So, what do you do for a living

Subject: So, what do you do for a living
From: Priscilla Berry <infmx!godzilla!pberry -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1993 16:54:00 PDT

As a consultant, I seem to run into this question quite a bit.
Even when I explain to some people what a technical writer is, I still
get the slightly mystified look and "oh, you write those instructions I
can never understand."

I find myself resorting to saying that I'm a non-fiction writer. This
seems to be accepted as a legitimate profession. When asked for further
details, I say that I specialize in writing for the computer industry.
Now they're impressed.

Inside of the industry, the title I like best is Documentation Engineer.
Engineering managers seem to respond to this better. (I must be
something more than an advanced secretary.) 8:>)

Priscilla Berry

g > Mary Beth Raven says:
g > >I don't think most people realize there's
g > >a lot more to being a "technical writer" than writing, so I call
g > >myself a technical communicator or something similar.
g >
g > I guess I approach this from an opposite viewpoint: I try to explain
g > as simply as I can what I do for a living. Most people I talk
g > to outside of the work environment don't even know what
g > a "technical writer" is, so I don't want to make it worse
g > by saying I'm a "technical communicator." (I'm talking about
g > outside the work environment here.)
g >
g > When I first met my wife, she asked me what I
g > did for a living, and I said "I'm a writer." She was
g > fairly impressed with that, and I didn't go into the
g > details of my job until a bit later, when it didn't
g > matter so much that I was not a glamorous novelist
g > or a journalist for the New York Times, because by then
g > she liked me for being me. It's a good thing, too,
g > because whenever I tell someone else I've just met that
g > I'm a technical writer, they usually ask, "What's that?"
g > and don't appear very impressed when I explain. In fact, they
g > usually complain about some manual they've tried to use
g > with their computer, in which case I feel obliged to explain about
g > the difference between good technical writing and bad.
g >
g > Nowadays, when asked by a layperson, I often just say that
g > I write computer manuals for a living. Most people understand
g > that.
g >
g > Or maybe it *is* better just to say one is a writer. It's clear,
g > it's direct, it sounds great (smiley face), and it communicates what you do
g > (in a broad sense). Then go into the details if they ask.
g >
g > Carl Grant
g > cgrant -at- amex-trs -dot- com
g > Phoenix, AZ
g >

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