You do what?

Clement Mok, writing for Communication Arts, proposes that the design field is in a fractious, confusing mess because, in part, designers don't have a coherent self-image that strengthens their profession.

Technical writing is another profession that doesn't get much respect, and as a result many of its people are eagerly seeking new important-sounding titles for themselves so they can avoid the plain-vanilla label of "tech writer." One of my favorite activities after an industry conference is to peruse the titles on the business cards I collected. It's clear that many of the wordsmiths have turned their talents inward and created titles that rival the poetic obfuscation of "sanitation engineer."

If your job is to communicate -- to make things clear for the uninitiated -- creating a new vocabulary can undermine your professional position. By defining yourself as working in the field of "knowledge analysis and diffusion" (a real-world example, by the way) you've already gone down the wrong track. When you can't explain to others what it is you do for a living, and it boils down to what you do for a living is explain things, you're in big trouble.

Thanks for the link, ID Blog.

Posted: May 29, 2004 link to this item, Tweet this item, respond to this item