Subject: Professionalism
From: "S.North" <north -at- HGL -dot- SIGNAAL -dot- NL>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1993 16:27:40 +0200

To add fuel to the fire ...

As an aside: We *still* have midwives in the Netherlands - and they provide an
absolutely *excellent* service. In this country it is still considered very
unusual to have a baby in hospital (and in fact the medical insurance will not
cover it unless there are genuine medical reasons for doing so).

I think the quote that I gave about rewards being symbolic harked back to the
old ideas of 'vocation' (does it still exist?). [In Europe, I imagine it's a
little different, the 'big bucks' only really start at consultant level. Until
then there's a low paid, overworked life as a resident to be endured.] and
'dedication'. I don't want to get too involved in the ethics yet, another
thread will do, but (tongue in cheek) who do we answer to? On more than one
occasion I have had to very firmly identify with my position (as I see it) as
a representative of my readership (my, that sounds arrogant) and insist that
changes be made in the product (usually software). This *does* sometimes bring
me into direct conflict with my employer, and his interests. In that sense, I
think we have every right to call ourselves 'professionals'.

Technical authorship and its problems is the tip of the iceberg really. The
situation is very similar for professional translators (if not worse).
Sometimes it seems that every English expatriate living in Continental Europe
has a part-time job as a translator. Alright, the standards are not high but
who cares - they undercut professional prices by about 500%. Can we drive them
out? - impossible! All we can do is set high standards and advertise.

But these concerns are universal. Why do we get a professional plumber in when
the neigbour knows someone who knows someone else who can do it *real* cheap?

What worries me is that in the UK no-one has ever *heard* of the ISTC (their
version of the STC) and the membership represents only about 40% of working
communicators. In The Netherlands the STIC (*their* version of the STC) only
represents 1% of working communicators. Dare I ask --- how many readers of
this list are not members of the STC?

================================ Unclassified ==================================
Simon JJ North BA EngTech FISTC Consultant, Communication of
north -at- hgl -dot- signaal -dot- nl Technical Information
Tel: (+31)-(0)74-483533 (work) Quality Group
(+31)-(0)5490-28623 (home) Software Research & Development
-------------------------------- Hollandse Signaalapparaten BV
The opinions expressed do not PO Box 42, 7550 GD Hengelo
represent those of my employer. The Netherlands.
================================ Unclassified ==================================

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