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Subject:Re: observation of tech writer status From:Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Wed, 30 Oct 2002 14:17:50 -0800 (PST)
"Sean Hower" <> wrote ...
> 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
A tech writer who has taken the time to really know his/her employer's products
and technologies is an exceptionally valuable resource. And writers who are good
at what they do, usually become valuable resources rather quickly.
Its clear that you have made that transition from the "wordsmith" in the office
to valuable, integrated resource at the company.
However, most writers simply aren't in this space. They hunker down in their
cubicles and consternate night and day over single-sourcing, FrameMaker
templates, and style guides - things that evoke zero interest in the rest of the
organization. Hence, they get tagged as the "wordsmith" or "secretary" because
they are not an integrated information resource.
This isn't to say tool or method skills aren't useful, they just aren't portable.
Those skills are the base things you should do in your sleep. The skills that
people really care about it your ability to master information.
How do you become an integrated, valuable resource? People ask me this a lot. And
I say its mostly a personality/work ethic issue. Some people simply do not want
to challenge themselves and learn. Hence they hover close to those things they
feel comfortable doing - like fiddling with fonts or adjusting FrameMaker styles.
As such, they are of limited value to the organization because they can't offer
more than a limited set of skills.
There is nothing wrong with this, but people who demand comfort need to become
comfortable with being ignored. You can't make a difference if you keep doing the
same thing over and over again. Its when you leave your comfort zone and start
really learning things that people will respect you and look to you for help.
Didn't some moron write a book about this? Who slobbered on my cheese or
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