Business Card RE: Technical Writer Title

Subject: Business Card RE: Technical Writer Title
From: "Huber, Mike" <mrhuber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 2 Jun 1997 09:54:25 -0500

Mine has no title on it at all.
It has my name, the words "Technical Documentation," and contact
It's a company business card. I give it to people who are already working
very closely with the company - translators, printers, co-workers at other
sites. This particular card is a contact tool only, not a sales piece.

The usual way the card is used, I think, is this:
1) Person with card (PWC) is doing something with a project that we are
collaborating on in some way, and needs to contact me.
2) PWC searches cards: pile on desk, Rolodex, pockets in a book, whatever.
The search may be by name, but search by function is much more likely -
people who remember my name are more likely to use a directory.

The PWC is thinking about the project and about documentation when this
happens. Probably not me, and certainly not my title. The words "Technical
Documentation" are the search key. I think I may try to get the word
"technical" removed. It doesn't help the search, and it's either redundant
(all the documentation here is technical) or inaccurate (if there were
non-technical documentation, it would still be my job). If I have the time,
I write the name of the project on my card before I hand it over - that's
the other main search key.

Pretty neat, huh? A one page (and a small one at that) document with three
index entries, one of them customized to the user's specific situation, one
task-oriented and user-focused, and one standardized and automatic.

A card for contracting or job-hunting might require something else. For
such a card, I'd want to focus on myself and my abilities. A title might
advance the cause on such a card, but the title would indicate what I want
to do (within my abilities, of course) and I would derive such a title from
job listings, rather than my own ego or idea of what words best describe
what I do. If I see a lot of listings like:

Rat-Faced Pencil-Chewer
The successful candidate will make a substantial chunk of change by
applying understanding of software technology and how people use it, and
exceptional communication skills, to the design and implementation of
information products. Information products include manuals, help systems,
web pages, and information presentation technology that hasn't been
invented yet. We consider the user interface of the software (including the
error messages) to be an information product.

Then I'm a Rat-Faced Pencil-Chewer.

Mike Huber
mike -dot- huber -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com

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