Re: A sobering encounter (So now what?)
But stop to think about ANY professional organization. Is it the organization's job to educate the *general public*?
Actually, professional associations frequently do make efforts to educate the public about what their members do. For example, the local accountants' association regularly takes out ads in the newspapers to promote the profession, or to congratulate members who have recently passed their exams. When you compare such efforts to the STC's sproadic efforts, obviously it could do far more.
Further, I wonder whether the all too often amateurish organization and practices of the STC may actually tend to lessen respect for the profession.
However, since I doubt that we'll see any organized effort of any sort from anyone, I agree with Keith that such issues have to be handled by individually.
Just because tech-writers as a profession are talked about dismissively doesn't mean that I am personally insulted. I know that there are bad tech-writers out there, and I know I'm not one of them, because my clients and employers tell me so and give tangible evidence of their satisfaction in the form of referrals, bonuses and promotions. When I hear some of these comments, I don't take them as applying to me, so they don't bother me.
At the same time, I know that writing well isn't enough. If you want respect from managers, you have to act professionally. If you want respect from programmers, you need knowledge. You may not be able to change the general opinion of tech-writers, but you can change the opinion in your particular case.
None of this is especially exotic. If I can be so crass as to promote myself, I've written an article on this subject called "Your Own Best Ad: Promoting Yourself as a Contractor" on the Techwr-l site. See:
Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177
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