Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing"

Subject: Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing"
From: Rick Lippincott <rjl6955 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 18:46:40 -0400

>The key distinction in this discussion is not when people first started "doing what we do." It is when people first started being employed /primarily/ to do it; when, "you built that, you document it," first turned into, "we need to hire someone to document that."

OK, I'll buy that. But I think there's a problem in your methodology,
if you are basing it on "when did people start advertising for the job
called by that name?" I think what you should be trying to find is
"When did people start going in to work in the morning with the
assumption that tech writing would be their primary job, and their
expected output was some sort of manual." That's going to be a much
tougher search.

My first tech writing job was writing maintenance manuals for
airplanes. My job title was "Aircraft Service Manuals Engineer." That
was the standard Lockheed title at the time for the job we call
"technical writer." That had been the job title for decades. Other
companies may have used similar terms, I don't really know.

But there were about 65 of us in the group, and despite what the title
on the paperwork said, we were all tech writers and we knew it. And,
in all of the other aerospace and defense companies, there were
similar groups of people with various job titles, which may or may not
have included the word "writer."

Writing these types of manuals wasn't something that could be dashed
off by an engineer part-time when the design was done. It involves an
integrated team effort of people working full time to produce the
manuals, and it had been that way for decades. It still is today.

I'm puzzled by the insistence that the profession started only in
1947, or 1951, or whatever. People have been doing it for much longer
than that. Why not embrace the reality of it?

--Rick Lippincott

On 3/23/16, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:
> Since the title of this discussion is, "Surviving the Dying Career of
> Technical Writing," I'd say that here at least, it's about the jobs.
>
> Gene Kim-Eng
>
>
> On 3/23/2016 1:59 PM, mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com wrote:
>> Is it though? Are we more interested in the art and craft of technical
>> communication or are we more interested in jobs for tech writers?
>
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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Rick Lippincott
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: mbaker
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Gene Kim-Eng

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