RE: Interesting job description

Subject: RE: Interesting job description
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 8 Oct 2016 08:59:35 -0400

It isnât about how much time or effort you spend. It is about how much you move the needle. CEOs more the needle more than programmers. Programmers move the needle more than writers. Writers move the needle more than janitors. Their pay scales reflect this.

How much of the fruits of moving the needle you get to keep is also a function of how easy it is to find someone who can move the needle the same amount. If you are harder to replace in the role, you will be paid more.

Culture and cronyism play a role as well, but market forces catch up with them in the end.

As to why tech writers are the first to be let go in a downturn: tech writers externalize knowledge. Itâs their job. Engineers internalize knowledge. It is a natural consequence of their job. They learn things by building things. When a tech writer walks out the door, little or no company knowledge walks out the door because what they knew they wrote down. When an engineer walks out the door, company knowledge walks out the door because they built what they company sells. When a company is in a downturn, HR thinks about preserving company knowledge so that the company is ready when the upturn comes. They retain those people who hold the companyâs knowledge and let go those people who merely provide an interchangeable service.

Tech writers tend to do themselves a great disservice in this regard but claiming that the service they provide is not dependent on the knowledge they have. (We tell people we can write about anything.) This is like putting a label on your chest that says âIâm replaceable. Fire me first.â

Which brings us back to the same point: the more your value is based on what you know, the better off you are. The more you know about the companyâs products, the industry, and how it is engineered, the less time you require from SMEs and the more you move the needle, because you move the needle not only by creating adequate documentation but by reducing time to market. And the more you know, the more you represent a repository of company knowledge that is worth paying you a bonus to retain and the less likely you are to be laid off in a downturn.


From: Kathleen MacDowell [mailto:kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, October 7, 2016 10:28 PM
To: Mark Baker <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Interesting job description

â how does anyone's pay compare to the CEO, regardless of how many hours they spend in crunch time contributing to the bottom line, including programmers and writers, and who knows who else

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Interesting job description: From: Keith Hood
RE: Interesting job description: From: mbaker
RE: Interesting job description: From: mbaker
Re: Interesting job description: From: Kathleen MacDowell

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