Help Me Enhance the Technical Communication Profession
by Nathaniel Lim, Candidate for Nominating Committee
When you tell your friends and family that you are a technical writer, what is their reaction? To me, they say that it sounds like an important job and probably isn’t easy. When I tell them I write online help as part of my job, they often tell me that Help does not help. Unfortunately, this is sad but true. People get frustrated when they read poorly written documents and cannot find the information they need.
This is why I am running for STC Nominating Committee. I want to make a difference. From here, I could tell you my interesting biography, awards I’ve received, impressive accomplishments, extensive work history, decision-making process, and reasons for running. But, that is all in my candidate statement on the STC website. Here is the stuff I could not include:
Reliable: I strongly believe in accountability and follow through. If I say I will do something, I make sure it gets done (or tell people early enough in the process if I cannot do it, so we can go to plan B). I also believe in following directions and meeting deadlines. At the same time, if I don’t understand the process or don’t believe that the rule applies, I will ask questions until I am satisfied that this is the best way to go about it.
Critical Thinker: When I was a lead judge for the STC international tech pubs competition, a new procedure came into effect that required writing at least 24 comments on the judging form. Thinking that this would be too numerous, I inquired to find that this was not a hard and fast rule. The spirit of the procedure was to ensure that submitters received sufficient written comments and not just numbered ratings. Thus, I wrote critiques to help the submitters, not always conforming to the rule.
Innovator: My company recently started translating documents into several foreign languages. My manager gave me the task of creating a new procedure for labeling them, putting them through the approval process, and posting them on our website for customers to download. Tracking and classifying over a hundred documents with different versions and languages could potentially fall into disarray. I was careful to think things through before taking action. I asked appropriate personnel for their input and drafted a formal procedure. Management approved. Although the procedure continues to get revised even to this day, I am proud that I was part of the first effort to formalize it.
You can also get to know me at LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathaniellim) and Facebook (search nathaniel lim impac).
Starting March 9, please take a minute to cast your vote for Nathaniel Lim. I would be grateful for your vote for Nominating Committee.