Thanks for having me. I am going to talk about Bringing the Benefits of STC to work, based on my experience in the last 2 years at my current job at Med Communications and my experiences with STC over the last 5 years as chapter president and frequent attendee of the Summit and some regional conferences. We all know that we derive personal satisfaction and value from our affiliation with and participation in STC, but how can show our workplaces that value?
Now I know that the fact that you’re here means you believe in the value of STC, but it’s nice to hear real stories of others having success with the skills and experiences in STC in their workplaces, so that’s what I am going to share with you today.
I plan to discuss 4 broad topics of how I use the connections, knowledge resources, and experiences I have developed in STC in my current position.
One way to offset the relatively low profile of technical communicators is by showing we have our own professional association (STC) and through it we can network to accomplish our workplace’s goals…like finding another editor…which is what I recently did.
I recently helped them advertise (for free) through local chapters of STC to find a new PT editor to back me up. My manager was very appreciative of my ability to reach out to local groups and to help vet prospects before they took the time and effort to evaluate resumes and interview. Apparently, they had a hard time filling my position (since my manager didn’t really know what I would be doing, in many ways).
While you will probably never get a standing ovation for bringing in a competent professional, your manager will appreciate your efforts…essential in this economy.When they hired me (they had never hired an editor before), they wanted to give me a test, but no one knew how! I have been tested for other jobs, I have read posts on the TE SIG about creating editing tests, and I have even gone to a session or two n the topic at the Summit, so I was ready!
Remember the CareerBuilder commercials with the chimpanzees? Do you want to work with “monkeys?” Enough said. ;)Because there are only 2 editors, it’s really important that I had someone who I could work well with and whose skills could complement my own. And I really wanted a say in getting someone with a certain level of experience and knowledge. I know my manager doesn’t know the intricacies of my position…so it only makes sense that I evaluate candidates.
What is that worth in the market? For your client to know you have prior information, contacts, and knowledge to help them navigate a new path?The takeaway here? Go to sessions on topics you don’t even need in your current job…you never know when it might come in handy.
Yes, please give me your card after the lightning talk if you are using Authorit. ;)I have also been able to give my manager stories of happy Authorit users, which made her feel better about the future…
Not that I would get that upset at an inanimate software product or the computer…don’t be silly. Especially, when a deadline is upon me and I can’t get something to format correctly…no, not me.
Or I can lurk and learn from other’s questions…which often makes me rethink the way I am doing something, which isn’t a bad thing.
As chapter president, I had to be able to speak to the group at chapter meetings, introducing speakers and making everyone feel welcome. Conferences like this are also a good time to speak on topics about our profession, or what you are doing. In my current position, I make presentation to the directors at the client, usually just about my job responsibilities and projects, but the first one I gave one on content management systems. This kind of visibility is what we all need as technical communicators.
As chapter president, presiding over administrative council meetings, where I needed to diplomatically convince volunteers to step up and take on action items, then of course coach them through actually completely them. But I am sure that many of you know how that is…Those experiences have helped me understand a bit about how to work with the new PT editor I helped hire…I’m not her manager, so I can’t really tell her what to do, but I am training her, so I know that instead of micromanaging her, I should provide her as much information as I have, but the let her figure out the best way for HER to complete a task.
As a member of STC, especially as you get more involved with your chapter and at the national level, you realize that you must be enthusiastic and a bit of an evangelist about STC and the value you bring to your organization.
Once you begin to internalize that, it’s hard not to bring it to work. You begin to talk about the work that you do in professional terms, because you have had shared conversations with other STC members and you have a new vocabulary (especially for those of us who came to technical writing with an English or journalism degree).
After you start to get more vocal about your skills and value at work, and begin to volunteer yourself got projects that further you career, it’s self-perpetuating. As you speak up for yourself, you get more or better projects, and you take on new projects, you gain experience that makes you a better technical communicators. As you have more skills and experiences, you want to talk about all of the cool things you are doing, which makes people more confidence you can take on other new projects.
Beyond your own personal success, there is the success of the profession and STC…
Bringing the benefits of stc to work kelly schrank stc summit 2012