observation of tech writer status

Subject: observation of tech writer status
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 13:05:54 -0800 (PST)

Hi all.

I know that there are on-going discussions about how tech writers don't get any respect (whether it's true or not is another issue), but a couple recent situations puts a slight twist to this tired topic.

The first was a comment made when I was talking about why a coworker could view files in a directory but couldn't copy files into the directory. I started talking about read and write permissions. The response "Now that's a tech writer."

At another time, I overheard some coworkers discussing a specific feature of a product. When they couldn't figure it out, one of them said "Get a tech writer" (ie to help them figure it out.) This kind of situation has happened a few times actually.

What I'm seeing in these situations is an understanding that we technical writers are knowledgable and we are a valuable resource, which goes counter to the "ain't got not respect" myth. The thing to note is that these comments don't come from development (of which our doc department is a part), but rather from people from other departments.

So, I'm wondering if this is a pattern of tech writer existence. The tech writer wants respect from dev, and doesn't get it. The tech writer doesn't notice respect from other departments, and does get it.

Comments? Thoughts? Is this your situation? Just trying to start up a conversation.

Sean Hower - tech writer

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