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.
Hello all. I was away for a week's vacation, and upon returning found
many many messages in my mailbox. Unfortunately, most were mere
complaints about tech writers being mistaken for secretaries and
squabbles over what role tech writers should play and how we are
perceived by management.
Maybe some closure was given already, I don't know, I deleted
everything after the first 4 messages proved fruitless.
I graduated with a BS in Communication and set my aim to become a tech
writer. Well, that didn't happen. Instead I am a GUI designer (by my
definition - I design WinHelp, HTML, and CBT interfaces and don't
write content, though I do massage is a lot).
As far as roles and perceptions go, I stand by my belief that people
will perceive you as you portray yourself. Though I have a writing
and design background, I try to stay on the technical end of things.
This way I am known throughout my company as the "Help and HTML Guru
who also knows how to write".
So instead of whining about treatment and roles, I urge you all to
take a big step back and look at who you are and what you do through
your company's eyes. Is that what you perceive yourself to be? If
not, looks like you have some work to do to define your role in the
workplace. People won't see the hat your wearing until you put it on!
Well that's my 2 cents. I'm sure to get a lot of hate mail from this,
so please be kind and keep it off list so the next person doesn't have
to sift through drivel as I did.