Re: Are Tech Writers Valid anymore Re: ghost town -

Subject: Re: Are Tech Writers Valid anymore Re: ghost town -
From: Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 12:42:47 -0600

Here's the take that I had from a boss many years ago: the job of tech
writer would not exist at all did not customers expect documentation.
Companies consider tech writers a drain because they have to put out the
money to pay and support us, but we don't add any value to the products.
(I have to admit there's some justice to that view - I don't think anyone
has ever decided which product to buy because one company had a better user
guide.)

Companies figure they can always have engineers and salesmen write almost
anything needed, as long as it doesn't have to impress a customer. That's
why tech writing has become commoditized to such a frightening extent;
companies will hire a tech writer for 6 months when they have a new product
release and they need the docs updated, and then toss him/her out the
instant the ink is dry. That's why tech writers are always in the first
batch out the door whenever there's a RIF.

Another part of the equation is the fact bosses often have a badly
distorted notion of what writing is like. They "know" that writing is easy
- they've seen themselves do it. They are all too often totally unaware of
how bad they are at writing.

If you want to have a chance to enhance your job longevity, find some way
to do some writing that is more closely related to business needs, and that
impresses the bigwigs. Become useful to the VP of Sales and Marketing as
well as to the chief product design engineer, and you'll be a lot more
likely to survive the next round of layoffs. In a lot of places, the day
of being a "pure" technical writer is over. These days we need to sort of
hybridize our work in order to get closer to the company's core business.


On Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM, Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca> wrote:

> If technical writers are so indispensable, then why are so many out of
> work?
>
> -T
>
>
> On Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 9:58 AM, Milan DavidoviÄ <milan -dot- lists -at- gmail -dot- com
> >wrote:
>
> > Valid where?
> >
> > You might have a process to which one or more technical writers are
> > integral. Can you come up with a better process to which they wouldn't
> > be?
> >
> > --Milan DavidoviÄ
> >
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Follow-Ups:

References:
ghost town: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: ghost town: From: Tony Chung
Are Tech Writers Valid anymore Re: ghost town -: From: William Sherman
Re: Are Tech Writers Valid anymore Re: ghost town -: From: Milan Davidović
Re: Are Tech Writers Valid anymore Re: ghost town -: From: Tony Chung

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