Re: Useful Lessons For New People

Subject: Re: Useful Lessons For New People
From: "Rick Ramsey" <rick -dot- ramsey -at- east -dot- sun -dot- com>
To: "Lisa Westcott" <Lisa_Westcott -at- telus -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 10:16:28 -0500


Sounds like you managed to sift through the garbage and come up with the
right conclusion. A useful skill for your new career! I have been a
technical writer for 22+ years, spent a few years as info architect and
content manager, and even published a couple of technical books. Most of my
experience has been in Silicon Valley, though my family and I moved to
Massachusetts a few years ago.

We tech writers can be an entertaining, brilliant, hilarious, insightful,
and delightful lot. We can also be synical, anal, pompous, depressing,
defeated human beings too tangled in the weeds to reach for the machette.
Most of us have some of the good and some of the bad. How you judge us (and
yourself) depends on what qualities you look for and who you hang with.

Personally, I believe every company should hire young writers. Japanese
culture values young minds for the innovation, enthusiasm, and willingness
they bring to a company. Not everyone in America agrees with that strategy
or with the value of those qualities. Forget about them. You go right
ahead and walk into every job confident in the value of what you bring, and
though you'll have a lot to learn, don't for a minute think you don't have a
lot to offer old geezers like me who think we know it all.

What has always paid off for me:
- work hard, work smart
- serve the interests of the reader
- recognize the real value of what you do
- hang out with the winners (but watch out for the posers!)
- never stop improving your writing; it's an art form, dedicate yourself
to mastering it
- prepare well and trust in your judgement

What has seldom or never paid off for me:
- blaming other people or situations for my problems
- doubting myself
- not seeing the value in what I do
- putting more emphasis on working hard than on working smart
- disparaging the work of fellow writers, tempting as it sometimes is
- isolating (watch out for this one!)
- ceasing to learn new tools, technologies, methods.

Good luck and bless you for coming into this profession with so much
enthusiasm and purpose.


----- Original Message -----
From: Lisa Westcott <Lisa_Westcott -at- telus -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Cc: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2000 8:37 PM
Subject: Re: Useful Lessons For New People

> I'd just like to say a huge thank you to Thomas Murrell for what I'm going
> take as a huge boost of confidence.
> I'm currently 14½ weeks away from completing my Technical Communication
> certificate and 15 weeks away from moving out of Canada and down to
> Valley where my hubby-to-be is working.

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