by Debbie Kerr, President
Some of us celebrate the coming of September because it means that our children return to school. Others celebrate the beginning of the new STC year. Still others, who donít have air conditioning, celebrate the fact that the end of the humidity may be in sight. Still others celebrate life, so September is as good a reason as any to get excited about something new.
Since this newsletter is about the STC, I wonít bore you with the details about one of my children starting high school and my other one entering Grade 5. I also wonít tell you that we donít have air conditioning, which is why I included a comment about the humidity. Instead, I will focus on what we have to celebrate as members of the STC.
The STC Year
September marks the beginning of the new STC year. For those of you who have volunteered to be on the council, this means that many of you have already attended a planning session in August to establish goals on two levels for the 2005-2006 year: goals that are specific to our portfolios and goals that are for the common good of our chapter. The start of the STC year marks the start of building on your existing skills and developing new ones.
If you are not on this yearís council, have no fear; you still have something to celebrate. You get to learn by making use of the various activities and opportunities that this chapter provides. You also have the opportunity to get to know other people who are in the same field. No matter whether you are just starting in the field, or you are a ďseasonedĒ professional, everyone has something to give and get during the year.
Reasons to Try Something New
As your new chapter president, I am trying something new. I have never been the president of anything, but I thought it was time to give it a try. Choosing to be president has nothing to do with enjoying the feel of being able to boss people around, although my children might tell you otherwise. I took on the position for many reasons, and one of them is to expand my comfort zone. Itís fine doing only those activities that you feel comfortable doing, but it can be pretty boring and, with that boredom, you can start to lose the edge you need to stay passionate about what you do. The other thing is that if you donít keep advancing your skills and your experiences then you can be left behind ó both personally and professionally.
I also decided to try something new because I thought I had something to bring to the position. As someone who has been a technical communicator for over 20 years, I have had a variety of experiences that might prove useful to others who are just entering the field. I also enjoy finding new ways of doing things so that activities that have become routine can look fresh and new again. I am always open to suggestions, and I always welcome ideas and suggestions. Since we are taught to write in the active voice, as writers, we should be able to be active when it comes to recognizing good work and resolving any issues. Let people know when they have done something you like and, if you donít like something, you can comment on it, but make sure you are proactive and help come up with a solution.
For example, if have been thinking about submitting some documentation to our annual competition, why not help to find a Competition Manager, so that you can ensure that the competition can actually take place and you can see if you win an award?
Knowing the Thrill of Being a Technical Communicator
Since some people have contacted me about becoming a technical communicator, I thought I would include this last section. For those who are not new to the profession, this list should make you smile. The items listed are in no particular order.
Although we are not rednecks, there are definite signs when you should be a technical communicator. For example, you might be a technical communicator if:
I am more than optimistic about the new STC year, especially if you find the courage to try something new.
About Debbie Kerr (President)
In the 20 years that Debbie has been writing documentation, she has worked in a variety of industries: government, retail, software, and insurance. She is currently employed at The Economical Insurance Group in Kitchener writing design specifications. Debbie has been a member of the STC since 1994 and has held several council positions over the last three years.
In this issue:
Contents | President's Message | General Meeting Announcements | Council Meeting Minutes | Evolution of an Editor: From Quill to Quarry to Qantas | Director Sponsor's Message: The Seasons and the STC are a Changin' | Freelance 101: Chronicles for the Self-Employed | Council Spotlight: Student Awards & Volunteer Coordinator | Membership Update | Information Architecture and Content Management | View from the Other Side: What I Did on My Summer Holidays... | Launch of the STC Training Program