Re: Not Technical Enough (who gets laid off)

Subject: Re: Not Technical Enough (who gets laid off)
From: "Jason Willebeek-LeMair" <jlemair -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 08:55:32 -0500

I got me a degree in Underwater Basketweaving from Podunk University (PU),
and I am a good tech writer (see, I even put that there acronym in them

I will always have a job, because my pappy/uncle Jim owns the company.

That smarmy bastard know-it-all Fred will be laid off first. He thinks he
is so smart because he knows things about computers and stuff and had some
schoolin'. And he thinks he can write good. But he ain't blood.


Now, before widespread panic ensues, and current students feverishly change
their majors while other talented tech writers start looking for backup jobs
a McDonalds because they think their degree is wrong and some impending
downturn in the economy is going to leave the on the street with a little
cardboard sign reading "Will Write for Food", let's use our natural
faculties of reason:

Nobody really gives a rat's ass about your degree once you have experience.
"I am so sorry, Pat (non-gender-specific name 8-) ), although you have 20
books published on the subject, and your manuals have won acclaim in the
trade mags, I will have to lay you off because times are tough and
Slobbering Bob, although not as good as you, has an engineering degree and
you don't. Please, don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out."
Please refer to the TECHWR-L archives for information about getting
experience before landing your first TW job.

Learning does not stop upon graduation. HELLO! If it did, no one would
have a job after a year. Everyone would be losing their jobs to the new
graduates with the fresh knowledge. "Sorry, Visual Basic 6 has just come
out, I have to replace you with someone with a newer degree in computer
science since you only know version 5 and, obviously, it is impossible to
continue learning once you are out of school." (Insert the upgrade of your
choice in this example--FrameMaker [ack, 6 is out, there goes my job], HTML,
SCSI bus, etc.) Another bit o' wisdom--there is no law that prevents you
from learning something outside your field of study.

After several years of reading this list, I have come to believe that Scott
Adams is not too far off with his portrayal of technical writers. we do seem
to be a rather brittle lot, relying on gimmicks to provide us with a sense
of importance ("you use a plain text editor to code HTML? You hack! I use
UNIX commands to append each letter of my page to a file that I never even
open"). Maybe the STC should start a self-esteem counseling program. (joke
there, STC folks) So, if your degree makes you feel warm, fuzzy, and
superior, great! Get one of those carved wood copies of it and flash it
around a cocktail parties. Me, I will just have to make due with my non-sexy
degree and my accomplishments and abilities (flashing the crux of Mr. Slate
in Flagstaff without falling to my death on the rocks below made me feel
pretty warm and fuzzy, maybe I will order a plaque for cocktail parties).

Ramblin' in the early morning.

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