RE: real tech writers?

Subject: RE: real tech writers?
From: "Klasovsky, Nick" <nklasovsky -at- nordson -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 08:55:23 -0400

Janet Murphy said:
What frustrates me about other TW/TC I have worked with:
1. Many come from various backgrounds/disciplines and profess to "have a
for TC. Please -- if you have a knack, back it up with REAL training. Get
degree in the field or at least a certificate. Someone professing to be a
that has no real training in the discipline will quickly be identified
dis-respected by those who DO have training in the field.

Oh, please, this is so elitist....what frustrates me is technical writers
with degrees/certificates in TW/TC who are completely clueless. Believe me,
I've seen plenty. I've spent 22 years writing and illustrating technical
manuals for industrial equipment (hardware, if you please) and I've seen the

Degreed writers that apply for and accept jobs writing hardware manuals who
don't know how to read blueprints, don't know how to use a screwdriver, and
refuse to learn.

Degreed writers that expect the engineers to write the manuals so that they
can edit them and then take credit for everything.

Degreed writers that can't design the first graphic for a hardware manual.

Degreed writers that take other people's work and enter it in STC
competitions as their own.

Degreed writers that can't figure out how to organize their documents.

Degreed writers that won't take ownership of their work.

Degreed writers that won't put a finger to a keyboard without a detailed
style guide and writing process flowchart.

Degreed writers that can't write.

Degreed writers who lack interest in the industry they work in.

I've been a machinist helper, a rigger, a towmotor driver, a vertical boring
mill operator, and a welder. I got a bachelor's degree in business
administration when I was in my thirties, and got my start in TW creating
parts catalogs for earthmoving vehicles. After a year, I was writing service
and operator manuals. I've taken exactly one class in technical writing and
a few related seminars, yet I've won an STC International Excellence award
for one of my manuals. How can this be?

I love technical writing, and I love the niche I work in. I read industry
trade magazines, technical manuals, and books on engineering. I taught
myself how to do technical illustrations. My hobbies are woodworking and
building computers. I don't write novels or poetry but I read voraciously.
When I'm confronted with something I don't know, I learn all I can about it.
The engineers I work with respect me, my boss relies on me, and my peers
come to me for help. I don't spend any time worrying about whether my
profession is respected. A degree doesn't automatically get you respect, but
knowing how to do your job and do it well does.

Nick Klasovsky

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