RE: "Are technical writers the unsung heroes of document generation?"

Subject: RE: "Are technical writers the unsung heroes of document generation?"
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 23:05:18 +0000

The only problem with job satisfaction is that it can be temporary.

Still, if you've achieved contentment then there's no reason to change things.

It's incredibly hard to change personal destiny. Richard Nelson Bolles wrote a book called "The Three Boxes of Life." I don't recall reading the whole thing, but it was pretty good. School, work, retirement.

I think most people acknowledge that once you get into the work box, it's not easy climbing out and getting into a different box.

The typical drill is 18-hour days, often 7 days a week. If you're not working all those hours in the same field, then either you're going to night school to get into a different field, or you're starting a business, or something similar.

Most of us are content to do the 9-to-5 and plan ahead as much as you can. But there are a few hardy souls who try to change their destiny. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of long hours, to move that needle even a millimeter.

I admire the folks that do this. I think they're referred to as the "dominant minority," something like only 5% of the population. Typically entrepreneurs, but they have a big impact on various fields and often on society.

It's not better or worse because the sacrifices seem pretty incredible. A lot of things most of us take for granted must go, like friendships, relationships, social events, normal fun stuff -- not all the time, but much of the time. Financial sacrifices too, usually.

But on the individual contributor side, my favorite example is Al Hirschfeld, the New York caricaturist, who continued working right up to his death at just shy of 100. Another favorite story is I.F. Stone, who dropped out of college and philosophy/history studies to pursue a career in journalism, published "I.F. Stone's Weekly" and variants for something like 50 years, then retired and finally pursued his passion: independent research, in history and philosophy. He delved into the story of Socrates, wrote "The Trial of Socrates," and died just before it was published -- it went on to become a pretty big bestseller.

Life is odd.

Steve

On Friday, June 19, 2015 11:54 AM, Robert Lauriston wrote:

To me, that's a career change, from tech writer to pundit.

Nobody has a better job than I do.

On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 9:51 AM, Janoff, Steven <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
> It's actually a common pathway to a greater success. Increased visibility is a good thing.
>
> I've watched one local individual (not tech writing but a related field) rise up over the past 10-15 years from just another bloke in a job to become sort of an industry expert, well-received book, sought out for consulting gigs, plus you never know what can happen from here -- folks who reach a certain level can get hand-picked for interesting things.
>
> Sitting in your cube and just grinding away is not going to get you much recognition, as I'm sure you've noticed over your career -- not trying to be rude here, just realistic.
>
> Oh, and the fellow who did this, did all of it through good jobs and bad -- mostly he ended up at great places for his full-time gig, and remained incredibly active beyond his job to stay at the cutting edge of his field.
>
> If I may be so bold, I do observe that the thought leaders in Tech Comms do seem to be climbing all over each other to get to the top, whatever that is.
>
> Still, you've got to make some noise to get out of your silo.
>
> Steve
>
> PS - The local guy worked really hard and he spent a lot of hours on "extracurricular" work, and it really paid off. I don't have all the facts but I get the sense that he calls many of his own shots. Certainly different from the picture 10-15 years ago. Like any entrepreneurial thing, you must be willing to work hard and put in many extra hours. If that's not appealing, then you have to accept the pace of advancement in your regular job, which as you know Is not always aligned with what you want. You have to put in crazy hours to change your destiny. This guy did that.
>
>
> On Friday, June 19, 2015 7:17 AM, Robert Lauriston wrote:
>
> I don't see the professional value in seeking recognition outside of work.
>
> On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 6:28 AM, Cardimon, Craig <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com> wrote:
>> https://rubric.com/za/are-technical-writers-the-unsung-heroes-of-docu
>> ment-generation/

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Follow-Ups:

References:
"Are technical writers the unsung heroes of document generation?": From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: "Are technical writers the unsung heroes of document generation?": From: Robert Lauriston
RE: "Are technical writers the unsung heroes of document generation?": From: Janoff, Steven
Re: "Are technical writers the unsung heroes of document generation?": From: Robert Lauriston

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