Re[2]: I want to be a tech writer

Subject: Re[2]: I want to be a tech writer
From: "Arlen P. Walker" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 10:32:00 -0600

I'm always surprised when a bright candidate indicate a "serious"
interest in our profession and some of the answers they receive are quite
negative and seem intended to discourage.

I'm reminded of a story told by Jascha Heifetz. A mother asked him to listen to
her son play the violin. After the son played she asked for Heifetz's opinion.
"Give it up and be a cab driver, " he growled.

Years later, after the son's concert at Carnegie Hall, they encountered Heifetz
in the audience. "What do you think now, Mr. Know-it-all?" was the mother's
sarcastic greeting.

Heifetz smiled. "Madam, I knew the first time I heard your son play that he had
the talent. That's why I'm here tonight. I also knew that if he would ever let
my opinion dissuade him from continuing the violin, he would never succeed as a
concert violinist."

It's easy to go into a field when everyone's optimistic. But when the external
rewards, both substantial and insubstantial, are so difficult to come by as they
are in a field like ours, optimism doesn't help. If someone hears Gwen (or
others of us) tell a sadder tale of the field, and are discouraged from entering
the field, they didn't have what it takes to be a writer, anyway, and it's best
(for us *and* them) that they find it out early.

And if they plow ahead despite knowing the problems they face, more power to
them, and we welcome them.


Have fun,
Arlen
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
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