[techwr-l] Re: That raise and promotion

Subject: [techwr-l] Re: That raise and promotion
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L, a list for all technical communication issues" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 12:43:38 -0700 (PDT)

Hi, Johnny.

Mind if I get to the point? This may be somewhat
blunt, but I don't think that you have much time to
have us beat around the bush.

In my opinion, one of the required qualities for a
Senior Writer is to be able to express questions,
thoughts, suggestions, and requirements in whatever
form is required for the situation, including verbal.
How else do you present your requirements for
information, answers to questions, and arguments when
a developer says during a major meeting... "I think it
would be a good idea if our documentation had <you
fill in the blank with whatever absurd thought they
may think up>.

Time and Number alone does not a Sr Writer make and
even if you are the only writer, that doesn't make you
a Senior Writer if everything you've done has been
based on step-by-step instructions from someone else.

A Senior Writer is a writer who can think, not just

- Can you take a project from concept and turn it into
something you can hold in your hand?
- If you are given a deadline, do you know how to plan
the 237 little steps involved so that when the
deadline arrives, you've hit them all?
- Can you sit among your company peers and when the
lead developer says "We need to have an API document
created because we're adding a Developer's Toolbox to
the application", say "OK, I can do that." (and you
don't even know an API from a hole in the ground).

Until I was able to express these things verbally, I
wouldn't consider myself qualified for that label and
I wouldn't consider the promotion for anyone who came
to me. You don't always have the time to go back to
your office and compose a written response.

The good news is that this is a skill that CAN be
learned. Unfortunatly, petitioning for a raise is a
poor time to practice the skill.

Therefore, my suggestion. Instead of writing out your
proposition in a document for presenation, sit down
and outline your thoughts. You should be able to sort
the reasons into no more than 3-4 major categories why
you believe the raise and promotion are justified.
(such as Initiative, Customer/User Improvements, etc.)

Then below each category, list 3-4 instances where
you've implemented them and - IMPORTANT - the benefit
that your organization benefited from them. Real
benefits...qualifyable / quantifiyable benefits

Then, sit down alone and practice your "speech". After
you've done this SEVERAL times, grab your
wife/girlfriend/significant other, and have them be
your boss, who you are going to meet with. Their job
is to continualy say "Why?"

You: Mr. Smith...I've been with this group and during
that time, I initiated the development of several new
sets of documentation, including a set of documents
that enabled the developers to distribute ...."


You: During one of the meetings with the lead
developer, he expressed the need to create API
documentation to go along with the API Toolkit being
developed for V3 of the application. I evaluated the
requirements from a resource and benefit perspective
and saw where we could ....etc.

good luck

> This is my first posting to the list. 11 months ago
> I joined this little company as the only writer. My
> review is coming up in a few weeks and I want to ask
> you'll out there for some information.
> I want to get a raise and a promotion. Since I'm the

John Posada, Merck Research Laboratories
Sr Technical Writer, WinHelp and html
(work) john_posada -at- merck -dot- com - 732-594-0873
(pers) jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com - 732-291-7811
"The art of creating software that is usable by individuals is a communication skill. It is not a programming skill."
--Bill Atkinson, creator of MacPaint and HyperCard
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