Re: Is the STC worth it?

Subject: Re: Is the STC worth it?
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2014 21:28:34 -0500

Long ago, I had a friend who joined STC in Orlando, FL. I think she saw it more as a social club to meet guys than to learn about technical communications. I think she became disillusioned with the results of both. I didn't know anyone in STC or who had been in it. By that time, I had worked with over 200 technical writers in Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Florida. I knew of it, through CE Weekly and PD News, and concluded that no one seem to promote them except STC.

Finally, I had a job down in Orlando and the STC conference was at Disney, so our company paid our STC memberships and sent us so it would look good and we'd learn something. To be fair, I did learn a lot. Some was very useful, and some was not what STC expected anyone to learn.

Remember, I have made comments here before that I find it annoying our profession has moved from the responsibilities of learning all aspects of a topic until we are expert enough to produce quality documentation for the customer to use to being merely a reporter that interviews others and then regurgitates it in common English for the customer. Maybe that is why I hold the Yahoo "news" articles and the Yahoo "journalists" in disdain with their poorly written articles that have almost no meat to them. I am not a secretary. I am a technical writer. I learn it and understand it enough to find errors in the system or the engineers' materials. I am a value-added check in the process. Most writers I work with are the same way.

While about half of that STC conference did point to using new technologies and methods, with seminars on XML, publishing tools, and such, one of these was how to get your engineers to talk to you by bribing them with cookies. I kid you not. It had to be the basis of Penny and The Big Bang Theory.

After my membership ran out that year, I didn't renew.

A few years later, I was back in Orlando again, and one of the writers I worked with asked if I belonged to STC. He had a few unflattering things to say about the Orlando Chapter. According to him, a lady running the STC chapter years ago struck a deal between some of the companies and one of the universities to teach a technical writer curriculum by an "STC certified technical writer instructor" so students could get degrees in technical writing and supply the many companies with new graduate technical writers at a cheap rate. This made the companies happy as they could hire degreed technical writers for very low pay, made the school happy because they got lots of students, and made this STC lady happy drawing a salary from the university.

Again according to him, this is why rates for technical writers in Orlando are embarrassingly low. Women with a tech writing degree could work at $10 an hour as a tech writer rather than $6 an hour in Wal-Mart or such.

If that is true, I'd find it hard to support an organization that did something like that. I have noticed the percentage of women with technical writing degrees seemed out of proportion in Orlando to other areas in the country, so maybe there is some truth to his story. And my friend from years ago had mentioned they pushed her to sign up to get a technical writing degree, which made no sense to her as she was really an AS-400 programmer with a BSCS.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Cardimon, Craig" <ccardimon -at- M-S-G -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2014 3:25 PM
Subject: Is the STC worth it?


Business being how it is, I would not feel comfortable asking my company to pay for my STC membership.

So, I'm asking you:

First, for those of you who are STC members, who pays, you or your company?

Second, for those of you who are STC members, do you think it's worth it, especially if you pay for it yourself?

Third, for those of you who are not STC members, what is the sticking point?


Craig Cardimon | Technical Writer
Marketing Systems Group

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Is the STC worth it?: From: Cardimon, Craig

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