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There's another consideration to this thread that's not gotten much
attention -- the needs of the employer. Some employers can't wait for the
learning curve of an applicant, as bright and promising as the applicant
Sometimes the unwillingness to risk dealing with the timing of a learning
curve reflects realism on the part of the company - they simply want a
certain skill set in short order because they recognize that they don't
have the resources for training, in terms of time or available expertise.
I've seen unrealistic companies bring on unqualified applicants and the
results are painful for everyone.
Writers who have specialized in areas of technology can also be the
objects of the "you're not technical enough" formula too. There are two
organizations in my area that are populated with PhD-in-English types who
have stellar general publication credits. They have their own
perception of requirements and the closed door strikes me as a good
opportunity to practice tolerance of diversity. And, although I enjoy the
fantasy that I can do anything another tech writer can do, maybe they're
right to ignore my resume.
On Fri, 28 Jul 2000, Tom Murrell wrote:
> I agree that there is no substitute for experience. I certainly agree with you
> that both rhetorical skill and experience (technical expertise?) are equally
> important. I think a competent writer, possessed of the rhetorical skills, can,
> with proper application of self, acquire the expertise necessary to create the
> needed documentation.
> It tends to annoy me when people focus on one or the other of these two
> concepts as somehow the only one that is important. (As in, "Any idiot can
> write. What you need is to be technically competent." Or on the other hand,
> "I'm a Writer, not a mechanic, Jim!" <g>) I think a writer can be an effete
> snob, to quote Spiro Agnew, something I rarely do. And I think a geek can churn
> out words that may, or more likely may not, communicate something to an
> audience. But it takes a Technical Writer, a true Technical Writer, to marry
> the two into the discipline we practice under the rubric of Technical Writer.
> Tom Murrell
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