RE: permalancers

Subject: RE: permalancers
From: john -at- garisons -dot- com
To: "John Rosberg" <jrosberg -at- interwoven -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 10:36:32 -0500 (EST)

This same debate has been going on since the 1940s ... and it ain't over
yet apparently. A number of years ago I had the privilege to have Joe
Chapline as a keynote speaker at a conference I put together. Mr. Chapline
was the very first person to have the job title of Software Technical
Writer when he worked for Eckert and Mauchley on one of the very first
computers (Eniac IIRC). He said that there was considerable debate at the
time about whether it was better to hire someone technical to do the
writing, or hire someone who could write and have them learn the
technology. He said it wasn't even close: the writers could learn
technical subjects much better and quicker than a techie could learn to

That said, I happen to live in a part of the country (Vermont) that has a
paucity of technical job opportunities. My 30+ years experience in
technical documentation does not have an outlet in the local job market
doing what I do best (or at a salary I can come to terms with). I know I'm
not the only one. There are opportunities for on-shoring: getting people
to work on projects inside the US, but not necessarily at a company's main
office. I have had several contracts where I worked remotely to document
new applications being developed, and the projects went very smoothly.
Unfortunately, it's exceedingly difficult to convince companies that they
can actually be done. With all the tools available today in a home office
- web-based communications, phone, IM, email - I can do everything from my
home office except walk down the hall and peer over someone's cubicle wall
... and if necessary, I can get someone to do that for me.

My 2¢,

John Garison

John Rosberg wrote:
> <snip>
> This Technical Writer as technologist vs Engineer as Writer debate has
> been going on since the mid 1970, that I know of, and will likely
> continue for the foreseeable future. While I do not disagree with you
> entirely, there are still Tech Writers, more of em, though not all where
> they were 20 years ago.


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RE: permalancers: From: John Rosberg

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