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>How common is this practice? Personally, I went
>to college because I didn't want to be a secretary
>the rest of my life. Enlighten me here--are shorthand
>and production typing part of tech comm
>training nowadays? Should I expect to take a typing
>speed test if I apply for a new job?
It can certainly happen. When I was first graduated, I applied
for a "technical writing" job, and was asked to take a typing
test--on a TYPEWRITER, no less. Of course, I knew then
and there that I wasn't interested in their job, but, not wanting
to be rude, I did it. I got a big fat 11 words per minute.
Since then, I've gotten a little older and a lot more crotchety.
I do contract and freelance work, so I have to battle a lot of
ignorant perceptions. I've got three strikes against me to
start with--I'm female, I look younger than I am, and I'm a
tech writer. When I'm asked to do administrative tasks on
the job, I explain that I am quite simply NOT a secretary. I
have absolutely nothing against secretaries. They are some
of the most undervalued and overworked people in the business,
IMO. I'm no more capable of doing a secretary's job than a
secretary is of doing technical documentation. (Yeah, I know.
That's a new concept, too.)
I do think it's very important when you're faced with this
issue not to just start bashing secretaries. Approach the
miscreant calmly and reasonably and let them know in no
uncertain terms that this is NOT your job, you're NOT
trained or experienced in this sort of work, and they'd
be better off all around if they just found someone who is.
They're far more likely to take you seriously than they
would if you were just to turn up your nose and say "I
don't DO that!"
eilrh -at- ei -dot- lucent -dot- com
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