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So far in this thread I've seen four situations where the tech writer would
be taking notes:
1. Everybody takes notes at one time or another. It's a team thing.
2. The tech writer is the member of the team who has the necessary skills
(organizing thoughts, writing clearly, etc.) to take good, useful notes and
is recognized as an expert in this area.
3. The tech writer has a good reason to want to take notes (involvement in
the team, etc.) and volunteers for the job.
4. The tech writer, as the Person Most Likely To Use a Typewriter, is
designated Person Closest to a Secretary and therefore is assigned to take
I think we're all intelligent enough to realize which of these situations
we're in without being lectured on our professionalism or lack thereof. And
reasons 1-3 are good, valid reasons to become the note-taker. But if I were
in situation number 4 I would be standing in line at Kinko's with Eric,
copying my resume.
Why? Not because it's "below me" to do this kind of work. I'm not a prima
donna. I do my own copying. I'd make coffee if I drank coffee. But because
once I'm given that "glorified secretary" label, I can't get rid of it, and
it will end up hurting me. Time to pick a team leader for a new project? Not
Tracy, she's just a glorified secretary. Who should we send to training?
Tracy doesn't need it, she doesn't do anything technical or difficult, she's
just a glorified secretary. Time to give raises or bonuses? (at least I've
*heard* some organizations do that! ;-) Give the professional staff a big
bonus. Give Tracy the clerical bonus. Downsizing? All Tracy does is type
notes, and the administrative assistant we already have can do that for a lot
I'm not knocking secretaries. I paid my way through school as a secretary.
But I make a lot more money and have a lot more opportunities as a technical
writer, and I'm not going back!
Tracy Boyington trlyboyi -at- genesis -dot- odvte -dot- state -dot- ok -dot- us
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