Re: TW Classifications

Subject: Re: TW Classifications
From: SuePStewrt -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 1995 11:27:21 -0400

Guy Oliver sed:
> >> I suspect, however, that the professional growth
> of a technical writer significantly diminishes after 10 years of
> experience.<<
So I sed:
>>>> No, darlin', you keep growing or you turn into petrified wood. You look
> new challenges and new ways to do things, and you try to get better. If
> stop learning, your brain dies and you become one of those lumps of
> protoplasm waiting for retirement. In fact, because of more background,
> get *better* at finding opportunities for professional development. You
> how to focus your development rather than being overwhelmed by the many
> subjects available.

> sue stewart
And Guy responded:
>>That's a great philosophy, but be more specific. What kinds of things
that were related to technical writing did you find you could do (or do
better) after 15 years that were difficult or impossible after only 10

Here's the heart of the problem: I do not believe you understand what most
people mean by "professional development." It doesn't refer only to learning
basic skills; that's training and practice, not true professional
development. The latter is how you enhance those skills once you've got

The things I couldn't do after "only 10 years" were, for the most part,
things that hadn't been invented yet. If I had not attended to my
professional development, I would know nothing about on-line documentation,
on-line help, SGML, and many other newer issues, and I'd be hugging my Wang
as it sank into a moldering pile of outmoded chips.

In addition, I would not have studied new theories on how people learn and
read, new research on design and layout for usability -- heck, "usability
testing" wasn't a real thing when I'd been in the business 10 years! (I keep
getting older and older, don't I? Hmmmm.) ;-)

I wouldn't be carrying on this discussion on the Internet.

A few years is a long time in this business. It's like a train. It keeps
going, passing over more and more different track. If you get off, the train
doesn't stop. It passes you by, and you're going to have to work very hard
to catch up. Professional development is your ticket to ride the train, and
you have to keep punching that ticket over and over, or you'll find yourself
waving to the caboose.

Finally, as to what I can do "better" than I could with only ten years
experience, the answer is EVERYTHING -- except running and going down stairs,
since I destroyed a knee in the interim ... ;-)

sue stewart
suepstewrt -at- aol -dot- com

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