Re: Finding a good job title

Subject: Re: Finding a good job title
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2001 12:54:55 -0800

Tracy Boyington wrote:

> Sweeping statements, Bruce, but I guess you know more TWs and programmers than I do. :-)

All I know is what I read on the list :-). The way the topic keeps
appearing on this list, it's worse than Dracula.

>Maybe, then, TWs suffer from the "anyone can write, so what's so darn special about you?" bias, and are >therefore more likely to have to lean on a high-falutin' job title when dealing with Those Who Don't Know Any >Better, while programmers don't generally have that handicap.

Or, at least, they perceive this bias. But, from my direct
observations, this perception - and the obsession with titles -
seems to be due largely to insecurity. The less confident that
writers feel about their ability to do their jobs, the more likely
they are to spend time worrying about their exact title. For
example, I notice (at the risk of re-opening a debate that no one,
including me, cares to revive), that non-technical technical writers
are far more likely to have the obsession than technical technical
writers. For that matter, the more I've learned on the technical
side, the more the concern has faded for me - although it's never
been a very big one for me, as you might guess from my position.

Similarly, the obsession is especially likely to be strong among
writers who have just started a new job, or ones who border-line
competent and afraid of failing. The feeling seems to be that, if
they can nail down an impressive job title, then their competence
becomes an official reality and they can silence their doubts as
well as anybody else's.

Of course, as Connie says, some corporate cultures place more
emphasis on job titles than others, so, in those environments,
everyone has the obsession to a degree. But, even then, I suspect
that writers will have it worse than others.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com
Director of Marketing and Communications, Progeny Linux Systems
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux

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