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: Wed, 28 May 2008 15:20:10 -0700

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
> An engineer's view, to be sure. Engineers have the comfort and
> security of a Profession that recognizes academic preparations for a
> career in engineering, and has gatekeeper functions to unambiguously
> certify Professional engineers. That is one benefit of choosing a
> career that works with hard data, algorithms, material, etc.

The vast majority of people employed in the US as engineers do not
hold PE licenses (I never got one). A four year degree from a college
or university with an accredited program in engineering is the most
common "gatekeeper" for entry into the field.

> Tech writers work without so much career structure. Tying that
> difference to pay rate, maturity, independence, or prestige
> is something that engineers would understand, but tech writers would
> not. I have viewed many of the engineers I've worked with as lowly
> thumbsuckers who paddle around the shallow end of the pool, while I
> work with the big ideas like language and communication. I could do
> without the wasterful management of my efforts, but the engineers seem
> to need a nanny to stay on task.

That hasn't been my experience with engineers, but you work in
software, right? Different worlds, I guess. Or perhaps it's just
symptomatic of our society's generally lower esteem of language,
communications and other "non-technical" learning.

> The only resolution to our disparate viewpoint seems to be that tech
> writers ought to study engineering if they want to be peers of the
> Professionals they work with. This other solution, where tech writers
> have to shut up and do whatever micro-managed thing they're told if
> they want to be treated as professionals, is blackmail, and a
> particularly perverted form of blackmail at that.

I've lost count of how many times during my years as a
publications manager that I have counseled my writers that
behaving in that manner is the surest way to *not* be treated
as a professional, but it seems to be a common behavioral
characteristic of many tech writers, who often seem to have
a difficult time seeing and asserting themselves as people who
have expertise and knowledge and an expectation that they will
be worked with accordingly. Perhaps the ability to think that
way about oneself is really the big thing one gains from taking
a different educational path.

Gene Kim-Eng

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Darcy Rumbold
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Ned Bedinger
RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Bonnie Granat
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Bonnie Granat
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Bonnie Granat
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Ned Bedinger

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