Job title quandary

Subject: Job title quandary
From: Anatole Wilson <awilson -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1993 10:06:05 PST

Gee, I hope Joe Chew wasn't making fun of my deeply beloved title
of "Senior Associate Information Developer." *sniff! sniff!*
While it might sound pretentious at a small company, it really seems
to fit here at IBM, especially since we're trying to get away from the
concept that documentation/information about a product is solely
contained in one form or media. Here, as well as in many (if not
most) companies these days, the "technical writer" is reposnible for
information planning and management, online help and tutorials, and
even marketing materials in various formats.

The drawback to a title like mine is that is admittedly vague, and there's
no way to tell where on the ladder the position fits. I'm still not clear
myself what the position above mine is called, and what the prerequisites
for getting there are.

At one small company, my title evolved from "Editor" to "Senior Publisher,"
but I did the same work (editing manuals, designing their formats and setting
them up on desktop publishing, managing the clerical staff and arranging
production of printed materials) no matter what my title was. No, there was
no "Junior Publisher."

As a freelancer, I avoided the question all together--my business card
just said "Anatole Wilson--Business and Technical Communications." I find
it hard to take anyone seriously who lists themselves as "President" or
"Creative Director" of a one- or two-person "company."

But I'm rambling...

If I were the sole person in charge of documentation at a small company,
I think I'd prefer a title like "Technical Communicator" or "Technical
Communicator and Coordinator," something that reflects that there's more
to the job than just writing paper manuals without becoming too vague or

I now return to my current title...

Anatole Wilson "If I should say to a novice,
Sr. Assoc. Information Developer 'write from experience only,'
IBM, Santa Teresa Labs I should feel that this was
awilson -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com rather a tantalizing monition
if I were not careful to add,
'try to be one of the people
on whom nothing is lost.'"
all company disclaimers apply --Henry James

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