Volume 42, Issue 2

October 2002


Features

Being Prepared in an Uncertain Job Market

by Jeff Staples, Information Developer, BindView Development

Earlier this year, I was laid off when my company had another round of staff reductions.  Fortunately, three weeks to the day, I was able to accept another position. This article conveys my thoughts on my job search, and I hope it provides insights helpful to you, should you find yourself in a similar situation because of the uncertain job market.

Hindsight versus Foresight

The layoff came as a surprise to me, because I was one of the ones laid off. However, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Anyone is a possible layoff candidate, and we employees knew that something was coming. Yet knowing that, I did nothing to prepare, should I be let go. Or didn’t I?

Taking Precautions

My resume and portfolio were not updated. I had not kept up-to-date with the job market, other than what I heard from others or read in the newspaper, which was generally bleak news. However, I have cultivated a large network of contacts over the years. So, I could congratulate myself on some preparation: maintaining my network of contacts.

Day One and Beyond

The day after the layoff, I set up a personal e-mail account and began contacting everyone I knew, both personally and professionally. Over the next few weeks, that formed my workday: sending e-mail messages to contacts and responding to job postings, and then replying to responses I received. It might not sound like much, but it can easily fill your time. I kept the same schedule as when I was employed, but my work and focus were on finding a job.

Connection Waiting to Happen

You never know where the right connection might come from. I learned about STC in late ’92, when I was out of a job after my employer closed the office. I mentioned STC to my neighbor, and she knew of it through a relative. She gave me the person’s name and said to mention that she was my neighbor. A couple of months later, I met the relative at an STC meeting and she put me in touch with a contact that would eventually give me my first tech writing job.

Contacts Come Through

My current employment came about by trying to forward a lead to someone else. In the process, I got the e-mail address of a former coworker that I had forgotten about. I sent her a message to touch base. She requested my resume, and submitted it to HR at her company. The company wasn’t hiring at that time, but my resume was on the desk of the HR representative when a position suddenly became available.

Search Tips

From this recent experience, I learned to

  • Create a personal e-mail account. You can get one for free. (After you are employed, consider using this account for all of your personal email. It will help keep personal items out of the company’s e-mail system.)
  • Tell everyone you know about your availability. You never know who can make the right connection for you, or you for them.
  • Create a spreadsheet with your contacts’ information and record when you contact them, whether you attached a resume, and whether they made any response.
  • Visit online job services such as Hotjobs on Yahoo. You can post your resume there, search their job database, and get useful information, such as tips on phone interviews.  And update your resume weekly. Update notices are sent to all agencies and firms each time you update your resume.
  • Maintain your work schedule. Having a routine helps you maintain your focus, confidence, and a positive attitude.
  • Attend job networking activities frequently, such as professional meetings. I learned of job network ministries operated by various churches. One contact mentioned that she attended a weekly meeting where she usually got good leads and good support.

Before You Get Escorted Out

In the past, I focused on a job search only when I needed a job. Now, I have learned to keep my job search current by keeping up with the job market and keeping my resume and portfolio up to date. Also, I try to be a contact for others. As I find job leads that are not right for me, I try to send them to others in my network.

In today’s economy, who knows when you might find yourself in the unemployed pool. When you are the last one hired, it’s hard not to wonder if you will be the first one fired. You can reassure yourself that if you are let go, you have made preparations to soften the impact.

Jeff develops print and online documentation for a local software company and serves as managing editor of the STC Quality SIG newsletter, Doc-Qment.

Best $5 Deal Around

By Lori Buffum, Senior Marketing Coordinator, Carter & Burgess Houston

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are composed of STC members with common experiences and interests who share their skills and knowledge with each other and with other STC members. Most SIGs host web sites, many publish newsletters, and several sponsor e-mail discussion forums. For an extra $5, STC members can join a SIG and benefit from some of the best networking around. Which SIG should you choose? How can you join one? Take a look at the summaries we’ve provided, then visit www.stc.org/sig_info.html.

Canadian Issues

This SIG fosters communication among Canadian members of STC to allow them to exchange information and to discuss issues within STC that are of particular concern to Canadian

members or that arise by reason of political, socioeconomic, and geographical constraints because the members reside in Canada.

www.stcsig.org/canadian/index.html

Consulting and Independent Contracting

This SIG serves as a focal point for information about practicing technical communication as an independent consultant. The SIG helps new and seasoned consultants alike to practice their trade more effectively. Activities include publishing The Independent Perspective, surveying members on business practices, and conducting seminars and workshops.

www.stcsig.org/cic/index.html

Education and Research

This SIG provides a link between technical communication practitioners and educators. Much research exists to justify the interest in developing effective user guides and manuals, and much more needs to be done. Activities include publishing Link, operating a dissertation/thesis database, and developing research-related articles.

www.stcsig.org/er/index.htm

Emerging Technologies

This SIG monitors the ever-expanding uses of technology in technical communication. New tools such as hypermedia, online editing, and multimedia systems are changing the way technical communicators work.

www.stcsig.org/et/index.html

Environmental, Safety, and Health Communication

This SIG allows technical communicators to stay current on developments in this growing area of the profession. Activities include publishing ES&H News, reaching out to members of related professional organizations, compiling and publishing lists of related courses and curricula, and

developing an anthology of relevant articles.

www.stcsig.org/esh/index.html

Illustrators and Visual Designers

This SIG assists technical communicators involved in the production of illustrations, video, multimedia, and other visual forms of technical communication. The SIG provides opportunities to network, practice skills, and learn new tools.

www.stc.org/SIGs/illustrators.html

Indexing

This SIG enhances members’ analytical skills, promotes quality and usability concepts, encourages retrievability techniques that increase customer satisfaction, and promotes communication between members and the indexing community. The SIG gives members access to information and resources to help them improve indexing skills and the usability of products.

www.stcsig.org/idx/index.html

Information Design

This SIG assists members interested in acquiring the necessary skills to practice information design. Activities include publishing Design Matters, encouraging and making available information design research findings, success stories, and educational programs.

www.stcsig.org/id/index.html

Instructional Design and Learning

This SIG helps members design, develop, and implement technical instruction in electronic and classroom settings. The SIG promotes sound design practices and educates members about instructional theory, research, and tools. It provides resources to members interested in the intersection of technical communication and instructional design.

www.stcsig.org/idl/

International Technical Communication

This SIG helps members exchange information and learn more about how to communicate technical information to worldwide audiences effectively. It serves its members by exchanging information about globalization and localization projects, international standards, and the development of product information for international audiences.

www.stcsig.org/itc/index.htm

Lone Writer

This SIG provides an avenue of professional education, monitoring, and support to writers who are the sole technical writers for their organizations, particularly those that lack inhouse resources and assistance on issues concerning their profession.

www.stcsig.org/lw/default.html

Management

This SIG works to inform publication managers of trends and issues related to managing publications projects, educate them in practices that will result in high-quality technical materials, and provide a forum for the exchange of management information. Activities include publishing Management, offering information to current and aspiring publication managers, and presenting conference sessions.

www.stcsig.org/mgt/index.html

Marketing Communication

This SIG is designed to help its members network, exchange information, and receive education on marketing and public relations writing for technical products. Activities include publishing Impact!, sharing information and techniques, conducting member surveys, and presenting sessions at conferences.

www.stcsig.org/mc/index.html

Online Information

This SIG provides opportunities for members to exchange information about online help and documentation development and encourages them to participate in Society programs related to online development. Activities include publishing HyperViews, presenting conference sessions, and promoting participation in the STC International Online Communication Competition.

www.stcsig.org/oi/www.html

Policies and Procedures

This SIG assists members in developing, implementing, and managing policies and procedures related to communication through education and networking opportunities and interaction with other related professional organizations. Activities include publishing Steps & Specs, presenting conference sessions, and developing articles.

www.stcsig.org/pp/index.htm

Quality

This SIG provides a focus for members concerned with enhancing the overall quality of technical communication. Organized to establish a dynamic resource to discuss and apply the various aspects of quality to our work as technical communicators.

www.stcsig.org/quality/index.html

Scientific Communication

This SIG provides a forum in which members can exchange information about publications and presentations related to science or scientific research for a variety of audiences. Activities include publishing The Exchange, promoting sessions on scientific communication, and developing articles.

www.stc.org/SIGs/scientific.html

Single Sourcing

This SIG helps STC members develop knowledge and practical skills for researching, developing, and implementing single-sourcing solutions. The SIG provides information on the following topics: information models, cost justification, tools, XML, strategic planning, collaborative authoring, structured writing, and low-cost single-sourcing alternatives.

www.stcsig.org/ss/index.htm

Special Needs

By researching and publishing information about products, services, and literature, this SIG assists technical communicators with disabilities in their career activities and assists all technical communicators in developing products that are fully accessible to users with disabilities. Activities include publishing Achieve!, maintaining a discussion list, and conducting a chapter-level outreach initiative.

www.stcsig.org/sn/index.shtml

Technical Editing

This SIG provides opportunities for members to expand their editing and proofreading expertise by serving as a forum for information exchange, professional support, and interaction among the SIG, STC, and the editing community at large. Activities include publishing Corrigo, sponsoring a very active listserv, and maintaining a web site.

www.stcsig.org/te/index.asp

Usability

This SIG focuses on issues related to the usability and usability assessment of technical communication, providing a forum in which members can share information and experience. Activities include planning and conducting presentations on usability and usability testing and compiling a bibliography of usability-related books and articles.

www.stcsig.org/usability/index.html

In the Next Issue

Stay tuned next month for testimonials on the benefits of SIG membership.

Technical Writing as a Second Career
Life Begins at 60

by Cathy Bettoney, Technical Writer, Millar Instruments, Inc.

What kept me in the public school classroom (teaching geometry) for so long was not love of education but lack of a viable alternative.  So my career change had to await my retirement from public education at the earliest moment I could do so without financial penalties.

I can’t remember now how I happened to read Peter Kent’s Making Money in Technical Writing, but that was the catalyst. This was something I felt I could do. Other than what information I could glean from this book, I knew nothing about the field. I did know how to change jobs.

First, I did some networking. My older daughter was at the time an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley and fairly high up in her company. I asked her to give me an e-mail introduction to her technical writing department, which she did. I then corresponded with one of the writers, who told me that it would be a good idea to have a technical writing certificate, since many more writers were beginning to enter the field and this would give me instant credentials.

Second, I joined STC and began attending the local chapter meetings in Houston. Being an experienced employee, I knew the value of belonging to a professional organization. STC was very helpful in getting me oriented to what technical writers do and what skills are needed.

Third, I investigated technical writing certificate courses. Houston Community College had a two-year program that seemed just what I needed. As I told my teaching colleagues, I didn’t need degrees—I had degrees—what I needed was knowledge! Secure in my choice and my minuscule pension, I enrolled.

Then came the revelation: technical writing nowadays requires computer skills! Heavy-duty computer skills! I felt as though I were drinking not from the fountain of learning but from the fire hose. Four semesters later, mentally bruised but still standing, certificate in hand, I applied for jobs.

I was advised that finding a job would take at least three months. It was nearly that long before Kitba Consulting hired me. I enjoyed the job and then had that priceless treasure: experience! Six weeks later, when the project I was working on ended, came a call from an employment agency asking if I knew someone who needed a job. Yes, I did; I was available. Great, they replied, because you were the one we wanted anyway.

So, last June I began work at Millar Instruments, Inc. to write government grants for their research and development efforts. The job has expanded to include a number of typical technical writing tasks, such as research and proofreading, and many non-typical ones, drawing on my lifetime of experience in the workforce and breadth of knowledge. It’s great. It’s so much better than teaching.

Thank you, my colleagues in STC Houston, Kitba Consulting, and Millar Instruments! And to those who hesitate to start over at an advanced age, I say go for it!

 
Regular Features

Volunteer of the Month - Lori Buffum

by Paul Mueller, Sr. Information Development Manager, NetIQ Corporation

Lori Buffum is the STC Houston October 2002 Volunteer of the Month for her work with the Programs committee to help prepare for an exciting year of events. Lori is the energizer bunny of contributions to STC Houston. She keeps going and going, finding new ways to make us successful. When she heard of the opportunities on the Programs committee, she quickly contacted Cindy Pao to volunteer.

Lori is active at all the committee meetings, in constant contact through e-mail to fine tune the details, and manages to take on more tasks than we could imagine. Her efforts made our September meeting a huge success. She has also worked very hard to ensure the success of the December trip to the Symphony. Her work on the flier and her coordination of the details will help everyone who attends have a wonderful evening.

Lori has been very active as a member of STC Houston. Last year, she helped both with the Awards Banquet and with the Region 5 conference. She was part of the Publications committee that received the Award of Excellence for their outstanding work on the conference.

Lori worked closely with other committee members and our printers to deliver a top-quality pre-conference booklet, conference program, and professional conference signs. When I spoke with other members about Lori, one member had the following to say: "Lori is always willing to go the extra mile to do something for you and she does it with a genuine smile on her face. She is the kind of volunteer that makes the job easy and fun."

Lori has been a technical communicator for more than 20 years and has been a member of STC in several other chapters. She also refers to herself as a hard core technical communicator. Lori is currently a Senior Marketing Coordinator at Carter & Burgess.

STC Houston is pleased to honor Lori Buffum as October 2002 Volunteer of the Month.

Would you like to be a volunteer? See the "Help Wanted" list.

Letter from Linda
Catching Up and Moving Forward

by Linda Oestreich, Director-Sponsor, Region 5

Dearest Region 5 colleagues,

This is the first “Letter from Linda” of many.

Well, after the flurry of activities last May when I assumed the role of your director-sponsor, I spent a summer learning just what it was that I was supposed to do. The learning continues.

I visited the Phoenix chapter to help them honor their annual award winners (June) and I visited the Austin chapter, where I helped with a leadership workshop (July). Both trips were fun and interesting.

I have to admit, though, that flying to Phoenix was less harrowing than driving to Austin. My automatic transmission went on the lam during my drive up there. And to top it off, so did my cell phone! I’m pleased to say that my phone, my car, and my chapters are doing quite well. Suzanna had taken care of all of you so well, my biggest concern is making sure you don’t experience withdrawal from her TLC!

So, what’s coming up? An STC board meeting in Boston at the end of September, followed by the Region 5 Conference in Oklahoma City (October 3 – 6). This conference promises to be one of great learning, fun, and excitement. The folks in OK City have really stepped on the gas to ensure that this conference will offer just what you need just when you need it. The “Mother Road” backdrop gives us a sense of American history that will be fun to explore, and the “Geared for Success” presentations will enrich us in our work and in our professional development.

If you’re still up for a good time, stick around until Sunday morning and attend the leadership workshop. It’s free, and I promise it will be fun. Thea Teich, the Society’s first vice president.; Judy Glick-Smith, the Society’s immediate past president; and I will be leading this workshop. You can be sure it will give you some new ideas and an occasional chance to laugh—be there and be part of the fun! I have a trip to the Tucson chapter planned for November, and I have presentations scheduled for the Lone Star chapter and the Alamo chapter in early 2003.

I’ve spoken with our newest chapters to the region, those in Utah (Intermountain, Utah State, and Brigham Young), and I’m hoping to visit them in late Spring. (I’ve lived most of my life in warm climates. I think I’d better wait for their snow to melt before I visit!)

For all of you who are struggling with membership, don’t feel alone. The struggle is happening throughout the Society. The Board of Directors is looking at ways to help the chapters, and, in turn, the Society. I know that many of you have wonderful ideas that have been working. Feel free to send them to me or to the STC office at membership@stc.org. Your ideas will be gathered and made available to other chapters in the coming months. We’re all in this together. STC has a proud record of pulling together in hard times. So, grab hold of the rope and pull!

Blessings to you all!

From the President
A Time for Planning

by George Slaughter, Information Developer, BMC Software

As you know, STC Houston wants your input as it creates a blueprint for serving you and our community with continued success. This month we’d like to tell you about our planning process so you know what to expect as we plan for the future.

Survey

In the near future you will be invited to complete our chapter survey. Results from this anonymous survey will provide some important information, ranging from salaries to demographic information. As you know, each year STC conducts a salary survey, the results of which are posted to the STC web site (www.stc.org/salary.html). One goal of our chapter survey is to localize that information to the Greater Houston area. This is the first time in recent memory that we have conducted such a survey at the local level. Your feedback will give STC Houston a much better idea of who its members are.

Seminar

On Saturday, October 19, we welcome former Society President Judy Glick-Smith back to Houston to lead us in a strategic planning session. Judy, with Region 5 Director-Sponsor Linda Oestreich, will talk about goal setting and lead us in some exercises that will help you and the chapter visualize a brighter future. We’ve not had such a planning session in some years, and it promises to be a lot of fun. Many of you have told me how you think things ought to be in STC Houston. Consider this your personal invitation to show up and speak up.

Planning

The English poet and author William Ernest Henley once said that, “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” Setting goals helps you—and STC Houston—prioritize what’s important and master that fate. These next few months offer you and the chapter a chance to create a blueprint for success. Come join us!

From the Editor
Editors’ Pet Peeves or Peevish Editors?

by Rebecca Taylor, Product Marketing Analyst, Hewlett-Packard

I lurk on the electronic discussion list for the STC Technical Editing SIG, and I witnessed the recent online brawl, or “discussion,” about editors’ pet peeves. It reminded me of a trip I took with my STC student chapter in February 1998 to the Region 5 conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Five of us, all utterly unique and outspoken individuals from very different walks of life, piled into my tiny Honda Civic and drove the 13+ hours from Socorro, NM, to Fort Worth. I was skeptical that we’d make it in one piece. No, I did not doubt the sturdiness of my car or the driving abilities of my copilots. I was worried we would tear each other apart!

As you can imagine, being cooped up in a small space for so long, we started fishing for conversation topics. Every once in a while, we’d stop to switch seats so the ones in back could take turns sitting on the hump in the seat. We’d pile back in and carry on our animated dialogue for another couple hundred miles. I was pleasantly surprised that ¾ of the trip had passed without a hitch, vehicular or otherwise. We talked about religion, politics, relationships, professors, classes, and anything else that popped to mind without skipping a beat or raising a voice.

Then, to my dismay, we had our first argument. The first raised voices were heard, and opinions were dismissed out of hand. Had we stumbled upon a controversial legislative ruling? A sensitive political issue? Nope. We had decided to debate the use of serif versus sans serif fonts in online headings. Oh, did we riot! Eventually, for the sake of our sanity while completing our journey, we agreed to disagree and drop the subject in favor of less stirring topics such as parental rights, drinking ages, and war versus peace.

Who said editors weren’t passionate people?

 
News

October Program Meeting
Let’s Stop Writing Documentation and Start Working for the Users

JoAnn Hackos, President of Comtech Services, Inc., talks about changing the way we write for our users.

The shift to task-oriented documentation began at about the time the PC was introduced. Writers developing processes and teaching them to the rapidly growing group of technical communicators linked task-oriented information with the concept of “getting closer to the development life cycle.” They urged new writers in the computer industry and in other fields to focus on users’ tasks at the same time they worked to become fully integrated into the development process.

For 20 years, JoAnn and others have been urging technical communicators to get closer to the developers and to write task-oriented documentation. However, now she believes we must stop writing documentation as we know it, abandon the developers and their need to explain how everything works, and go to work for the users.

Please join us for this meeting, where you will have an opportunity to meet JoAnn, buy her latest book, and ask her to sign it! Send your questions to Cindy Pao at cindypao@earthlink.net.

Place:

Hilton Houston Westchase and Towers
9999 Westheimer Road

Date:

Tuesday, September 10

Time:

5:30 p.m. networking (hors d’oeuvres)
6:20 p.m. announcements
6:30 p.m. program

Tables:

This month ten of STC’s SIGs will be represented at the tables.

Cost:

$10 (members)
$13 (nonmembers)
$3 (student and unemployed members)
$6 (student non-members)

Drawing:

A drawing for various prizes is held at the end of each general meeting. Proceeds benefit the Marx Isaacs Student Scholarship Fund.


CIC-SIG: We’re Here to Help

by Kim Lee Shaw, Principal Owner, Words & Graphics, Inc.

If you work independently, the Consultants and Independent Contractors Special Interest Group

(CIC-SIG) can be great resource for you. The CIC-SIG is a group of STC Houston members who work on a freelance basis. Membership is free and open to any Houston-based STC member available for hiring as a consultant or contractor.

The SIG offers support, networking opportunities, and contract leads to members. And, the more members get involved, the better the CIC-SIG can serve us all. If you’re a freelancer and you’re not already a SIG member, please consider joining. You can find membership instructions on our Web page at www.stc-houston.org/~cicsig/.

If you are a CIC-SIG member, here are a few ideas for increasing your participation and the getting more benefits from your membership:

  • Participate on the mailing list. If you have a question, a tip to share, or a job lead … or if you need professional commiseration, a group of peers is just a few clicks away in cyberspace. Over the years, we’ve helped each other with technical issues, client relations problems, insurance questions, and job opportunities—just to name a few topics. To post to the list, send your message to houcic-l@lists.stc.org.
  • Update your personal information on the CIC list. The CIC-SIG web site includes a searchable database of information on members, available to prospective clients seeking contractors and consultants.

    If you haven’t revised your listing recently—or if you don’t have a listing—log on to the online application form at www.stchouston.org/~cicsig/appform.htm.
  • Talk to the CIC-SIG chairs. Kim Shaw and Vince Yokom want to hear from you! In recent months, many members have expressed interest in re-establishing our meetings and perhaps having monthly lunch get-togethers. If you have ideas for meetings or other activities, or if you can help with organizing CIC-SIG activities, please get in touch with Kim (klshaw@worldnet.att.net) or Vince (vyokom@instrux.com).

Judging Workshop and Entry Distribution

The Judging Workshop for the Houston Chapter 2002 Competitions will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 19th, at the Westchase Hilton and Towers, 9999 Westheimer. If you have agreed to be a judge, please attend and become familiar with the guidelines for judging communication and art entries. The workshop leader will be Nicole Wycislo. During the workshop you will also pick up entries from the Atlanta Chapter and judging packets, including evaluation forms and award summaries.

Also, remember, we ’re still in need of judges. If you’re not a judge but would like to be, please contact the following competition managers:

If you have any questions, please contact Deborah Crockett at 281-514-4641 or at deborah.crockett@hp.com.


STC Employment Committee

by Gary Foster, Senior Technical Writer, Weatherford CiDRA

The Houston Chapter Employment Committee was created to help members find employment and advance their careers in technical communication. If you are one of these people, we are here to help.

Prior to each membership meeting (the second Tuesday of each month), we sponsor a get-together for people looking for employment. The get-together starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 6:30. We discuss what works well in interviews, give advice on resumes, and discuss the job market for the Houston and surrounding areas.

Our STC Employment web site is second to none. On the web site, you can see who’s looking for staff and who’s looking for work. We designed the web site so it is easy to post job openings and also post your particulars when looking for work. We have been fortunate this last year to have averaged at least two job postings per week.

January 11, 2003, has been reserved at the Westchase Hilton for the second annual Employment Share The Knowledge (STK) Seminar from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. As the time approaches and details become finalized, I will post more information. Even if you are not looking for employment at this time, visit our web site just to see what the job market is doing. My goal is to inform companies that when they need a technical communicator, they call one place—the STC.


From the Members

Editor’s Note: Your chapter leaders depend on your feedback to structure our program year and track member satisfaction. We recognize that your feedback is also a report card on the chapter’s direction and activity, so we’d like to share some of the program evaluation comments from our September 2002 program meeting. Keep in mind that your program evaluation comments are confidential, so we have not included names in this column.

What is the most valuable thing you gained from this presentation?

  • A sense of historical perspective
  • Learned the history
  • Historical info
  • More of a sense of history of tech writing
  • More knowledge re: STC history
  • Learned about history of STC
  • Perspective on the Chapter and Society
  • History of STC
  • Tech comm. history
  • Enjoyment of seeing good turnout
  • Insight to the STC organization
  • Knowledge
  • History
  • Insight to STC
  • How much fun STC is
  • History – we’re a profession poised for recognition
  • Laughter

What topics/speakers do you recommend for future presentations?

  • I liked having a motivational speaker and career coach in times past and would welcome such programs again.
  • Employment/salary
  • Future endeavors as TCs

Please send your letters to the editor through our web form at www.stchouston.org/contacteditor.htm, or send them directly to rebecca.taylor@hp.com.

STC News

New Members Save on Dues

As part of its annual fall membership drive, STC offers a special discount to new members who join the Society on or after October 1, 2002. For the regular member rate of $140 ($125 for dues plus a one-time $15 enrollment fee), new members will be credited with dues paid for the remainder of 2002 and for calendar year 2003. That’s fifteen months of Society membership for the price of twelve.

Among the benefits of Society membership are subscriptions to Intercom, the Society’s monthly magazine, published ten times a year, and to Technical communication, the Society’s quarterly journal. These periodicals contain essential articles on the theory and practice of technical communication.

Other membership benefits include discounts on STC’s annual conference, the largest gathering of technical communicators in the world; eligibility for association group rate insurance; and access to STC special interest groups. For more information about these and other benefits, visit the STC web site at www.stc.org.

Please pass this article to a prospective member. To join STC, prospective members can fill out an electronic form or download a membership application at www.stc.org. If you prefer to have a membership application mailed to you, you can request one from the STC office at the following address:

Society for Technical Communication
901 North Stuart Street, Suite 904
Arlington, VA 22203-1822
703-522-4114
stc@stc.org

Announcements

Name Change

The Texas A&M Student Chapter has changed its name to the College Station Student Chapter.

Salary Survey Moves Online

This year, the STC annual technical communicator salary survey, which in the past has been mailed as an insert to the September/October issue of Intercom, will be available exclusively from the STC web site, www.stc.org.

STC Specialty Gifts

STC Specialty Gifts are a great way to show appreciation to Society members or professional colleagues while spreading the STC name. Specialty gifts make terrific giveaways for chapter  meeting, conferences, and special events. http://www.stc.org/specialty_gifts.html

STC Specialty Gifts

STC Specialty Gifts are a great way to show appreciation to Society members or professional colleagues while spreading the STC name. Specialty gifts make terrific giveaways for chapter meeting, conferences, and special events. www.stc.org/specialty_gifts.html

STC Mission Statement

The mission of the Society for Technical Communication is to improve the quality and effectiveness of technical communication for audiences worldwide.


Educational Opportunities

STC Telephone Seminars

A telephone seminar is much like a large conference call in which the speaker makes a  presentation over the phone. As a participant you simply dial the 800 number from your phone, enter your personal identification number, and you’re connected! Then sit back and listen to the presentations, and join in the lively Q&A discussion that follows.

Benefits

  • no travel time
  • pay per site, not per person
  • train all your people without their leaving the office

Cost

  • U.S. sites: $145
  • Canadian sites: $160
  • Overseas sites: Please contact the STC office

With a telephone seminar, the cost is per site, not per person. An additional $10 will be charged for registrations received less than five days before the seminar.

Upcoming Seminars

  • November 7, 2002, Constance Billé: Getting Into Instructional Design
  • November 19, 2002, Whitney Quesenbery: Looking, Finding, Searching…How Users Do It

All seminars listed above take place from 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. More information and registration is available online at www.stc.org/seminars.html.

Local Technical Communication Programs

The following Houston-area institutions offer technical communication or writing programs:

  • Houston Baptist University
  • Houston Community College–Southwest Campus
  • niversity of Houston
  • University of Houston–Downtown

Networking Opportunities

If you have a networking opportunity to share, please tell us! Go to www.stc-houston.org/contacteditor.htm.