Read the case study, "Changing Bad Habits," below. Pretend that you are Vicki. Write a memo to Steve advising him on how to develop a more effective writing process for the workplace. While writing this memo, based on what the case study says about the quality of Steve's memo, what would you want to know about the writing process if you were Steve to help you produce a better proposal? Use the five stages of the writing process discussed in your textbook. Convey a positive attitude. What helpful resources might Vicki offer also?
Required length: one standard page, single spaced.
Changing Bad Habits
Vicki Clark, a design engineer at Cleveland Solutions, was excited to have a summer intern assigned to her. Her colleagues groaned when their supervisor, Brad Tellers, announced in May that a new engineering intern would be joining them later that month. They muttered about "extra work." But Vicki remembered fondly XXXXX XXXXX as an intern between her junior and senior year of college. That internship was her first chance to do a "real job," something more than flipping burgers or babysitting.
The intern, Steve Zimms, made a positive first impression on her. He was eager to learn, and he seemed excited about an opportunity to work in a design engineering firm. He seemed to be a whiz at the computer-aided drafting (CAD) system, and he was a fast learner. She put him right to work. Steve was able to handle all of the assignments Vicki gave him.
He also had a good Idea about how they could integrate CAD with fatigue analysis software to better anticipate where and when cracks would appear in the aluminum suspension components that Vicki was currently designing. Vicki liked Steve's idea. On Tuesday, she and Steve pitched it to her boss, Brad. With a smile, Brad said, "Great idea. Write it up as a proposal and have it on my desk by Monday. If your idea works, Steve, you might have a job waiting for you here when you graduate."
Vicki was very busy, so she let Steve write up the proposal himself. Monday morning, Steve sent the proposal directly to Brad without running it past Vicki first for comments. Two days later, Brad was down in Vicki's office with the proposal in his hand. "I still like the idea, Vicki, but this proposal is awful. It looks like he wrote it overnight."
After Brad left, Vicki called Steve into her office and asked him about the proposal. Steve admitted that he rushed it. He had waited until Sunday night to put his ideas on paper. "That's how I always write, and I've always gotten A and B grades on my papers. That's just the way I write." Vicki remembered her college days. She, too, could blast out papers the night before and still get A's. The workplace was different, though. Good ideas needed to be thought out more. Drafting took longer. Large documents, like proposals, needed more revision than the typical college paper. They also needed to be cycled past supervisors for comments and suggestions for improvement.
If you were Vicki, how might you train Steve to develop a more reliable writing process? How could you use the steps described in this chapter to help him slow down and think through the stages of his writing?