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On Behalf Of Gene Kim-Eng
> Do you really think that a professional organization can
> persuade the unconvinced that they should hire its
> members? Maybe I'm just the hard to convince type,
> but anytime I've spent any time looking at or paid any
> attention to information from such groups it's *after*
> I've decided I need someone and am on the lookout
> for resumes or guidelines for choosing a candidate.
> As for "earning respect" for technical writing at a place
> where I haven't been hired, I'd have to say I just don't.
> By the time someone calls me, they already know they
> need something I can do for them or they wouldn't have
> called me, so what I do is concentrate on determining
> what it is they need and how I can do it for them better
> than someone else they may have called. And if their
> situation is that some there have decided they need
> it but the person they hire will need to convince others
> who aren't on board about that need yet, then I am not
> the candidate for them. I'm not joining a company to
> evangelize to its management or its rank and file about
> the value of documentation; I'm joining because the
> company already understands their need and wants
> someone who can get it done for them.
I would add that there's usually no need for touchy-feely claims of
adding value by improving the "user experience" and other unmeasurables.
When (rarely) the topic comes up and I feel any need to explain how it
feels to be a cost center in the company rather than a profit center, I
counter that properly run companies don't have cost centers. What you do
for a company either brings in revenue directly, or provides something
that helps bring in revenue, or prevents revenue from draining out. I'd
say that TWs, or even TCs fit handily into that last category.
Every time something that I wrote (or otherwise concocted) prevents
another call to Tech Support, or makes the support guys' lives easier,
I've added value and positively affected the company's bottom line.
Of course, if our company's major revenue stream was per-call support
fees, then I'd need a different approach. But then, I'd be writing for
the support people directly, in order to minimize the time they must
spend on each call - and not so much writing for end-user customers.
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