TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Intern advice From:Michael Priestley <mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 21 Feb 1997 12:41:40 EST
Susan Gallagher writes, of internship experience at large companies,
>need someone who can juggle many different projects and wear many different
>hats, turn on a dime, gimme nine cents change, and look good doin' it. ;-)
>You don't get this kind of experience or develop this kind of work style
>working for Amalgamated Conglomerate. Usually, you get kinda lazy working
Ah, the perils of generalization. You can't even generalize _within_ a large
company, since cultures differ so much from site to site, let alone
generalize about _all_ large companies. I know, I know, I saw the smilie,
but what you said blatantly contradicts my own experience.
When I was an intern at IBM Canada, they started by giving me responsibility
for a small piece of the online help for a software project. By the end of
sixteen months, I was involved in the GUI design, had written most of the
task help, re-organized and redesigned the overall help architecture and
format, tested the working version of the software, worked on the tutorial,
edited papers, yadda yadda yadda....
There may be parts of IBM Canada where the teams are lazy and the interns
get oddjobbed to sleep. I haven't seen them. Here, they have a nasty
habit of giving four-month co-op students full responsibility for an
800-page manual (or, these days, a 1600-page HTML-based reference). They can
complain of exploitation, but they can't complain of boredom.
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
mpriestley -at- acm -dot- org