Last May, I attended the STC Technical Communication Summit in Denver. It had been a couple of years since my last Summit, and it felt good to be there. I was among friends, on familiar ground, sharing expertise and tall tales, reveling in a kind of homecoming. But it was also a bittersweet occasion. At the end of my presentation on living in volatile contexts, I announced my farewell to technical communication.
This farewell sounds like a dramatic event, but in fact, it was just an acknowledgement of reality. It’s more than eight years since I have been a daily user of a technical communication editing tool, a CMS, or anything remotely related to these. If a colleague or client asked me, today, to recommend the best tool for their purpose, I would not know how to answer. But no one has asked me that, either. And for good reason – I’m just not doing that any more.
It wasn’t a deliberate decision, it just happened. And in fact, one of the glorious things about the discipline of technical communication, which – in case you were wondering – I still love, is that it leads us down so many interesting paths, so many of them unexpected.
So here I am, waking up one day, and realizing that my work is about transformation. That should be obvious, with a company called The Transformation Society. It’s about digital transformation, or rather, the human aspects of it. It’s about understanding how humans and machines need to work together, it’s about understanding the role of information, and above all, it’s about learning – creating learning organizations, facilitating lifelong learning, training teachers and professional trainers, and a lot of other things connected to business and organizational strategy.
So if I unsubscribe from your mailing list, or stop showing up at technical communication conferences where I have been a habitual presenter, please don’t feel badly – I’m just being an elderly person, sorting out priorities and focusing on new horizons. I shall always cherish technical communication, and I don’t rule out participating in events from time to time. But for now, I bid a fond farewell to one discipline as I embrace another, and thank the world of technical communication for so many years of challenge, excitement, and good fun!
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