Re: Okay, So I'm Not Done After All :D (WAS: WHAT did you say?)

Subject: Re: Okay, So I'm Not Done After All :D (WAS: WHAT did you say?)
From: Tracy Boyington <tracy_boyington -at- OKVOTECH -dot- ORG>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 08:17:53 -0500

> I guess I'm not done after all, as I find myself needing to respond to
> Tracy Boyington's remarks. :D

Ah, the all-powerful Tracy strikes again... forcing George to conform to
my will... ;-D

> Whether anyone likes it or not, it would be nice to keep what American
> manufacturing jobs we have here on American soil so that we can HAVE
> jobs at all.

"Would be nice" is not the same as "is going to happen." I agree it is a
tragedy that we are losing these jobs. But sad though it may be, I doubt
I will ever have the opportunity to work in a manufacturing industry. Of
the employers of tech writers I'm familiar with in this area, only one
is a manufacturer. So I think it would be wise to concentrate on the
skills I need for (pardon the marketing-speak) jobs of the future, not
jobs of the past.

And this doesn't even address whether I *want* to work in manufacturing.
I don't. There are other areas I'm more interested in. Why shouldn't I
develop knowledge and skills based on those areas? OK, so my dream job
might be shipped overseas in 10 years. There are no guarantees, and I'm
fully aware of that. Isn't it still more productive than concentrating
on a job I don't like that's *already* being phased out in this country?

> Why would it benefit tech writers to have manufacturing environment
> experience? Because tech writers then learn about the product
> production processes and how the processes play a key role in the tech
> writer's understanding of the technology they're documenting.

But again, you're assuming we all deal with some kind of production
process. That just isn't true. Some of us write about things that are
not "built" (either on an assembly line or in front of a computer). I'm
even further removed. I don't write ABOUT our product -- what I write IS
our product. And I'm not the only one. My technology has nothing to do
with the manufacturing environment. And while it might benefit me to
know more about manufacturing, it benefits me more to know about the
technology I'm actually working with.

> In my opinion, it's a fool that believes "I don't have to know how it
> works; that's what Engineering is supposed to tell us."

What about those of us who don't have Engineering?

> And yes, I do know we don't all document just widgets or software, too,
> thank God.

See, George, the way you rewrote this statement makes me think you
didn't understand my point. I said we don't all document widgets and
software, and you agreed that we don't all document JUST widgets and
software. Which sounds to me like you assume we all document
*something*, but it's not always widgets and software. And that's not
what I said. Forgive me if I read too much into the addition of a word.

Perhaps we need a new thread on the definition of "document" (as a
verb). IMHO, what I do is not considered documentation. But to open a
new can of worms, maybe I'm not considered a tech writer either (it's
not my job title). Maybe I'm just an intruder on this list! ;-)

And that's *my* last word. Really. :-)
Tracy Boyington mailto:tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org
Oklahoma Dept. of Vocational & Technical Education
Curriculum & Instructional Materials Center
Stillwater, Oklahoma

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