RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)

Subject: RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)
From: Christine -dot- Anameier -at- seagate -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 14:37:36 -0500

Glenn Maxey advocated a candid response to the tools question:"I don't know
it, but can learn it." I agree, BUT...

I've tried that approach repeatedly and haven't had any luck with it.

As a contractor I've been through this sequence of events several times:
1) A local agency calls me with a possible contract and asks if I "have
2) I say some variation on "No, but I can learn it quickly."
3) The agency says, "Oh, well, the client wants someone who knows
Framemaker already" and starts trying to wrap up the conversation.

Usually I've pressed further, explaining that I've learned every OTHER tool
on the fly, without requiring any training from anyone, and there's no
reason Framemaker should be any different. I've said, "What if I learn
Framemaker on my own, at home, before I even set foot in that company?" No
dice. I've held my nose and said, "What if I go take a course?" Nope. I've
been told that training or independent learning are insufficient--they want
actual on-the-job use of the tool (one agency grilled me when I tried to
get past the question with vague assurances: "have you used it ON THE JOB,
and if so, where and for how many months?"). Catch-22.

This issue was a serious nuisance the last time I was job-hunting, which
was when the job market was still just peachy. I suspect it would be an
even bigger problem if I were on the market now.



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