RE: English Majors and Ex-Military (or current Military)

Subject: RE: English Majors and Ex-Military (or current Military)
From: jwaddell <jwaddell -at- micron -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 16:20:39 -0600

Here are two quotes, perhaps infamous to civilians, about the military:

"The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos,
and the American Army practices it on a daily basis."
- from a post-war debriefing of a German General

"One of the serious problems in planning the fight against American
doctrine, is that the Americans do not read their manuals, nor do they feel
any obligation to follow their doctrine... "
- From a Soviet Junior LT's Notebook

My understanding is that the military gives technical writers experience in
large, unwieldy organizations that are constantly changing. The skill of
adapting and working in this sort of environment can be a great asset to a
technical writer, one that military service teaches on a daily basis (or in
my case a couple of times a month and two weeks in the summer, hah).

My "Corporate America" experience is by no means without the same challenges
as the military, but certainly not to the same degree. There are other
skills that military experience gives, leadership, tactics, diplomacy
(really, you try to get promoted without it), but coping skills are one of
the most important in "surviving" the military life. It has often been the
coping skills learned in the military that has given me an advantage in
technical writing projects (and child-rearing).

John (of many hats)
Technical Writer
Chief Warrant Officer Three
Helicopter Pilot
FrameMaker ACE
English Major
Husband & Father


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