Re: Tech Writer in Corporate Communications Dept.

Subject: Re: Tech Writer in Corporate Communications Dept.
From: Chuck Fite <clfite -at- DSTSYSTEMS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 10:43:15 -0600


I currently work in a Corporate Communications department (Corporate Marketing
and Technical Communications, actually). As you suspect, it has both positive
and negative aspects. What is potentially good is that you are part of a
community of writers with whom you can interact. You have the opportunity to set
style guidelines and other documentation standards for the entire organization.
And, hopefully, you have a manager who really understands what you contribute
and the frustrations you face (preferably one who has been a technical writer).

Now the down side. In my company (and in many others I suspect), the Corporate
Communications Department is a service organization. We are treated much like
contractors for the various product areas. Most tech writing teams in my
department are not even physically located with the product areas they service,
making communication with the technical people troublesome. Even on my team,
where we are located with the product area and where we are a part of each
project team, I still feel like we are treated as outsiders.

But probably the worst part of my situation is that the product area has too
much control over the documentation. We do have a manager that will stand up for
us (which is absolutely necessary), but unfortunately that manager has never
been a technical writer and doesn't really understand (or consider important)
the distinction between an acceptably written document and a truly user-friendly
manual or help system.

Thus in summary, the most important thing to evaluate is the management. If your
manager knows tech writing, he or she is better able to argue effectively
against the often bad ideas coming from the Development managers. If not, you
might as well be working for those Development managers because they'll be
calling the shots anyway.

Chuck Fite
DST Systems Inc.

>I'm currently interviewing for a tech writing position that would be
>in the company's Corporate Communications department. The immediate
>supervisor would be the Director of Corporate Communications.

>I would like to hear from any tech communicators who work or have
>worked in a Corporate Communications department. How is it different
>from working in an Engineering department? What are the positive and
>negative aspects?

>Thanks in advance for your replies.

>Jon Herrera
>jonherrera -at- yahoo -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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