Re: Interest and Learning (was no subject)

Subject: Re: Interest and Learning (was no subject)
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- EXPERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 17:45:52 -0800

Win says:
>>[snipped description of variety in the techwriting field]
>>I wish I had enough time to pursue all the areas in tech communication
>>interested in. I've yet to work on WinHelp, or with HTML, or SGML. All
>>_kinds_ of new things to learn!

And Kent replied:
>If you took the time to learn all these new areas, Win, when would you
>have time to write? I see this as the insidious effect of the mad race
>to know the latest technology: we're so busy learning the technology that
>we have less time to research and document the product or service we were
>hired to document. Does anyone else see this trend as time-consuming as
>I do, or am I just an alarmist?

So I'll add:
There are very few occupations today that do not require continuing
education as a requirement for success. If you were in the medical
field, the insurance industry, real estate, etc., you would have to
provide proof of continuing education to remain licensed. I doubt
you'd place much confidence in a doctor who still gave asprin to
feverish children because "that's the way they did it when I graduated
med school" or a paramedic who walked up to an accident victim and
gave artificial respiration (out with the bad air -- in with the good...)
instead of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (sp???). And, yes, learning
new technology does take time -- nothing worth having comes free.

You may not need to learn the ins and outs of HTML immediately, but
you're shortchanging your client/employer if you don't know enough
about it to make an intelligent decision on when and where to use
it. We claim to be experts in the field of technical communication.
That's what our clients/employers pay us for and it's up to us to
remain aware of current communication methods and techniques so that
we can design the most effective communication strategy for the products
we document.

I find learning new technology exciting... stimulating... gratifying.
Learning new stuff and getting to play with other people's expensive
toys is part of the "glamour" of tech writing. If I had to do the
same thing in the same way time after time, the occupation wouldn't
hold me the way it does. I learn stuff. I tell other people about it.
That's my job. I *like* what I do. Maybe, if you can't stand the
heat, you otta think about gettin' out of the kitchen. ;-)

-Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com

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