Tech writing, publicity in US

Subject: Tech writing, publicity in US
From: Faith Weber <weber -at- EASI -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 1994 18:06:06 PDT

Ed in NJ writes:

>hell, when I tell people what I do, they're like "oh," like I have
>some sort of disease or what I do sounds REALLY boring.

I've had the same experience. It seems that most people
don't know what a tech writer does, and many who do know don't like
us! One friend who used to be the head of a tech pubs department
said when he revealed his occupation to new acquaintances, some people
"practically spit on" him. Also, when I meet older people who aren't
familiar with computers, they seem completely intimidated, as though
I just stepped off a UFO or something. "Egad, George! She's a techno . . .
er, tech . . . what did you say you were again?"

It's not much help in starting conversations at parties, I'm afraid.
No one seems to know what to say when they ask what I do and I
tell them; as Ed said, they often just say "oh" and go talk to
someone else as soon as they have an excuse, unless I change the
subject ("How 'bout them Niners?").

Sometimes it's so bad that I have to wonder what it says about me
that I chose this profession -- but *I* like it, and our users
seem to think I've improved our documentation, so I just try to
educate people so they don't say "Eek!" or "Yuck!" to the next
tech writer they meet.

Do Brits and other Europeans have this reaction to tech writers,
I wonder?

Faith Weber
EA Systems Inc.
weber -at- easi -dot- enet -dot- dec -dot- com

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