Do your magic!Charles R. Crawley
By title at the avionics company where I work, I am a technical writer, but by function I am really a technical editor. And the engineers at my company often see me as a magician. They bring documents to me and ask me to do my magic on them.
Based on a posting on our Wiki, “Understanding the Value of a Technical Editor”, I would like to point out a few indicators about our worth and magical appeal.
First, my company is getting its money’s worth. I don’t know how the economic recession is affecting you, but it’s about to make my hands fall off. In less than half a year, the other technical writer and I have produced almost as many pages as we did IN THE ENTIRE LAST YEAR (emphasis added). Working harder (albeit, smarter) seems to be our alternative to hiring another writer.
Second, we are the masters of the documentation system that controls our documents. While I never intended to be a database administrator, it is in fact what I have become. We understand and control (to a certain extent) the review cycle better than anyone else. Engineers and managers always come to us to find out where something is “stuck.”
Third, we provide a level of quality control that is easily lost when non-writers take over the process. Inevitably, we fight over control of the Word documents (source files) and insist that engineers review Adobe Acrobat files, which are copies of the Word files. Whenever we lose control of this process, documents invariably get messed up in one way (writing) or another (formatting).
While I am thankful to still have a job, I am not happy with the amount of work we do because it has lead to a loss of focus on the actual writing. But I know that we contribute to the financial bottom line of our company. And I know that without our documents, equipment will not get certified, planes will not fly, and people will be even more unhappy with the airline system than they already are.
Also see, Understanding the Value of a Technical Editor.