Does Job Stability Exist Anymore? | LinkedIn

Source: www.linkedin.com

This is an interesting article that I think would especially apply to the technical communications community. I can tell you that my entire career has been nothing but unstable. Gone are the days where you spend so many years someplace and have the devout company loyalty and the mentorship to help you get ahead in that company. I’ve gotten to the point that while I still crave having a "secure" job (which for me means that I can stay there indefinitely, not be laid off, and am a full-time employee with all the benefits), I’ve accepted that is highly unlikely to happen anytime in the near future, if ever. I think I’m stuck in consultancy limbo forever. I’ve learned to make the most of it as best as I can. I am grateful that the current assignment I’m on is an indefinite assignment for the moment–it will be going into my third year in January 2015, and if I complete that year it will be tied with the longest period I’ve ever spent at any other job. I’m also grateful that I like where I am too. Three years at any one place isn’t much. With the economic turmoil of the past few years, I don’t see this trend going away. As the author of this article says, job stability is a roller coaster, and you have to be prepared for the ride. I recommend reading this article. 

–techcommgeekmom

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Why Typography Matters For Better Visibility – Usability Geek

Expertise in web typography requires creativity that comes with experience but the most important aspect is always ensuring to maintain content legibility

Source: usabilitygeek.com

Rick Sapir shared this on Google+. I became interested in typography more after seeing the movie, "Helvetica" at an STC Summit event this past year. I never really thought about it THAT much, but it really does make a difference! Read this article for some perspective. 

–techcommgeekmom

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English is global–or is it? I’m getting confused.

I apologize for not writing for quite a long time. I hadn’t realized how long it had been! I’ve been really busy all these weeks, deep in my professional work, my volunteer work, and working on me. It’s always tougher once the school year starts! My professional work is taking up a lot of energy these days, which is good only because it means that I’m deep into doing what I enjoy–working with content.

About a month ago, I went for Adobe CQ training. The company where I consult is using it to build and manage its new external website, and I’ve been included in the project! It’s a big step up for me, because I’ve been limited to internal sites until now. Having the chance to learn a new CMS, work on the external site, and work on a high-profile section of the external site is a big deal. The training was great, and all those who attended the training were rather excited to use Adobe CQ over the painfully clunky in-house CMS that we’ve been using (and will still have to use for internal sites for a while to come, so I’ll have to use both).

At the training, the trainer was from France, and we had another content strategist who was from the Brazil office. Both spoke fluent English. Over the course of the two days, I got to know both of them well (it was a small training group), and we talked about languages extensively. One of the interesting things about the company I work for is that it is a German company that is having its 150th anniversary this year, so you’d think that the official language of the company would be German. WRONG. Surprisingly enough, the official language of the company is English. When I found that out, I was surprised. And while there will be a German language website, as well as ones in Spanish, Portugese, and Chinese, in the breakdown of the new external websites, more areas would have an English website or translated English website option. Again, this surprised me a little–not that this is a bad thing. It works in my favor since my native language is English, after all.

In talking to the trainer from France, she said that the consultantcy she works for has her based at one of my company’s offices in Germany, so she usually commutes to Germany via a four-hour train trip, stays up there for four days, and then comes home on the weekends during this particular project. When she is in Germany, she speaks in English with the people in that German office. When she trained people on Adobe CQ in the German offices, she did her training in English. When she trained in Shanghai–her stop before the US–she did it in English. She said she took this job because it was in English, even though her native language is French, because it gave her an opportunity to use her second language and improve her fluency.

The fellow from Brazil was so fluent with an American accent that I almost thought he was an American of Brazilian descent who moved to South America. His English was impeccable, and he made so few pronunciation mistakes, that he reminded me of my husband’s accent, which is almost perfect, but there’s still a little something lingering there if you listen VERY carefully.

So, all this got me to thinking about conversations that have been going around in the last year or two about localization and the perception of English being the main language of the Internet, which are topics that have written about before. The impression I’ve been getting through many of the tech comm conversations has been that we should not assume that everyone is learning English, fluent in English even as a second language, and that English is not taking over as the predominant language it’s alluded to be. The message is that we need to neutralize the English we have because most of the world does not speak English, and this action will help with translation. That all makes sense to me. What makes things confusing to me is the implication that English should back off from trying to be the “international” language because perhaps it should be Chinese, or Spanish, or some other language that more populations speak, or that we need to concentrate more on making translation and localization work. I understand that implication as well, and generally I back that notion.

In the futuristic world of "Firefly", everyone was bilingual in English and Chinese, as the premise was that the US and China would end up being the superpowers that would take over the world and eventually ally themselves. Who knows? It could still happen.

In the futuristic world of “Firefly”, everyone was bilingual in English and Chinese, as the premise was that the US and China would end up being the superpowers that would take over the world and eventually ally themselves. Who knows? It could still happen.

Perhaps my company is a rare case in that the official language of the company is something other than what the native language of where it’s located is. I remember a year or two ago reading about a company in Japan that was making all its employees–down to the mailroom and custodial staff–learn English at the company. The company I work for has been around for 150 years in Germany, so you’d think that there would be a lot of bilingual people in order to work between two continents, but that it would not be Anglo-centric, but rather German-centric. Yet, that’s not the case. I don’t know why they decided that, but it really got me to thinking. If one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world, based out of Germany, has its official language as English, what does that really say? Is English really the predominant “international” language after all? Are there other global companies that are following suit? What does that mean for international English, or for that matter localization and translation efforts? Are we going to end up in a world like in Firefly where everyone spoke both English and Chinese, and no other languages?

I suppose it’s simply┬ámy own perception that sees it as confusing. On one hand, we’re being told to embrace other languages and appreciate the translation and localization process for the sake of understanding that English is not the predominant global language we think it is, and then on the other hand, we see proof that global corporations are shifting towards more English or predominant English usage. Did I read or encounter these companies as exceptions, or is this becoming the rule?

What are your thoughts? Post in the comments below, and let me know what you think.

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5 reasons why content development vendors have it wrong – Sharon Burton, customer experience consultant

Content development vendors don’t have the workflow right. Here’s my top 5 reasons why.

Source: www.sharonburton.com

My friend, Sharon Burton, is right on about this. Everything she explains here is what I’ve experienced, and in some cases, admittedly, I’m one of those who has to end up redoing everything because the SMEs don’t understand the tools. Sometimes I don’t understand the tools either, but I get by! Sharon has an interesting take on all of it. Read this article!

–techcommgeekmom

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Top 10 Ways Successful Technical Women Increase Their Visibility

Increasing your visibility is important for advancing your career. Below are ten things that highly successful women say they do in order to increase their visibility throughout the company, industry, and technical community.

Source: www.ncwit.org

NJIT’s Continuing Education program posted this on its Facebook page, even though this article came out a few years ago. The information is still applicable today. I know I’ve tried to follow these guidelines since I graduated from grad school. In my opinion, these rules apply to both women and men who want to get ahead. Take a look. 

–techcommgeekmom

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Video Games as Learning Tools

Video Games as Learning Tools

Source: www.lyfeproblems.com

I saw that Darin Hammond found this and posted this on Google+, and I wanted to share it, too. The world is changing to one where digital literacy is just as important as traditional literacy, and it looks like they can work together. Read this. 

–techcommgeekmom

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4 ways to size up your client’s culture

I appreciate all the clients I work with. Each one is unique, with its own corporate culture. Often, that culture makes it easier to work with the client. But sometimes it erects obstacles that we …

Source: larrykunz.wordpress.com

Larry Kunz has written a great article here, which in my view is about a company views both its internal customers as well as its external customers. He describes some bad positions at the very end of the article, and I can say that I’ve played every one of those parts (even the unlucky minion) way too often. I’m fortunate that I’m in a job that none of those descriptions are applicable. Corporate culture is all about attitude, and if it doesn’t jive with yours, then you need to find something else. 

–techcommgeekmom

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