Technical writing is one of those jobs in which you're constantly learning. New tools, new techniques, new methodologies. No one knows it all. That's especially true for the new technical communicator. If you've graduated from a writing and rhetoric course or a technical writing course, you have a pretty good grounding in craft. But you're really only at the base of the mountain. There's still a lot to learn, and if you keep your eyes and ears and mind open then you can quickly pick up what you need to know.
Passion, though, is a funny thing. It's easy to become passionate about something. But the fire of that passion can also be easily dimmed or extinguished, often due to circumstances that are beyond your control. Throughout your career, you'll definitely find your passion waxing and waning. But holding on to that passion and nurturing it will make you a better technical communicator.
So you've just started out as a technical communicator, or you've been on the job for a year or two. And you've decided that maybe, just maybe, technical communication is the career for you and you're in it for the long haul. Now what? Think about the future and how you want your career to develop.
Age discrimination in the workplace occurs any time one worker is treated differently from another due to age, or another worker's beliefs about age-related inabilities. Solving the problem of age discrimination in the workplace involves three things: understanding the problem and how it affects the way we work, educating ourselves and the rest of the general working public about age discrimination, and finding specific ways to address and overcome the issue.
Dear recently graduated Millennial: Congratulations on your graduation! I understand you’re ready to conquer the world of advertising. I want to get to know you. You may be exactly what we need. Before you begin your conquest, let me introduce myself and offer up a few pointers.
My key point in this column is that we need to support, defend, and promote our artisans, or artists, and we need to eliminate the assholes from our organizations. In practice, I see a lot of managers who do not support their artisans—their greatest performers—but hold onto and even reward their assholes. In the end, an organization that rewards the wrong people can destroy its effectiveness and drive the most talented people out.
One of the problems I’ve had to combat over the years has been boredom/burnout — that feeling you get either when you’ve been on the same project for too long or a you’re on new project that just feels like exactly what you’ve been working on for years. How do you breath life into work that you’ve done many, many times before?
For future job seekers: Always be prepared. In today’s day and age a layoff can happen to anyone, no matter how secure you may think your job is. That doesn’t mean you should walk around with a cloud of doom over your head but it does mean you should be aware and somewhat prepared if it does. Keep your resume up-to-date and make note of milestones and accomplishments in your current job.
Condon encourages people to search for networking opportunities. She suggests reading the technology section of The Oregonian on Mondays to find out about meetings of professional groups in addition to STC. She said she often attends events simply because the announced speaker sounds intriguing. She visits meetings of Rotary clubs, Lions, and environmental organizations. She finds out what groups her friends and neighbors belong to and asks if she can attend a meeting with them. When she goes, she doesn't attempt to meet everyone, she just tries to make two or three new contacts. She exchanges business cards, and then, the next day, she follows up with a handwritten note to one or two people saying what a pleasure it was to meet them.
Like most technical communicators in the current economic climate, I've been considering where I've been and where I'm going. On Saturday, January 12, I had the golden opportunity to do some of that in the company of some 50 like-minded participants and a number of inspirational and practical speakers. Not incidentally, I was reminded what a tremendous reservoir of volunteer spirit the Willamette Valley Chapter of the STC holds.
I received the following email from Anna, a literature PhD candidate who is considering changing career paths from teaching into technical writing.
Discusses strategies to help you strengthen your adaptive smarts. How you choose to implement these strategies is a highly personal process, given your own unique circumstance. The idea here is to provide some food for thought to help you develop your own particular brand of adaptive smarts.
Professional burnout can strike anyone regardless of their profession - tech writer, corporate trainer, freelance writer, website marketing specialist, butcher, baker, candlestick maker - but it's not always easy to detect until the damage has been done. This article looks at the signs of professional burnout and dealing with them head on - alone and with the help of others. It also provides resources you can use to break out of your rut.
Parents, teachers, and guidance counsellors sometimes tell children who are anxious about what they're going to do with their life, that they can pursue virtually any career they put their mind to. With determination and lots of hard work, anyone can become a future Prime Minister or President. As reassuring as this sounds, recent findings in the field of brain research suggest that not all people (i.e., brains) are born equal.
Rule number one for a contractor is to never panic about what happens your first day. First days are naturally chaotic, and often companies are not fully prepared for you. Because contractors are usually brought in to solve a particular problem, the people are anxious to get you started, but companies, especially large ones, are not geared for quick action.
Dedicated gym-goers use some tried and tested methods to make their workouts more efficient and effective. As usual, what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander, and a lot of these same strategies can apply quite well to professional workflows, too. What is work, after all, besides a prolonged workout of your professional muscles?
People are unabashed about asking for web advice and help related to blogs, social media, networking and other web work because they don’t regard it as a specialized service the way they do with medical and legal expertise. I’m not saying giving away freebies is always a definite no-no, but I do think that as web workers we need to start reinforcing the value of our work by drawing a line between friendly advice and working for free. Here’s how I’m trying to create that demarcation.
Discusses many ethical issues including: taking personal responsibility for one's actions, Behaviour toward colleagues, subordinates and others,Dealing with experimental subjects, interviewees, etc, Telling the 'truth', and choosing between advocacy and objectivity.
Today, there are many ways to practice our craft, and our main objective as technical communicators is to find a way to do just that. Those of us who are unemployed or underemployed know that we need to have the job we want in order to make the contribution we know we can. The same skills that make us good technical communicators will serve us well in our job search. With a little inspiration and a lot of perspiration, we can get the right job.