Re. Decisions, decisions... whether to manage?

Subject: Re. Decisions, decisions... whether to manage?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, "'Marc A. Santacroce'" <epubs -at- ricochet -dot- net>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 13:39:35 -0400

Marc Santacroce, feeling a little long in the tooth, wondered <<I need to
ask your assistance in deciding whether I should accept a permanent
position as a Documentation Manager, or continue contracting as a Senior
Technical Writer... I elected to leave management about 10 years ago,
because I was burned out, and I also realized my hands-on technical writing
skills had deteriorated, and needed upgrading... On the other hand, I have
to wonder how much longer I can stay competitive as a contractor, and where
contracting will leave me in 5 years.>>

The best advice a young pup like me can give an old dog like you? <g> Follow
your heart, but don't ignore your head. Me, I can't imagine being a manager;
I've done it once, survived it, and have no desire to do it again. Besides,
I'd still rather do the work than supervise others while they do the work,
and so long as that remains the case, this is the level at which I'll
retire. To me, the main questions you need to answer are:
- What do you miss about management? Do you miss that enough to risk being
"burned out" again?
- What makes you think your skills are no longer competitive, or will soon
become that way? (My opinion: forget the tools vs. skills debate; so long as
you can write, you're a valuable employee. You can always learn the new
tools as you go. As the tools proliferate, pick the ones you prefer and that
will remain in demand, and focus your contracting efforts there. Leave the
new tools for the young'uns and stick with your strengths.)
- What benefits will the permanent position offer (e.g., medical coverage, a
pension) that you don't already have?

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Technical writing... requires understanding the audience, understanding
what activities the user wants to accomplish, and translating the often
idiosyncratic and unplanned design into something that appears to make
sense."--Donald Norman, The Invisible Computer


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