PHIL: Tech Writing Dichotomy -Reply

Subject: PHIL: Tech Writing Dichotomy -Reply
From: Bill Sullivan <bsullivan -at- SMTPLINK -dot- DELTECPOWER -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 09:15:01 -0800

This is a reply to Guilden's thank you note for our responses to his
query re tech writer backgrounds, but I would also like to go back to
Eric's plea that we get into the things that keep us awake nights.

I have walked into at least two tech writing jobs in recent years and
gotten filled with pained and sleepless feelings while asking myself
questions like: What is my role here? Why did they hire me? The
people I work for seem open to me and seemed pleased to discover I
have talents and experiences that were not discussed in the job
interview; what can I be contributing to this cause that is not in
the job description? Or, as a namesake of mine once said: I'm not
just a potted plant, you know.

I am, I would tell myself, the unique summary of all of my gifts and
experiences. I am, as one friend once put it, "a oner." Of course,
I couldn't write, say, as swell a thing as Sue Gallagher's
explanation of object orienting (on TECHWR-L today), but I have
nevertheless stuff I can do. If you want an apothegm here, it might
be: Don't stop defining the job, even after they hire you. Your
song might be: Getting To Know You, from The King and I.

I think it's exciting to be able to create your own job, at least in
part. [It's why I favor a liberal education rather than a focused
one.] I think it's fun to swashbuckle your way through life. Who
says ballplayers have to have all the fun? Pluck is great.

Bill Sullivan
bsullivan -at- deltecpower -dot- com
San Diego, California


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