Re: What Technical Communicators Do

Subject: Re: What Technical Communicators Do
From: Vince Putman <PUTMV -at- MAIL -dot- SYNTRON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 14:47:26 CST

Hey Writers,

This subject punched my button. Let's face it, we are all Rodney Dangerfields
(spelling??). After over 30 years in this biz, I know we are not credited with
the sense nor ability to understand a technical subject. Many times I have
researched a subject, wrote the original copy, reviewed it with engineers, and
then have management berate me for using the engineer's time in interviews.
Then they discredit me by attributing my writings to the design engineers.

"Don't understand" is a major understatement, and "What must I do?" is a loaded
question. You do not want to hear my answer!!!

I love my work as surely most TECHWR-L writers do, but I hate the chickens__t we
must endure. The worst being the presumption of those who think anyone could do
what we do. After all we just pretty it up! Then, based on their presumed
knowledge, they evaluate you and say that you take too much time and that the
way you work is the problem. So then you are told to change under the threat of
some effect on your salary. Sound familiar? Guess who is picked for layoff
when the company profit cycle calls for austerity?

Time to stop. . . I could go on and lambaste more, but that's not constructive.
Perhaps it would help if we could assign job descriptions (read expectations)
for each of us:

Technical Writer
Technical Communicator
Technical Editor
Engineering Writer
Word Processor (I dislike this one)

Any comments?

Vince Putman | Eschew Gratuitous Obfuscation
putmv -at- mail -dot- syntron -dot- com | OR
713-647-7139 Houston, TX | Avoid Free Confusion

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________

On 18AJN95, Mike Uhl (uhl~m -at- glaxo -dot- com) posted:

On 12JAN95, Dana B. Mackonis wrote

"I have found that most companies still don't understand
the skills of a tech writer."

My experience corroborates this. Projects that I am well qualified and
able to do are handed off to others because management refuses to listen
to me when I explain what I do and can do. For example, the latest need is
for working practices, written documents that describe the way people best
perform their jobs around here. Creating such documents involves
interviewing people, figuring out--with guidance from management--which
techniques are best, and then writing all of this information into s
useful format, such as online help or Acrobat files. As much as I tried to
sell my services on this, all I got was a nod to assist others. And this is
in a situation where those others are very busy and not at all excited about
getting another assignment.

Oh, what must I do?! Arghhh.

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