RE: apologia pro vita sua (was Re: The Old Argument: FrameMa

Subject: RE: apologia pro vita sua (was Re: The Old Argument: FrameMa
From: "Brady, Joy" <JBrady -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 16:28:34 -0500

Mark Baker wrote:

"I haven't talked about the skills needed by a technical writer. I
> talked about the things companies require technical writers to do. I have
> said that companies should not require technical writers to do graphic
> design, layout, DTP, and pre-prodiction work. As long as companies
> continue
> to require these things, tech writers will need to know them. That doesn't
> make it the right way to run a department."
I do find it interesting that nobody has agreed with Mark on this: a tech
writer is expected to have an incredible array of skills. I remark to
myself again and again that this work group must consists of especially
talented people. Why do companies expect us to have such an array in order
to be employable?

I, like many others on this list, really enjoy having a variety of skills,
and this job does appeal to my "innate curiosity" (someone's good insight
about tech writers). But I wonder if the expectation of us to do EVERYTHING
has to do with a low valuation of the tech writer in the business world. I
mean, we really, really have to sing for our supper. I can and will "sing &
dance," whatever it takes, but I know that my programmer buddies do not have
to, and they make similar money. It's the nature of the job, I guess. It
reminds me of when I was an office manager for a non-profit...

I co-wrote grants (and helped bring in thousands and thousands of dollars),
built the databases, troubleshot everyone's PC troubles, upgraded our PCs
(yes, RAM upgrades, etc.), created our brochures in PageMaker, took care of
all of the office equipment. I had much, much more variety in my abilities
than anyone else. I made $22,000/year. Everyone else made 38,000+. Now,
part of this is probably because I'm dumb in some ways, and because I came
from an even worse paying job prior to that, but a lot of it is that I was
not the one out making the presentations, etc. I was not the money maker!

Tech writing feels a lot the same, but boy oh boy is the pay better. Well,
back to my singing and dancing...

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