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Orange County

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Title: Orange County


1
Orange County
Region 8
The
Plug and Play
Technical Communicator
2
Computers in the future may weigh no more than
1.5 tons.
- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless
march of science, 1949.
3
I think there is a world market for maybe five
computers.
- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
4
I have traveled the length and breadth of this
country and talked with the best people, and I
can assure you that data processing is a fad that
wont last out the year.
- The editor in charge of business books for
Prentice Hall, 1957
5
But what…is it good for?
- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems
Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip
6
There is no reason anyone would want a computer
in their home.
- Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of
Digital Equipment Corp, 1977
7
Not a Very Long Time on an Evolutionary Time
Line!!!
1957
1943
1977
1968
1947
10,000 BC
8
But, in Fairness, it is a Long Time on a
Technology Timeline!
It seems the average life cycle of . . . well,
every consumable continues to shrink at a
geometric pace!
9
So, What are Some Things That Have Gone Obsolete
in Our Lifetime?
  • 8-track tapes and turntables
  • Typewriters, especially manual ones
  • Milk delivered at your home
  • Daisy printers
  • 5.25 floppy diskettes
  • Doctors house calls
  • What else?

10
What About . . .
. . . large technical publication departments
with writing, editing, illustrating, and
production specialists?
11
What are Some Things whose Days are Numbered?
  • Eyeglasses
  • Chemical film photography
  • Copper Wire
  • VCRs (and movie rental places)
  • 3.5 floppy diskettes
  • Printed documents
  • What else?

12
What About . . .
Publication departments at corporate offices?
13
Food for thought!
Before we go any further along that line, lets
take a brief, informal look at the history of
our profession . . .
14
The Beginnings . . .
For Sake of Discussion, this period in our
profession stretches from the end of World War
II through about 1980.
  • Book on Boat Assembly - 1946 - Jay R Gould
  • How to Keep your Volkswagen Alive A Manual of
    Step by Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot -
    1969 - John Muir
  • Directions in Technical Writing and Communication
    - 1978 - Jay R Gould

15
The Golden 80s . . .
This is the Reagan-Bush years, through the
collapse of the Soviet Empire.
16
Upsize, Downsize, Rightsize . . . (early through
mid 90s)
This transition sees the demise of the
traditional Corporate American Contract, and
the emerging of a redefinition of the global
economy.
17
Upsize, Downsize, Rightsize . . . (early through
mid 90s)
Our Profession was among the hardest hit during
this timeframe.
Perhaps many wondered Is our profession
becoming obsolete?
Of course, we knew the answer to this was NO!!!!
18
Todays Boom Times . . .
The need for quality technical communicators is
growing astronomically!
19
Todays Boom Times . . .
Our umbrella of professions has gone through a
dramatic redefinition!
  • The tools we use change continuously
  • The types of deliverables have changed
    dramatically
  • Our audience composition changes continuously as
    well

CHANGE - Can Handle Any New, Generational
Evolution
20
Todays Boom Times . . .
So . . . where is this astronomic job growth?
Its in several areas . . .
21
Todays Boom Times . . .
Its still within the corporate structure!
But, in many instances, it is not on the 1980s
style career path.
Instead, it is coming through small business
units.
Many companies today staff for the business
valleys only.
22
Todays Boom Times . . .
Its with the small businesses.
. . . including companies that offer technical
communications services as their mainstay.
They can make up the resource differences
between those business valleys and current
workload peaks!
23
Todays Boom Times . . .
Its with the consultant technical communicators.
  • Check out the Consultants Toolkit on the
    Contracting and Independent Consulting SIG Web
    Site.
  • Many excellent articles have been written.
    Elaine Randolphs Almost Everything You Need to
    Know to Go Freelance appeared in the TechniScribe!

24
Todays Boom Times . . .
Its with the telecommuters.
  • Telecommute - Go to Work Without Leaving Home -
    1996 - Lisa Shaw

25
Todays Boom Times . . .
Its even there among the growing phenomenon -
corporate mergers! Yesterdays competition are
suddenly fellow employees - coopetition!
Cross-documentation and cross-training are
integral to the success of a merger!
The nature of our profession has taught us to
adapt to these uncertainties!
26
The need for quality technical communicators is
growing astronomically! Especially for . . .
Plug and Play Technical Communicators!
27
- A Quick Survey - How Many of You . . .
Have Duties that Include a Mix of Writing,
Editing, Illustrating, and Some Type of
Management Tasks?
Consider Yourselves Students?
28
For all who answered Yes-Yes, you
are plug-and-play technical communicators
For the plug-and-play technical communicator, the
flip side of the quality coin is adaptability!
29
Guidelines for a New Job Security
Saul Carliner and Donna Sakson
  • The External Environment
  • The Workplace
  • The Personal Sphere

30
Guidelines for a New Job Security
The External Environment
  • Stay in touch with the local employment
    conditions. Make sure you know which skills are
    in short supply and keep yours up to date.
  • Try to think like a customer, and understand the
    clients expectations. You may also have to
    modify some of your own expectations.
  • Anticipate that there will be both good clients
    and aggravating clients.

31
Guidelines for a New Job Security
The Workplace
  • Its okay to specialize.
  • Become a lifelong learner. Learn technical
    skills as well as organizational skills and
    interpersonal skills.
  • Develop a thick skin and an open ear.

32
Guidelines for a New Job Security
The Personal Sphere
  • Develop you own benchmarks for success. Success
    might range from publishing a book to enjoying
    the freedom to control your own time.
  • Develop your own independent financial and
    benefits plan, and use it to protect yourself
    against risk and to provide for your own
    retirement.
  • Develop your own independent support network that
    goes with you from job to job, on both a personal
    and professional basis. The STC is a great place
    to build that network.

33
The people who get on in this world are the
people who get up and look for the circumstances
they want, and, if they cant find them, MAKE
them.
--George Bernard Shaw
If you would like a copy of this slide show,
please send an e-mail to onwritetrk_at_aol.com In
subject Send Orange County Presentation Thank
you very much!
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