The holiday festivities abound with parties, happy hours, dinners, buffets, and cookies everywhere! At these gatherings, we celebrate and reconnect. Until someone asks you what you do. You cringe, knowing what is coming next.

“Well, I’m a technical writer.”
“Right. So… what do you do?”
“Well, to put it simply, I write instruction manuals.”
“You know no one reads those, right?”

We’ve all had that conversation. Take this as the perfect opportunity to refill your glass of eggnog and to bite the head off another gingerbread cookie.

Those Holiday Pounds

All of these social gatherings inevitably lead to the dreaded holiday weight gain. Fear not! Before 2014 even settles in, you will be right back to chasing your SMEs, furiously typing away to meet the next deadline, and pulling your hair out when that engineer asks why you can’t just cut-and-paste your content from the product spec?

If that doesn’t work off those gingerbread cookie calories, fear not! The next Nor’easter is right around the corner.

Holiday Decorations

Lights! Inflatables Santas riding polar bears! Your neighbors ultra-megawatt display that lights up the entire street (and shines right in your window!) The outdoor holiday decorations are in full swing.
But your lights are up first and fastest on your block! Why? Because you probably planned your design, checked the inventory from last year’s lights, bought some new ones, and pulled out the diagram of the lighting set up that you did last year!

Your lights from last year still work because you stored them properly, just as it said in the instructions! No burned out bulbs here, you knew to connect only three strings together before blowing a fuse?

Yup, that was in the instructions too! No mismatched, half-blinking, half-solid, half-burned out strings of lights on your house.

You got all that done on time, on budget, and within the power rating of your home circuit because, as a technical writer, you are unfailingly organized, efficient, logical, and detail-oriented. And you read the manual!

Happy Holidays from STC New England!

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