Posts Tagged 'Jobs'

What is at Stake in Social Networking? Your Job.

A decade ago, I lost my job at a company I had been at for a number of years because of a questionable post I made online that indicated I had not so friendly feelings for “the ole boss lady.”

Back in 2007, a couple of reporters from The Columbus Dispatch surveyed a number of Ohio teacher’s profiles and also provided snippets of their posts and descriptions.  In a side bar, they also recounted the tale of 4 teachers who had been “reprimanded, resigned, or lost their licenses because of email, IM, chat, online gaming, text, blogs or postings involving students” (Maranto and Baron 36-37).

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board reviewed 129 cases involving social media in someway, where they have found that the crux of the legal issue resulted with an employer unlawfully discharging or reprimanding an employee on the grounds of social networking misuse.

Here are the two links to the archived articles from The Columbus Dispatch and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Survey:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2007/11/10/Bad_Web.ART_ART_11-10-07_A1_DV8E9RN.html

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, A Survey of Social Media Issues Before the NLRB:

http://www.uschamber.com/reports/survey-social-media- issues-nlrb

Consider also that a year ago, while I was working for a background screening company, I learned it was not uncommon for human resource managers to search the web for additional background information on potential candidates.  They were trying to discover what their extracurricular activities included: the results ran the gamut, from drunken sprees and skinny dipping to squeaky clean photos at fund raising events or weddings.

So what is at stake in social networking?  The quick answer is obviously reputation.  Another answer?  Your job.

My company chose to terminate my employment because of the potential readers in my network, citing that it would reflect poorly on them to have someone like me on their payroll.  Someone like me?  Who exactly am I to them?  A dissident?  A slacker?  Possibly.  The possible interpretation by others was a very real threat and potentially damaging to their reputation as an employer.  Thanks to my ruminations on “the ole boss lady,” I wrote my way to the unemployment office.

Two things were happening here: 1) My virtual identity was no longer a free agent and 2) the information on my chosen social networking site was no longer just an update among friends.  It was public domain and my employer was monitoring the site.

That revelation seems so obvious.  So why do people continue to risk their reputation by posting questionable or inappropriate material?  There is no easy or fast answer – people make mistakes, but I suggest the very structure of the site we find ourselves on influences our attitudes about the things we post.  When we sign up for Facebook, it asks a host of categorical questions in order to network you to others like you.  What music do you like?  What books do you read?  Where do you live?  All of these personal questions, lull the applicant into forgetting that this site is public, public, public – but once you have 200 plus friends, who can remember if their old boss or coworker is a “friend?”

What all of this boils down to is intention.  Did I intend to mar the corporate image of my company and disrespect my boss or did I intend to sound cool to my friends?  As a student, as a teacher, as a technical communicator, it is important to keep in mind your purpose and your audience– just as you would when you are speaking or writing at school, in the classroom as a teacher, or at work in a corporate environment.  What’s critical here is not only your self image displayed online, but also the many social spheres your image is tied to.  For instance, many corporations now have social media policy that asks you to be yourself, but to be mindful that you are also a company representative.

As a teacher, the online world can be perilous.  On one hand, networking with students can be a fantastic opportunity to become a virtual representative of and for the interactive classroom.  On the other, it could simultaneously undercut ethos and authority, opening the possibility of seeing students as “friends.”  The online world may behave differently, with its fast moving bits and clips, but the reputation you build for yourself through dialogue is the same – keep it clean, positive, and professional – and your social network won’t get you into trouble.  Post like your mom is reading every word you type.

On the flip-side, even if you do have a horrible interview because human resources found some pictures of you doing a keg stand in college, there’s probably still a friend on Facebook that can help you find a lead elsewhere.

Want a refresher?  Check out this Toshiba sponsored YouTube clip for Do’s and Don’ts of social networking.

Rachel C.

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Journalism, Tech Comm, and the Skills in Between

As a broadcast news major in undergrad, I never thought I’d be in a technical communication program. But if there’s one thing you learn about Huntsville, Alabama: The technology field is a major industry here in the Rocket City, and the more technical skills you possess, the more marketable you are in this town. But with a degree in broadcast journalism, the most I knew about technical communication was how to communicate and operate a video camera….Or so I thought. But as a technical communication student, I’m learning that I have more skills that translate to technical communication than I thought.

If you too are a journalist attempting to break into the field, identify what skills you possess, and how to apply them to technical communication. Here are some overlapping skills that both journalists and technical communicators have, according to a blog post by Scott Nesbitt entitled: “Tech Writing and Journalism: Yes, There are Parallels” on the DMN Communications blog.

Writing.

writing

According Nesbitt, “Writing is a key factor in technical communication and journalism. You don’t need to be a great stylist to be an effective technical writer or journalist, though. You need to be able to write clearly and write tightly.”

Basically, write concisely. If you’re an editorial journalist who writes for print media, this may be a little bit of an adjustment. But if you’ve ever written for television news, this is right up your alley. Use the simplest form of words to make your audience understand. Assume that no one knows what you are talking about unless you explain it to them because in most cases, they really won’t understand.

Interviewing.

interviewing

This is a skill you probably didn’t even know you would need as a technical communicator. But interviewing can play a just as big, if not bigger, role in technical communication as writing can. As Nesbitt puts it, “ …you need to know how to ask the right questions, and not be afraid to ask dumb ones. On top of that, you’ll need to know how to gently draw answers out of reluctant interviewees and to spot tangents that are worth following during an interview.”

As a technical writer, you will have to interview the technical professionals in your organization, so that the information that you are distributing to the user is correct and most efficient. You won’t know this information if you don’t ask the technical professional. And you have to be sure that the questions you’re asking will provide the information that users need to know.

Researching.

research_word_in_dictionary_magnified_sepia

Journalists are known for finding the information we need to obtain, whether it’s handed to them on a silver platter by very cooperative forces, or if they have to dig around and investigate for themselves. According to Nesbitt, researching “ can take many forms: looking at design documents, reading up on subjects like virtualization, or even going over documentation for products that are similar to the ones we’re writing about.

All in all, transitioning from journalism to being technical communication student hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. Sure there are some aspects of it that I never would’ve probably seen in news, such as learning computer programming, or learning the inner workings of an engineering firm, but all in all, it has been smooth sailing… so far.

-NiCarla Friend

Technical Writing Position at Butler America

Butler America is hiring a technical writer. The job posting is below:

Butler America has an opportunity for a Technical Writer with RPSTL (Repair Parts and Special Tool List ) experience to work in Huntsville, AL for a long term contract project. Will consider a Technical Writer with a background in IPB (Illustrated Parts Breakdown) manuals.  Prior experience with XML is preferred. Prior experience with military manuals (aircraft) is preferred.  REFERRALS WELCOMED Please contact Carol Arsenault at 256/684-8867 and/or send resume to carsenault@butler.com to discuss further.

Technical Writing Position at Aerotek

Here’s a contract position sent along by a UAH alumni. Check it out if you’re looking for a job!

Aerospace Technical Writing Job

An alumni recently forwarded this job posting along for a technical writer at Neos US, LLC. It is a great opportunity for the right candidate!

Two Jobs at Red Team Industries

Red Team Industries is hiring a Proposal Manager and a Senior Technical Writer. Check out the job ads below for the complete information.

Proposal Management
– Plan, coordinate and manage the comprehensive development process of competitive sales proposals for The Red Team’s clients
– Develop compliance outlines based on solicitation requirements, and manage proposal development to ensure conformance to outlines
– Develop production tools including worksheets, storyboards, task lists, meeting agendas, schedules / timelines, and other proposal management tools to coordinate team actions and ensure compliance
– Manage writers, editors, graphics artists, production coordinators, SMEs and team partners to ensure a seamless proposal process that results in winning proposals
– Ensure timely submission of proposals
– Ensure technical compliance of submitted proposals
– Ensure completeness of submitted proposals
– Ensure each proposal meets The Red Team’s quality standards, including high use of graphics, customer-focused themes and messages, and single voice story-line with flawless grammatical presentation.
– Travel required up to 100% (of assigned projects)
– Work often exists in a high-stress, time-critical environment for 60 days or more in a travel status
– Maintain absolute confidentiality related to project information, client data, and The Red Teams proprietary processes, pricing, and technical data
– Perform other duties as required to support Client objectives.

Technical Writing
– Provide clear, compelling, accurate and compliant written content for various assignments, including SOPs and process guides, proposal volumes, training materials and marketing/PR products for electronic and/or print media
– Create and present to the client outlines/graphics concepts/storyboards that effectively communicate section writing tasks while meeting compliance requirements
– Develop graphics and illustration concepts, and incorporate with effective captions into writing sections
– Interview Subject Matter Experts, Engineers, Operations Team Members and Technical Staff to glean critical information related to technical compliance; distill this information in clear, compelling and accurate written content that supports overall project objectives
– Meet all deadlines – Ensure compliance of written material with solicitation requirements
– Meet The Red Team’s quality standards for grammar, presentation, style, and customer-focused themes and messages
– Utilize a variety of software applications including, but not limited to MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), MS SharePoint, Adobe In-Design, MS Visio, online timesheet applications, and other productivity and creative software
– Travel required up to 100% (of assigned projects)
– Work often exists in a high-stress, time-critical environment for 60 days or more in a travel status
– Maintain absolute confidentiality related to project information, client data, and The Red Team

Freelance Editor Needed for Resume Project

A local resident is looking for an editor to copyedit a two page resume. Compensation will be offered. Please contact Dr. Weber at rw0019@uah.edu for more information.


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