I came up with this list while watching David Letterman (sure do miss him) recite one of his Top 10 lists. While I don’t delude myself that I’m as clever as he is, I hope you enjoy my attempt at humor nonetheless.

10.  If you do not understand the instructions for setting up your DVD player, the instructions were not written by a proper technical writer.

9.  If, while having lunch with a group, someone calculates every person’s portion of the bill including tip, that “someone” is an accountant. The technical writer is busy documenting the accountant’s procedure on the nearest napkin.

8.  Technical writers watch other things besides Star Trek and The Big Bang Theory.

7. While traveling in an airplane, you notice that the person in the next seat begins laughing uncontrollably while reading the “In Case of Emergency” card. You are sitting next to a technical writer.

6.  If you know a person who has read a life insurance policy cover to cover, you know a technical writer. If the person mentioned finding grammatical errors, typos, redundancies, and found a way to rewrite it for improved clarity then you know a great technical writer.

5.  Technical writers enjoy sending examples of really awful writing, like this box insert, to friends and colleagues.


4.  It is your first date and while at dinner, your date notices a typo on the menu, and an error in the hand washing procedure posted in the restroom . No need to ask what your date does for a living.

3. If, while arguing, the person outlines your infractions as 1, 2, 2(a), 2(b), 3 . . ., you may be arguing with a technical writer.

2. Feel free to invite a technical writer to your party—technical writers have amazing stamina. It’s the training obtained while staying awake for hours documenting mundane tasks.

1.  You ask a person to recommend a fascinating read and the person is torn between The Chicago Manual of Style and Microsoft Solutions Framework Core Whitepapers—yep, technical writer.