Re: Ideas in Motion

Subject: Re: Ideas in Motion
From: "Tim Altom" <taltom -at- simplywritten -dot- com>
To: "TechDoc List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 08:43:54 -0500

I think Andrew has touched on a point that is too often ignored in our
industry: some of us think of what we do as a profession, while others see
it as a job.

The difference is in the degree of responsibility. Some of us point to
doctors, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals who must stand behind
their work, no matter who they work for, and say we should at least show the
same responsibility even if we're not legally obligated to do so.

The other camp maintains that what we're doing is far, far away from those
professions, that what we do is what we're told to do. Take your check, cash
it, and move on.

I understand both points of view, and I see the business imperative that
Andrew writes about. Many high-tech companies want to pump out technology
and don't care if anybody can actually use it. They won't listen to a
professional communicator if one shows up. So from his perspective, Andrew
is correct.

My sorrow isn't that there are these two kinds of approaches and writers,
but that they have the same title and appearance. Clients, employers, and
even colleagues often can't tell the difference until it's too late.
Projects that deserve high-level professionalism receive shoddy treatment,
often because nobody else on the team could tell dross from gold until it's
been spun and the check cashed. In our city, there are large numbers of
clerical employees typing transcriptions for a Fortune 500 local company,
who, due to corporate politics, must be given the titles of "technical
writer". Other industries are busily splitting their expectations into
levels, and I expect ours will have to follow.

Tim Altom
Simply Written, Inc.
Featuring FrameMaker and the Clustar Method(TM)
"Better communication is a service to mankind."
317.562.9298
Check our Web site for the upcoming Clustar class info
http://www.simplywritten.com

>
> No, sometimes it is NOT your duty to point out the faults. Tech writing is
NOT
> synonymous with medicine. There are times when you have to accept the
> environment as is and make do. Especially as a contractor.


Tim Altom
Simply Written, Inc.
Featuring FrameMaker and the Clustar Method(TM)
"Better communication is a service to mankind."
317.562.9298
Check our Web site for the upcoming Clustar class info
http://www.simplywritten.com






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