Clear and to the Point

2 January, 2015

Job qualifications I hate to see

Filed under: technical communication — monado @ 13:00
Tags:

There’s something a little depressing and a little frustrating in to of the items I see listed under Qualifications for many technical writing jobs. I’m sure you know them:

  • Ability to work simultaneously on different documentation modules and products in a fast paced development environment with minimum supervision
  • Ability to work in a deadline driven environment with strong emphasis on consistency, usability, and quality

Sometimes they are combined:

  • Able to work in a very fast paced environment and handle multiple projects at the same time.

The first one says, “We won’t protect you from competing priorities” or, in short, “Your manager won’t manage.”

The ability to manage all projects on all products in a fast-paced environment and produce high-quality, accurate, consistent, and readable documentation is often combined with an experience level of no more than five years. In other words, the employer is not about to pay for a senior writer. So the second one says,”We expect the impossible.” It’s a basic rule of project management: You can have it Good. You can have it Fast. You can have it Cheap. Pick Two.

Experience aside, if you are flipping from product to product, it’s difficult to get a coherent body of knowledge in your head assembled and then re-packaged. This multiplies the chance of a mistake: of missing something, of inconsistency, of applying a detail from one product to a description of another product. You need a manager who will deflect or delay some work requests.

2 October, 2014

Think before you write

Filed under: accuracy,writing — monado @ 12:20
Tags: ,

Or at least review.

A magazine cover promises "Five Kitchen Cures for Glowing Skin".

A cure for glowing skin

If you have glowing skin, this magazine has a cure for it.

27 August, 2013

How much detail can you add?

Filed under: communication,safety — monado @ 13:21
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This is an example of parking signs that have reached, or perhaps passed, their level of understandable complexity. What do you think? Is this suitable for the general public?

A complex farrago of no parking rules

Parking signs

29 July, 2013

Coffee sign

Filed under: communication,ingenuity — monado @ 13:31
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Here’s a neat little gadget made from two Styrofoam coffee cups. To show when coffee was last made, simply turn one cup inside the other until the arrow shows the time. This was spotted in West Hartford, Connecticut.

A device made from two coffee cups, one with times on its rim held by another with an arrow pointing at the times

“Coffee made at…”

13 October, 2012

International Plain Language Day

Filed under: communication,education,language,people — monado @ 13:49
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Toronto communicators celebrated International Plain Language Day with a conference and public open house. Here are a few of the participants.

A group of white collar workers sits in a lounge

International Plain Language Day

 

27 February, 2012

Aquisitions Editor at Oxford University Press

Filed under: books,careers — monado @ 16:07
Tags: ,

Oxford University press on Don Mills Road in Toronto is looking for an Aquisitions Editor. In this role, you shepherd books through the publishing process and look for new books and authors. If you have a literary bent and editorial or sales experience, this might be for you!

Job Requirements

  • Work with authors to develop and prepare new projects for approval
  • In collaboration with other departments, prepare accurate project budgets and sales projections
  • Effectively manage strategic growth and development of publishing lists in a variety of disciplines
  • Coordinate the development of digital and new media resources to meet market needs
  • Work with sales representatives in the field to promote OUP titles and learning solutions
  • Attend sales conferences to present new titles and products to sales and marketing teams
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