Liz asks: Do you treat your career like a profession?

Summary: There’s only you to hold you accountable, to make sure you meet your business and revenue goals. You can apply the same skills business owners, consultants, and executives use to advance their business to advance your career. Do you treat your career like a profession or do you have simply a collection of jobs behind you?

I’ve been a consultant for a long time, but what really excites me is helping others build their careers and businesses. To that end, we started a project called the TC Dojo Conclave which is designed to bring serious professionals together to grow their business acumen and awareness.

Technical writing is unique in that almost all of us transition between employee and consultant at some point in our career.  At some point in our career we will employ the skills of a consultant, taking on more of an advisory role either in our own business or to the benefit of a larger organization.

In a company, someone else sets your milestones and evaluates your annual performance. Independents are on their own. There’s only you to hold you accountable, to make sure you meet your business and revenue goals.  Independents and consultants do all those things themselves in order to meet the revenue goals they have set for their businesses.

These are skills you should apply to your career as well. Do you have revenue goals you want to meet in your lifetime? Are you actively evaluating each step on your career path as a series of steps that will get you where you want to go? Continue reading “Liz asks: Do you treat your career like a profession?”

Adepters – What is it and how do I find it?

Are you an Arbortext user? Have you heard the word Adepters and wonder what it means?

Adepters is the name of the original Arbortext user mailing list which was launched in 1996. At that time there the web was still new, so this mailing list quickly became the go-to resource for Arbortext customers.

Where did the name Adepters come from?

The word Adepters merged the original name of the Arbortext editor product series Adept and the legendary mailing list for FrameMaker users, framers.

Adept Editor one half of the adepters name

After ArborText the company was acquired by PTC, the mailing list archive was preserved and moved. Each time it was moved, however, the entire mailing list history went with it.

Today, the mailing list lives at PTC Communities. That site has also preserved the entire archive as well. Anyone can read messages that date all the way back to the beginning of the list (1996).

PTC/Arbortext engineering, product management, and support staff all monitor the website as they have always monitored the mailing list. So, if you have a question, it’s a good place to start.

What is Arbortext?

At one time if you heard someone mention Arbortext, you could be pretty sure they meant the Editor. It’s an old habit that’s hard to break because you often still hear that today.

However, today Arbortext is a full product suite. The Editor is still around, but now there’s a powerful stylesheet and formatting tool, an automated publishing engine, and content management suite.

Did you know that this name is a merged word too?

To get Arbortext, the original company founders merged the city name where their original HQ was located (Ann Arbor, MI) and Text, to represent the content authoring and publishing software products they built.

After the company was acquired by PTC, the product name became the main product family name.

adepters hq
The original HQ of ArborText in Ann Arbor, MI

Want more history?

You can find stories about the history of Arbortext and pictures of the original Arbortext UI over the years on the website maintained by Arbortext Users:

Everything Arbortext In One Place

They’ve tried to preserve information there ever since the Arbortext page was unfortunately deleted from Wikipedia (after some marketing folks got their hands on the page…). Other than what the users have preserved over on WordPress, that history is now lost.

How to find the PTC Product Calendar

The PTC Product Calendar lists all PTC products and the important dates associated with each one, including when support ends. Here’s how to find it.

Finding the product calendar, creating support tickets, and making enhancement requests are topics that come up periodically, but are fairly rare for Arbortext users.

PTC collaborates with several customer-directed product councils on product where they collaborate with customers to make sure they’re staying on top of customer needs.

You know how it is. You figure out something when you need it and, once you’re done, you completely forget how you did it. Until you need it again. Everyone forgets how to do infrequent tasks.

Well, this was one of those months. These three topics came up in the Arbortext Mastermind. I thought I’d write up how to find the Product Calendar because that’s the one I use most when answering the questions that come in.

The product calendar answers a lot of questions. For example:

  • What’s the latest release?
  • When did the most recent release come out?
  • When does my version end of life?
  • Can I still get (a particular version)?

Here’s how to find it

First, log in to the PTC eSupport website.

Make sure the HOME tab is selected in the mid-page navigation bar:

If you scroll down the page, you will see the Quick Links portlet. Choose the PTC Product Calendar link.

That’s it!

Create an eSupport bookmark

If you’re like me and find this link useful, you should add it to the My Bookmarks portlet. This portlet lets you keep track of links on the PTC website you find useful and making them easy to find. For pages you reference frequently, this is a great way to group them for your convenience.

Here’s what I have in mine:

Just click that button on the bottom of the portlet, Add PTC eSupport Bookmark, to add the bookmarks you want in yours!

Which TC Dojo level are you?

TC Dojo is a virtual meeting place for the Technical Communications professional. Whether you are just starting out in the field or you are a well-seasoned expert, everyone can gain valuable learning at the TC Dojo.

We called it the a dojo because a dojo (道場 dōjō?) is a Japanese term which literally means “place of the way“. Typically, it is the place for learning and practicing a martial art form. We decided to borrow this theme and apply it to the practice and learning for the art of Technical Communication.

In keeping with the metaphor, we borrowed the notion of levels and color representations. Instead of belts, we have wristbands: Continue reading “Which TC Dojo level are you?”