English majors, ex-military types, and overgeneralizations

Subject: English majors, ex-military types, and overgeneralizations
From: Bill Burns <bburns -at- scriptorium -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 12:37:41 -0600

Both of these subthreads reveal the problem with attempting to pigeonhole individuals in handy little categories. Most of the technical writers (heck, technical PEOPLE) I know have arts backgrounds, and they've managed to learn the technology side of the business very well. Sure, I know a number who shouldn't be in this business (and a few who shouldn't be in academia, either), but I also know a number of engineers who couldn't calculate their way out of a paper bag, much less provide the correct production specs for one. I also know a very capable military type with a BA in English who pops in on this list now and then. Well, he is sort of an enigma...

The categories we're using are about as useful for identifying a person's capabilities as those MBTI personality types that came up in discussion just recently. If you've met me, you probably wouldn't guess that I'm supposedly an INTP. That's because how I am in my professional environment doesn't fully reveal my preferences, habits, or capabilities. Nor do the diplomas hanging on my wall. Heck, we might as well be talking about our Chinese astrological signs as a qualification for work.

P.S. I'm a wooden dragon. Should I go into consulting?

Bill Burns, Senior Technical Consultant, Scriptorium Publishing
FrameMaker ACE, WebWorks Publisher Certified Trainer
bburns -at- scriptorium -dot- com - 208-484-4459


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