Thanks go to members for voting and to the Bylaws and Teller committee (Deborah Silvi, Deborah Long, Paul Mueller, Pat Bishop, and Jim Hunt) for their work.
March Program Meeting: “Survival Skills for the 21 st Century”
by Deborah Long, Technical Editor, BMC Software Business School
In case you have not noticed, the theme of this program year has been “survival of the fittest”—how to promote yourself in today's competitive job market. STC Houston's March meeting continued in this vein with guest speaker Tom Benwell, president and CEO of Argus Advisory Group, Inc. A business coach and survivor of many acquisitions and mergers, Tom gave us his perspective on the changing business environment that encompasses people, technology, and information. And, according to his first-hand observations, change is not slowing down?in fact, it is accelerating!
The state of constant change creates stress, which we must all learn how to deal with if we are to adjust in a healthy manner. This means “setting it aside” during the course of a day and taking vacations so that we do not break under the pressure. While we are at work, Tom advised that we play the game—whatever your corporation's game may be. First, figure out the rules, and then play by them if you want to succeed. It beats acting like a victim! The last thing you want to do is become mentally exhausted and disengaged from the workplace.
Tom went on to discuss the four major survival skills: courage, connections, creativity, and commitment. All things considered, each of us must ultimately take care of herself or himself, rather than depend on our companies to do so. This might amount to finding the right work and life balance, taking a lateral promotion, or pursuing some other measure to slow down the stress. Managing our emotions “intelligently” is yet another strategy when trying to accept difficult, often painful changes. Responding appropriately (logically) and picking the right battles are essential to keeping a positive attitude. Then again, it's OK to have a fierce conversation to show your passion about the values you hold dear. All the while, keep mutual trust and respect going.
Sound complicated? On a lighter note, Tom recommended the book “Bang!: Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World,” by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, to stimulate creativity. Enthusiasm is one of the emotions that we need to summon, remembering to have fun even in difficult situations. And finally, give 100% to your commitments to achieve the satisfaction of being the best at whatever you do.
Now that we have an awareness of some helpful tools, we just have to make a survival plan and stick to it! To find out more about Argus Advisory Group, go to www.argus-advisory-group.com.
In September 2004, Leslie moved to Houston from Austin, where she was employed as Sr. Technical Writer for the National Job Corps Data Center. At Job Corps, Leslie created online help files, user manuals, and PowerPoint presentations for national employees. Before employment with Job Corps, she worked for Hillcast Technologies, also in Austin, TX, as a technical writer.
She is currently employed in the non-profit sector with SEARCH, a resource center that provides job training and career development for Houston's homeless. She develops marketing materials and grants, and works with donor relations and the database software. Leslie wears many hats and loves the variety of work that she does.
Blake has been a tech writer for two years. He graduated from Louisiana State University in 2003 with a B.A. in English. He works for APPRO Systems, Inc., a producer of loan origination software, in Baton Rouge, LA. He creates online help, marketing and corporate communications materials, instructional materials (printed and online), and does requirements design.
Erika, a student member of STC, is a graduate student at the University of St. Thomas, working on a master's degree in communications. Her bachelor's degree is in English from Texas A&M. She would like to explore career opportunities in technical writing in engineering or oil and gas, and will be completing a medical writing internship in at the end of April.
Before attending school in College Station, she grew up in the one-stop-light town of Cotulla, TX. She has lived in Houston for a little over a year and is looking forward to meeting everyone in the Houston chapter and learning the best steps to a career in technical communications.
Kim lives in Seattle, WA, but plans to move to Houston in the near future. For the past year, she has worked at Seattle Central Community College as a grant writer and project manager. She has a BA in English from Spelman College (Atlanta, GA) and an MS in Technical Communication from the University of Washington (Seattle, WA).
Kim is interested in web content writing/editing, web design, instructional design, project management, and fundraising.
Amber has been in the technical communication industry for as long as she's had her current job, which will be one year on April 26. She graduated from Louisiana State University in ISDS (Information Systems and Decision Sciences) in June 2003. She says that her studies prepared her for work in the technical industry, but she never thought she would be writing about it for a living. But when she saw the opening for the position, she couldn't pass it up.
Like Blake Bourquad, Amber is a technical writer for APPRO Systems, Inc., in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Amy is a graduate student in the University of Houston-Downtown's Master of Science in Professional Writing and Technical Communication program. She hopes to graduate in May, 2006.
Before entering school, she worked in the social service sector supporting people with disabilities and their families. She hopes to return to work in this sector with a new skill set after graduation.
New Senior Members
by Cindy Pao, Information Developer, BMC Software, Inc.
According to the STC bylaws, the grade of senior member is conferred upon those who have held the grade of member for five consecutive years. The following STC Houston members have recently achieved senior member status:
Congratulations on this achievement!