RE: Happy to be a Tech Writer?

Subject: RE: Happy to be a Tech Writer?
From: "James Barrow" <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2007 07:07:32 -0700

>Chris Kearney asked:
>Sorry, I like my simple job of interviewing users and sme's, taking shots,
>and writing in plain English (my language of choice). Is anyone else out
>there actually happy to be a Tech Writer?

Is Existentialism permitted on this list? ;^)

If we're omitting self-actualization, and wondering if we'd be better suited
as a falcon trainer or pastry chef, and only looking Information Technology,
then look at it like this. In a typical IT department there are the
following positions:

Director of IT
Manager Applications Integration (Architect)
Project Manager
Technical Trainers
Technical Writers
Desktop Technology

The Director position (upper management) should probably be a separate
thread as I've wondered just how high up the corporate ladder a tech writer
can climb. Has anyone seen a Director of Publications?

Personally, I wouldn't want to manage an IT department. There's a lot of
politics and some of those 'politicians' swing some mighty big bats (HR,
Legal, Finance, VPs, CEOs, etc.).

Project Managers are under so much constant pressure that they should simply
sign up to be test subjects in clinical trials for acid reflux medication.

Analysts have interesting jobs and share some of the responsibilities of
tech writers.

Developers don't sleep. That one's out.

Trainers are a little too 'niche' for my taste, and desktop support
personnel are at the beck and call of anyone, at any time.

And then there's the technical writer. Treated like Joseph Merrick in some
organizations, Cinderella in others. Given the right set of circumstances
though, tech writers can be presented with an agenda that will exercise the
left and right half of their brains equally.

When I selected a name for my business I chose the Latin word meaning "to
describe." Seemed to be the epitome of what we do. Frankly, I get a kick
out of interviewing SMEs. It's a challenge that I look forward to. During
most interviews I wonder 'Have you ever heard of an adverb?' Once I've
captured and translated the information, nothing is more rewarding than
hearing people say 'You've described it precisely!'

I've never shot at my SMEs though (makes 'em run);^) Actually, capturing
screenshots is an art. I once finished a lengthy user manual by simply
copying and pasting screenshots in the appropriate places. The response was
less than enthusiastic. After editing the graphics using most of SnagIt's
features, the users were falling over themselves with praise. Same
graphics, just a shadow here and a 3D effect there.

I've been doing this for a while and I've never been unhappy with what I've

- Jim


Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include single source authoring, team authoring,
Web-based technology, and PDF output.

Now shipping: Help &amp; Manual 4 with RoboHelp(r) import! New editor,
full Unicode support. Create help files, web-based help and PDF in up
to 106 languages with Help &amp; Manual:

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Happy to be a Tech Writer?: From: Cardimon,Craig

Previous by Author: Re: Information Engineers
Next by Author: RE: Happy to be a Tech Writer?
Previous by Thread: Re: Happy to be a Tech Writer?
Next by Thread: RE: Happy to be a Tech Writer?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads