Re: Questions on the Business End of Things

Subject: Re: Questions on the Business End of Things
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 20:16:39 -0400

You have a lot to offer the right kind of employer, and even as an independent consultant. If you are interested in the area of information design and knowledge management, it could be possible for you to move into a Chief Knowledge Officer position at a Director- or VP-level salary. An advanced degree is probably not necessary, although you would certainly want to keep learning in your field. As a self-employed consultant, you can run your own show, and hire subcontractors to assist you with larger projects, thus pulling in higher fees and keeping more of what you earn.

I am always encouraging my students to see technical communication in its broadest terms. With our basic skill set of interpreting technical material, writing plain language, managing information and knowledge, and making technology understandable to everyone, we have exactly the abilities needed to help people make sense of our increasingly complex and technical world. Our roles can range anywhere from sitting in a cubicle writing basic instructions, to evangelizing clarity of communication at the highest levels of Fortune 500 firms. The possibilities are vast for someone with techwriter skills to pursue whatever aspect of the profession is of interest. You are being underutilized when you have ideas for improvements and are not successful in getting heard. Not every company is so short-sighted. You may have to push a little, and if you cannot push where you are, the playing field is just too small -- you need a bigger arena for your vision.

With your academic background, teaching (in all its forms) is also an option. The pay is lousy, but there are other rewards, such as freedom to continue to be involved in the industry, and to produce your own projects. Your previous positions may have been marginal, but you definitely are not. Create your own vision of the way you want to work and start making it a reality. Have the courage to withstand the hard times while you're making the necessary transitions, and go for it! Anyone who says you can't doesn't understand the concept.

Phillip Gochenour wrote:

I came into tech writing somewhat serendipitously two years ago after
leaving the academic world ... I've considered getting more specialized training, and have worked to
learn new software and technologies, and I do have a big interest in
things like information design and management.
Beth Agnew
Presenting "Podcasting & Vidcasting: The Future of TechComm"
at the STC Conference, Las Vegas, NV, 2 p.m. May 10, 2006

Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


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RE: [BULK] Re: Questions on the Business End of Things: From: Phillip Gochenour

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