On the start of my weekly drive between those two bastions of modern Southern charm, Charlotte and Atlanta, I reflected on how such a dreary month landed the cushy job of starting each year. The start of the year should be energizing and exciting and wonder-inducing. Alas, rainy and warm has devolved to rainy and cold, and while the team and the project I’m part of inspire awe and curiosity, the weather stupefies. I completely empathize with “snow birds” who head south from colder climes, but for me it’s not the temperature so much as the need for sunlight. Whether Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a medically recognized condition is totally beside the point. I believe it must be real, therefore it is.
So naturally my mind wanders to wherever those sunny climes might be, and being the responsible, professional technical communicator I claim, I want to turn a mental health related trip into a twofer—is there some really cool, productivity enhancing professional conference I can attend in a location that allows me to remember what sunlight looks like? Probably, and because we’re good-hearted folks who like to make it easier on our readers and colleagues, we put together a pretty extensive list of conferences that take place throughout 2013. (Feel free to let us know about any we might have missed, we’ll be glad to add them.) We followed that up with a technical communication poll question on the continuing education courses that would really float your boat. On the off chance that at least part of the team would actually prefer dreary to balmy, we also got Roger Renteria to pull together a comparison of online meeting tools, so you can stay in touch no matter where you are.
I figure the rain will end sometime soon, and now I get why Portlandians relish their few weeks of sun every year. For now, it’s time to get your professional development/continuing education game on… and don’t forget the sunscreen.
Have a great weekend!
-Connie and the gang at TechWhirl
Sleet is falling in northeastern Pennsylvania right now, and frigid weather is forecast here this coming week, but opinions and commentary in technical communication are being served piping hot to tech writers and other communicators. Enjoy a variety of technical communication entrees, content strategy and user experience side dishes, and finish with some delicious desserty Career and Life commentary.
Here at TechWhirl, we use a lot of neat technology to make our collaborations and meetings as easy and efficient as possible. The reality is, thanks to the wide availability of the internet, we can work anywhere at any time without the need of meeting in a physical or centralized office. Without a physical location to meet, we technical communicators need a central location to conduct business and have virtual “face-to-face” meetings.
If there’s one thing we can say about most of the technical communicators we’ve met and worked with, they love learning new stuff (perhaps there’s another: they love arguing about the old stuff). The great thing is, there’s always new stuff to learn.
Budgets, interests, business and personal objectives all play a large role in putting together a professional development plan. You may have opted for an advanced degree or an ongoing certificate program. If you’re not in a position to take on a long-term commitment, the short-term infusion of knowledge, skills-building, energy, and professional collaboration that comes from conference attendance may fit your goals. And the 2013 conference list is deep and wide.
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