RE: Technical Writing, Training and QA ... and Law Firms

Subject: RE: Technical Writing, Training and QA ... and Law Firms
From: "Christensen, Kent" <lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 09:26:03 -0700

re: A poster summarizes his thread regarding "... why we have been
resistant to taking on additional training assignments." He notes "Our fear
is that training will take precedence over the technical writing and that
our documentation will suffer as a result."

So ... while of course "hours in a day" is often a problem and is one that
can be sometimes but not always addressed by working smarter, these
statement beg for the response that tech writers should think more globally
(and perhaps even agree to take meeting minutes). I suggest that anyone who
sees themselves as a technical writer whereby s/he produces products that
explain the use of her/his firm's products should also see her/himself as

a marketeer for their firm's products
a trainer on use of their firm's products.

That's how your management likely sees you. Your management doesn't care a
whit about the "my major is better than your major" prejudice they taught
you at college.

Given this, it makes sense to suggest that tech writers can really benefit
from knowledge available in other courses of study such as marketing and
education. It seems rather self-defeating not to, and in my mind at least
it makes you look a bit foolish when you express this sort of resistance.
Continuing education is expected of professionals. I think the excuse "it's
not my job" is not available to tech writers.

Then there is ...

AH! BUT, just read the last bullet! (As if the long commute into NYC wasn't
enough!) [Bullet:] Able to work evenings and weekends, when required.

... from another poster who fears working for lawyers. (Their clients,

Timecard punching 9-5 and "it's not my job" both. Woo hoo. Nice work if
you can get it (ha!), but I think this does not describe tech writing. At
least not well paid, professional tech writing. It's interesting to me that
in both instances management's expectations of its employees seems to go
beyond the tech writers' own self images. What then is the role of the


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