What do I call myself? What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? (Go ahead, finish the Shakespeare quote, all you English majors out there.) I ran across two blog posts recently, one from the personal blogs that I follow and one from the professional blogs that I follow, that each talked to the notion of labels or titles for ourselves.

For the longest time, I hung tightly to my Technical Editor title. In some ways, I still do. I’m very proud to be a true technical editor, and have researched and published articles about the types of editing that I find provide the most value to my teams. However, in the past several years, I have explored other titles that might communicate more clearly outside of my contexts what it is that I do for the broader product teams.

As evidenced by the title of my blog, I am a firm believer that technical editing is a quality assurance process. To that end, I have often played with inserting quality into my title in some way. Awhile ago, I came up with “information quality architect” as a possible title. I had become an information architect for a couple of projects, which I feel was a natural extension of my technical editor role, and I experienced first hand the doors and people that opened to me with that title of information architect. I wanted that same experience with my other role of technical editor, so I toyed with “information quality architect.” It didn’t really stick, and I just went about my job of getting more technical editing done.

The one technical writer and blogger (Write Trends) spoke of her recent experience in embracing a new title for herself: information engineer. She spoke of letting go of being a technical writer, just as I have been trying to let go of being a technical editor. This reminded me of my prior title musings and thought about whether “information quality engineer” was a better fit. I think it fits well. It certainly plays into my quality assurance analogy, as they are often called QA engineers, so information quality engineer seems like a good fit.

Then, the other blogger (Triangulations), which explores spiritual view points from all angles, asked the question “What labels are you attached to?” He asked if we would be willing to let go of a label, or if we would want to fight to redefine that label. I found it quite intriguing to let myself ponder about attaching myself to a label at all — technical editor, information quality engineer, whatever. In some contexts, the labels or titles are necessary, but in the grand scheme of things, should I limit myself to others’ understanding of that label or title?

Happy editing everyone.

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