Staying relevant

When asked about my career goals, my first response is to stay relevant. My second response is to be in a job position where I can participate in the discussions that affect us as an org or as a profession (in this case, technical communications). This last week has been spent looking at the FY06 goals and thinking of how we adapt to meet those goals. Part of that effort involves mapping the descriptions of what we do as technical communicators to the terminology of the goals and looking for ways to show how we can be relevant to achieving those goals.

We've had discussions about internal customers and external customers. As technical communicators, it is easy to see that we have external customers, who are the developers or sys admins that use our documentation deliverables. We also have internal customers, such as the VP who wants more training or the engineering director who wants smaller, web-based docs. Our ability to get funding and support depends on our ability to meet the needs of the internal customers. Our value as a profession depends on our ability to support our external customers with accurate information in a format they can use. How to maximize the satisfaction of both the internal and external customers is the challenge.

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