Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit

Subject: Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 16:50:39 -0700

It may help tech writers feel better to assume that
company managers and/or owners don't think much
of technical writers because they are not skilled and
do not recognize the need for those who are, but my
experience over the years has been that the biggest
reason many non-writers have low opinions of technical
writers is that they've had past experiences with a lot
of bad technical writers.

Nobody brings in a greater salary because they or their
work "deserve" it. People who bring in greater salaries,
whether they're programmers or technical writers, do so
because they have demonstrated that they can do work
that their employers *need,* and because they're unwilling
to do that work for lesser salaries. If you want someone
to point a finger at for low tech writer salary offers, the
people to point at are tech writers, especially those with
good skills, who, when presented with such offers, accept
them.

The debate over whether professionals should unionize,
and whether unions for professional employees protect
professional employees from being treated "unfairly" by
abusive employers or merely devalue high-performing
professional employees by forcing employers to pay
low-performing employees wages they can't achieve
by putting their qualifications up against others in the
same field is probably more philosophical than practical.
So I will just venture the purely philosophical view that
any rule or law that has the end effect of forcing a
professional employee and his or her employer to
conform to a particular mode of employment even
when both would prefer a different one is either badly
conceived, badly implemented, or both.

Gene Kim-Eng




----- Original Message -----
From: "Tim Mantyla" <tim -dot- mantyla -at- gmail -dot- com>
> Obviously few people other than CA labor lawyers know about section 5.
> It
> isn't the reason why "software technical writers complain so much
> about
> being treated like 'glorified secretaries.'"
>
> I have to assume they complain because many company managers and
> owners who
> are _not_ as skilled in communication believe themselves to be just
> because
> they can speak and write a (sometimes convoluted) 10-word sentence,
> and
> don't understand or appreciate the skill required to turn difficult
> ideas
> into clear, simple words and images.
>
> Also high programmer salaries exist because of the economics of the
> need for
> software and the skills to create it, and demand for vs. supply of the
> expertise of the programmers. On the other hand, if companies could
> pay
> minimum wage to program their sofware, based on an oversupply of
> workers
> with those skills, they would--regardless of skill level.
>
> Since I'm not a computer programmer, I can't attest to whether that
> work
> deserves much greater salaries than tech writing by dint of its
> difficulty
> or level of skill, education, training, etc.

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References:
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Tim Mantyla

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