RE: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing"

Subject: RE: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing"
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 02:15:36 +0000

I think the suggestion was not that there were no specialists before 1900, but that early 20th century gave rise to the "mass-man," the cookie cutter person living in cities. I think similar to the "organization man" of the 50s (now women too). Probably both blue collar and white collar workers in large corporations. Climbing the ladder. And each worker had their specialty. Even if you set aside the computer industry or any other industry that cropped up after the automobile and the airplane, probably most of the job titles you would see in today's listings did not exist. Certainly there were doctors and lawyers, accountants, nurses, clerks, even engineers, I guess. The branches of science had their people. But I think the point was that the labor market had driven people into these very narrow niches where they developed a very small area of expertise -- they were experts within that small area, who often tried to comment about matters outside their specialty and came off looking like fools. The expertise they had within their area made them feel qualified in other areas too, and that was an illusion. Whereas in the prior eras, people really did have broad knowledge.

Even within the field of medicine there are narrow specialties and you have to go to that person - the generalist is not qualified.

So the division of labor has led to these tiny packets. And outside your little window of knowledge you're largely unskilled (in the marketplace).

But life didn't sound so hot back then so I wouldn't want to be there. Although life's pretty scary right now too.

Steve

PS - Fritz Lang's movie "Metropolis," the Charlie Chaplin film "Modern Times" - expressing the confines of the mechanical work of that day and the desire to be liberated. Brave New World, 1984.

On Wednesday, March 23, 2016 6:41 PM, Gene Kim-Eng wrote:

Depends on how you define "software." There's a good argument in favor of applying the label to the punch cards of Jacquard looms, or the rolls on player pianos, both originating in the 1800s. They program a machine to perform actions. They're even digital (0/1, off/on). Were there specialists creating them? I don't know.

Gene Kim-Eng


On 3/23/2016 6:32 PM, Janoff, Steven wrote:
>
> I mean, "software developer" has to be pretty new.

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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
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: Janoff, Steven
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Gene Kim-Eng

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