PHIL: Tech Writing Dichotomy -Reply(2)

Subject: PHIL: Tech Writing Dichotomy -Reply(2)
From: Kent Newton <KentN -at- METRIX-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 14:16:00 PST

On Wednesday, February 21, 1996 9:15 AM, Bill Sullivan wrote:
>If you want an apothegm here, it might
>be: Don't stop defining the job, even after they hire you.

>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.

I have to agree with Bill on this. We're supposed to be the "experts" on
technical writing in our companies, so it is up to us to take control
over our departments (do I sense a revolution in the air?). It is up to
use to let our managers know what can/can't be or should/shouldn't be

Take the initiative to develop information channels in the development
department; don't wait for the information to trickle down (it didn't
work in economics and it won't work in documentation). Take the
initiative to explore new ways to document your product; if management
isn't exploring on-line documentation and you think they should be,
create a sample and sell the idea to them. (I know, we have enough
assigned work to do. But try, and you can find the time to do this sort
of thing.)

One of the advantages of often being ignored in the development process
is that we often have freedom to define our own job and direction. I
know this doesn't apply to all types of technical writing (especially
those in large documentation departments), but when it does, take
advantage of the situation.
Kent Newton
Senior Technical Writer
Metrix, Inc.
kentn -at- metrix-inc -dot- com

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