Re: TW and education (was Re: Houston Area Jobs)

Subject: Re: TW and education (was Re: Houston Area Jobs)
From: Camille Krug <camillek -at- FUTURE -dot- DSC -dot- DALSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 1996 09:56:21 -0600

After this note, I promise to keep my mouth shut (and hands tied).

My initial response to Tracy Darden's request was less than diplomatic.
It concerned my alarm at the fact that her aunt was teaching tech writing
for a community college but was uninformed as to how to go about landing
a job in the field. Unfortunately, I combined some annoying observations
about STC in with my question to her. We have since shared resources and I
have apoligized.

Yesterday, I received a note from the president of STC in Dallas telling
me that I indicate burnout for my initial comments. At no time have I
ever disparaged anyone with a degree other than TW. I don't have a TW
degree: mine is a 16-year old journalism degree with criminology and film
minor courses, and a years' worth of masters courses in computer science
and linguistics. I admire people with intricate knowledge of other
disciplines and have thankfully worked along side with them as tech
writers. They have enhanced my thirst for knowledge.

My initial comments were addressed to persons who get into this field
via shortcuts, with no education in any discipline. I am thinking of
companies that promote a secretary into tech writing to save money they'd
have to pay a professional, educated person. This diminishes our earning
potential, not to mention the respect that many of us work hard to win.
Hanging out a shingle that says "Consultant" does nothing for me either.
Some at high levels of our local STC have soured many of my peers on this
merely because they are resistant to continuing education/training, and
administered tests. Oh, and yeah, they were either secretaries or insurance
underwriters before discovering big dollars in "consulting". These people
want to, instead, TEACH workshops etc. about consulting. This does
nothing to help an entry-level person learn about tech writing or any
discipline/art/subject other than making a quick buck. It offends me.

None of this is meant to be pompous: it is meant to keep our salaries at
respectable levels and our opportunities for growth endless. I
welcome people into this field who have a desire to work hard and get
to the root of the matter, what ever is being documented. There are many
talented people out here with varied experiences. We can all learn from
each other. But membership in a professional association does not a tech
writer make.
Camille Krug
camillek -at- dalsy -dot- com
stet -at- connect -dot- net

On Tue, 10 Dec 1996, Stephen Victor wrote:

> Eric J. Ray wrote:
> It does, however, indicate that a person has pursued a formal course of
> study over a period of several years. A college degree doesn't guarantee
> writing competence, but I'd be more willing to give a chance to someone
> who has the intellectual discipline necessary to complete a degree than
> to someone who hasn't demonstrated such discipline.

> I know this is flamebait, but I'll stick by my guns on this one.

> Regards,
> Steve
> --
> Stephen P. Victor Phone: (713) 513-2552
> Technical Writer, Software Training Fax: (713) 513-2019
> Schlumberger GeoQuest svictor -at- houston -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com
> 5599 San Felipe, Suite 1700
> Houston, Texas 77056 USA

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