Your Career Skills: Upgrade in Progress

We upgrade our phones, our laptops, our TVs. We even talk about upgrading our career skills. What do we need to do to upgrade our careers to something more challenging, satisfying, meaningful?

Nothing Teaches Like Mistakes: Reclaim the Balance Between Work and Life

In the fall of 2011, I had a job where I loved the work, loved my boss, loved the company and hated my job. The reason was simple. I had lost any balance between work and the rest of my life. Looking back, I see what happened. Early successes in streamlining processes and improving productivity earned me greater responsibility, respect and raises, but no additional resources. I gave up whole parts of my life in five or ten minute increments over ten years ... Continue reading ...

Technical Communication Poll: Planning for a Management Role

Management gets such a bad rap from folks in technical communication (and pretty much any other field), it's a wonder that any tech comm managers exist at all. This is probably due to the fact that management is hard, and leadership harder still. Yehoshua Paul provided an excellent perspective on technical communication leadership versus management this week, and it's prompted us to ask the community about their plans to get into management. Continue reading ...

leadership

Management and Leadership in Technical Writing

At some point in your technical writing career, you may find yourself in a position where you are responsible not only for your own output, but also the output of other writers under you. In other words you’ve become a manager. Now you need to manage the output of others, and your focus is going to change to at least some degree. Continue reading ...

technical communication recap

TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for September 21, 2012

One critical aspect to doing a successful career upgrade in technical communication concerns professional development. TechWhirl is fortunate in being able to cover some of the leading conferences in technical communication and content strategy, such as the LavaCon Conference (where we’ll be presenting sessions on winning business cases and on change management) and the STC Summit. And we’ve also presented features that look at distance learning as a professional development option. Continue reading ...

TCTrainNet: The Global Perspective on Technical Communication Professional Development & Certification

Professional development takes many forms in the world of technical communication—conferences, mentoring, on-the-job (OTJ) and other forms of training, post graduate education, continuing education and certificate programs, and professional certification. In North America debate rages on the value and relevance of some of these development forms, especially in professional certification. But since the world of technical communication is a global, multicultural field spanning a wide array of industries, taking a look at professional development through a global lens can provide some insight, and new alternatives, to how we approach the technical communication field. TechWhirl spoke with Tony Self, cofounder of HyperWrite Consultancy and Training and Director of Training for TCTrainNet, an English language initiative of tekom’s tcworld . Continue reading ...

technical communication recap

TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for September 14, 2012

Another one of those “evergreen topics” in technical communication made its way to the email discussion list courtesy of TechWhirl’s weekly curator, Craig Cardimon—the debate on what title a technical communicator should have when their responsibilities grow beyond “strict technical writing.” How we brand ourselves can be a significant and visible part of the technical communication career upgrade. Our resumes serve as the collateral, our portfolios help build the unique selling proposition. In the end we find a position, with a title that stops accurately reflecting what the job entails about a week after we onboard. Continue reading ...

Technical Communication Captive to Freelancing Consultant

Like most thinking about the leap to fulltime freelancing, I had the dream of working at the local coffee shop sipping hot chocolate and working hard on the latest software documentation. My phone would ring with a new client that saw my website and just had to have my services. Then I made the plunge into freelancing while caring for my newborn, and had to wake up from that lovely dream. Continue reading ...

Technical Communication Poll: What Drives You to Freelancing?

One of the career choices that seems to be an increasingly popular option for those in technical communication is deciding to "quit the rat race" and go it alone as a freelancer or independent consultant. A recent study by MBO Partners shows that the independent consulting segment of the workforce in the United States is more than 16 million workers, and continues to grow among all demographics. Choosing freelancing as a technical communication career path ranks right up there with the other big life decisions... Continue reading ...