Hiring 2 tech writers in Copenhagen

We are looking for 2 tech writers for financial software in Copenhagen, Denmark:

  • 1 Senior Technical Writer with at least 5 years experience
  • 1 Technical Writer, graduates welcome

SimCorp is a leading provider of investment management software and service solutions. For details, see the company job page or ask me via twitter @techwriterkai or via LinkedIn.

Tribute to a fellow tech writer

PJ, a colleague and fellow tech writer, died last Thursday. It’s the first time that someone who I’ve worked with has died, and it’s made me pause and think about how well I know and appreciate my colleagues.

He was the first tech writer I met when I joined the company in 2008. He had covered the area that was to become my responsibility, so I inherited some of the documentation he had written.

It soon became apparent that we approached documentation from opposite angles. PJ had been with the company for several decades already. He knew developments and details of our product that no one else knows and did documentation with a lot of common sense and in the way “we’ve always done it”. I arrived with convictions about how to do documentation efficiently, but no product knowledge.

While the whole writing team agreed that the documentation and the way we maintain it needed to be improved, PJ and I sometimes argued over the way to proceed. We would disagree over the usability and usefulness of printed release notes and online help. We could bicker over the Oxford comma or whether “check box” is one word or two. I must admit that my pedantry sometime got the better of me: I focused on the comma more than on the mutual respect that is due to any colleague.

There’s also the simple fact that my contributions of best practices and methods are easily available outside the company and sort of generic. His knowledge of the product on the other hand was unique as his experience had honed his wit and his equanimity. I had come to realize that, if we were to succeed as a team, I needed PJ more than he needed me.

Working mostly in different locations, we couldn’t just walk up to each other’s desk to chat or even hang out after work. The few times I talked to him about personal things, I was impressed by his passion for music and for mountain railways. And I’m sure he had a life worth of other passions I still have no clue about, though he would have shared them freely.

PJ had been ill last year, but seemed to have gotten better in recent months until a recent relapse. I don’t even know the last time I saw him. A week ago, I heard he was worse than ever, but that we could keep in touch via Facebook. I choked when I saw on his Facebook page that we liked the same bands – though we had never talked about most of them.

When I heard he had died, I realized how unprepared I was, despite everything: “Grandparents die – but not colleagues,” I thought. And it reminded me of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman – though PJ was nothing like Willy Loman:

He’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. … Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.

I regret not paying attention to my colleague soon enough. And I won’t forget PJ.

Top 5 reasons I look forward to the STC12 Summit

I’ll be going to my first STC Summit in a couple of weeks and I’m already really excited about it. Here are my top 5 reasons and motivations:

1. Learn about new trends

The obvious reason to attend a conference: Many of the 80 sessions cover new industry trends – or at least topics that are new to me. We’re currently implementing a new HAT which brings a a lot of opportunities and some challenges, so I’m looking forward to:

2. Find inspiration and solutions

The sometimes unexpected benefit: At previous conferences, I frequently got ideas about improving a broken process or solving an irritating problem, even if that was not the main focus of a session. Such insights might come from an aside comment or something I see on a slide that inspires me to connect the dots. That’s why I’m looking forward to:

3. Present my own session

A highlight for will be Pattern Recognition for Technical Communicators!

My STC Summit speaker button

I’ll be on Wednesday morning at 8:30. I know that’ll be difficult after Tuesday’s banquet and whatever after-hours may transpire. But it’s actually a very good time!

  • A good time for you, because you can ease into the last day with an entertaining session that gives you a different, thought-provoking perspective on what you do anyway.
  • A good time for me, because I can get a feel for the conference on Monday and Tuesday and then get it out of the way firsrt thing on Wednesday. So I hope to see you there!

The conference program

After teasing you about several interesting sessions, here’s the complete conference program:

  • In a website, sortable by track, time, speaker or session code
  • In PDF, sorted by day and time, with session codes and titles only
  • In Excel 97-2003, sorted by day and time, with titles and main presenter

The first two are the official resources from the summit website, the spreadsheet is from me. All three are current as of May 6, but only the first one will be up to date in case of changes (an updated PDF may have a different link…). To be on the safe side, check the official summit website. – Now back to the reasons…

4. Meet old friends, make new friends

The pleasant side effect also called “networking”: As much as I enjoy social media as a virtual lifeline to stay in touch with the techcomm community, nothing beats meeting in person over a beer once or twice a year. So I’m looking forward to meeting speakers and delegates, tweeps and blog readers!

5. See Chicago

The tourist bit: I know Chicago a little bit from when I went to UW Madison in the 1990s. But I haven’t been in a while, and I’m especially looking forward to visiting the Art Institute and the new Modern Wing – or at least new to me. 🙂

6. Shop around for help authoring tools

Your bonus reason. The company I work for is not in the market right now for a new tool, but maybe you are. With more than 50 product and service providers exhibiting, you’ll have an excellent chance to see a lot of products up close and compare them closely. It’s a little like meeting friends: Nothing beats a first hands-on experience, and it’s a lot less daunting when you don’t have to install a trial version and click your way around. Vendor exhibitions at conferences were essential for us when we were choosing our tool.

7. Deep dish pizza

The gourmet reason. Thanks to Larry Kunz for the reminder, see his comment below. I was quite fond of Pizzeria Uno in my Madison days…

– If I forgot a reason to go to a conference, please share it below. If you’re attending the STC Summit, I hope to meet you in Chicago!