Senior Tech Writer classification

Subject: Senior Tech Writer classification
From: beelia <beelia -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2008 19:09:52 -0700

Hi all,

Like many of you, I've been classified as a Senior Tech Writer for a very
long time - about 20 years now. Recently my startup was acquired by a fairly
large company, and I thought maybe this might be a good time to find a more
appropriate career track, since 100% of my job is online help. Although they
made me a generous offer (which I accepted), I was worried that I might be
nearing the top of my classification.

The HR director broke the Catbert mold and suggested I write up my job
description ,and they'd try to find another niche for me. He warned me they
use Radford standards, which are notoriously broad and not particularly

I decided to poke around on the web to see if I could find other jobs listed
that require markup languages, Java, JavaScript, DITA, authoring tools,
along with an engineering education and experience in high tech industries
like networking and telecomm. Alas, I found that practically all of those
skills are commonly listed under "Senior Technical Writer".

At that point, I realized that most of my future colleagues at that company
are probably in the same boat, and perhaps I shouldn't be rocking it. After
I got assurances from HR that there is room to move financially on the STW
track, and that they're totally OK with printing "Online Help Developer" on
my business cards, I decided to drop the matter.

So now I'm curious - have many of you been stuck in this classification? If
so, do you care?

In short, do job titles matter? Has public perception of secretaries or
stewardesses changed because they are now known as administrative assistants
or flight attendants?

I'll be interested to hear your views.


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