If I had known then what I know now: words of advice to a new TC

In my technical communication courses, I always set up a forum in the online classroom in which students can introduce themselves. It is both charming and terrifying when I realize how young some of the participants are. I look at these fresh-faced young men and women at the very beginning of their career and I think, "I have shoes older than them."

Text by Leah Guren


If I had known then what I know now: words of advice to a new TC

Image: © Oleg Dudko/123rf.com

Yes, it’s true. I’ve been in the field 35 years and the time has flown by – in part because I like this profession very much and I have enjoyed a certain degree of success. And yet, I sometimes wish that I could go back in time and have a forceful heart-to-heart with my younger self. There are so many things that I had to learn the hard way, and so many mistakes I could have avoided.
But since time travel is not possible, I can only share my insights (gleaned from painful inexperience and cheerful ignorance) with all of those just starting their career:

  • Take better notes. Seriously. Write it down. Listen to the clients. Rather than sitting there and formulating another question, actually listen to what they say. Taking notes forces you to listen and process information, while talking less. You learn more about the project requirements and reduce the risk of forgetting details (not to ...