RE: Most Impt. Skill to Learn in Tech Comm Program?

Subject: RE: Most Impt. Skill to Learn in Tech Comm Program?
From: "Dugas, Andrew" <ADugas -at- eTranslate -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 14:02:50 -0700

I think the distinction between training and education is more refined than
the way you look at it.

A liberal arts education is not entirely devoid of what you might want in a
"training" program. For example, my lib arts education taught me how to
observe, analyse, break down, and summarize material, be it a modern novel,
Shakespearean play, Italian film, or what have you. I organized and
communicated the results of that process through the medium of the written

Now at the time I had not an inkling I would end up as a TW, but what better
preparation could one have had? And of course, working on such projects
instilled project management skills, especially planning and execution.

Secondly, I think you underestimate the professional "real world" value of
being a well-rounded person, and I would argue strongly that such makes one
a much better TW. When your mind runs in different circles, you catch things
the engineers and salespersons overlook or undervalue.

In a sense, training programs teach you to think inside the box; education
mostly transcends the box, teaching you just to think.

I too was a bit lost when I first entered college. I finally settled on
English as a major because of a dim desire to be a writer. After college I
bummed around for years, taking jobs that had some element of adventure to
them (including a two year stint on the staff of a small, secluded
clothing-optional hot springs resort.)

Momma told me that Liberal Arts was better than Business school because
business valued well-rounded people for their thought processes, and nothing
in my post-college life has proved her wrong.


-----Original Message-----
From: bryan -dot- westbrook -at- amd -dot- com [mailto:bryan -dot- westbrook -at- amd -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 1:19 PM
Subject: RE: Most Impt. Skill to Learn in Tech Comm Program?

Maggie Secara said:
> Off hand, I'd say Liberal Arts majors were looking for an education, not
> vocational training.

But which are employers looking for, especially in these tight economic

Perhaps everybody should spend a few years in the "real" world doing crappy
jobs before they enter college. I was a directionless 18-year-old. In
fact, I could tell you what my first of many declared majors was and one
additional bit of information about myself, and you would get a good laugh
out of it. Hell, I even majored in drama for most of a semester before I
dropped out.

Finally, after sitting out for 4 years (and doing a nightmarish collection
of menial jobs) I knew what I wanted to do when I went back to school at 2,
and in the time I was out a tech comm program sprang up at a college in my
home state. Along the way I realized that the reason I floundered so much
the first time around was that I could not see any possible way to get a job
from what I was learning.

Learning is good, but I can listen to music on my own, read the classics,
admire art, study history, debate philosophy (well maybe not on my own, but
online or with friends), or all of those cultural things. Sure, I think
knowing those things makes me a better rounded person, but they won't make
me a better. Those things I classify under hobbies, and I don't need a
degree program to pursue those.

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