Tech Comm Café: Nov. 9 recap; next meeting Feb. 8, 2017

Tech Comm Café: Nov. 9 recap; next meeting Feb. 8, 2017

The Vancouver-area Tech Comm Café met on November 9 at a coffee shop near Broadway and Cambie. After some brief introductions around the table, announcements included:

— The Canada West Coast chapter of the Society for Technical Communication is offering a limited number of subsidized student memberships. The deadline to apply is November 30.

— Volunteers are needed for various activities, including an upcoming holiday event. For more information, please contact volunteer (at)

— On November 19, Keith Barker will present a two-hour session on the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator.

— Results of a Canadian salary survey will be coming soon.

We went on to discuss tips about finding freelance work. Ideas included checking T-Net, seeking out referrals from colleagues and recruiters, searching for leads on LinkedIn, and checking job boards of local companies and non-profit organizations.

We also discussed how it sometimes happens that, after quoting on a job and being in contact with potential clients for some time, you might still find yourself without a contract in the end. This may be due to someone inside the organization taking on the work instead, or the job being cancelled or postponed. However, clients change their minds for all sorts of reasons. They may or may not inform you of them, it may not be your fault, and it may be beyond your control. It’s a good idea to move on gracefully and leave the door open for a future opportunity with that client.

One person asked how to deal with micromanagers. Suggestions included taking a proactive approach by providing as much information in advance as possible, and reminding yourself not to take it personally: a manager with this leadership style will micromanage all of their staff. The Keith Barker presentation on dealing with different personality types might provide some ideas on this.

Another issue focused on being overqualified for a job and the challenge of convincing an employer that you want it anyway.

Uncertainty about the effects of possible changes to NAFTA was brought up as a potential challenge to working for American clients. Other topics included taking on contract work vs. working in-house, and online groups that are a great resource for editing and critiquing work.

Next Meetings

  • The Lower Mainland Tech Comm Café will meet on February 8; details below. NOTE NEW LOCATION.
  • The Vancouver Island Tech Comm Café will meet on January 19. Check for details soon, or contact admin (at) and ask to be added to the mailing list.


The TCC provides networking opportunities, job leads, answers to work-related dilemmas, and a burst of professional energy to keep you motivated. We discuss technical writing tools and techniques, career planning, portfolios, and anything else related to working as a technical communicator.

We welcome anyone who’s interested in technical communication — contractor, in-house, student, long-time tech writer, STC member, non-member, career-changer, or recruiter. We hope to see you at the next meeting!

Next Vancouver-Area Tech Comm Café: Wednesday, February 8, 2017

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to admin (at)

Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Time: 6:30–8:00 pm Pacific Time

Location: Allegro Café, Whole Foods Market, 510 West 8th Avenue at Cambie, Vancouver. The Allegro is the smaller coffee bar on the mezzanine level, with entrance on the Cambie Street side (not the restaurant downstairs in the main store area). Close to Broadway-City Hall Skytrain (Canada Line) and Broadway buses; pay parking on the street or in the Whole Foods underground parkade, entrance on West 8th Ave.


  1. Introductions. Take 60 seconds to introduce yourself, your background, current activities. A good chance to try out that new elevator speech.
  2. Announcements and job leads. If you know of an interesting event or a job opening, or you’re looking for work, share it with the group.
  3. Brainstorming Q&A. Ask about a work-related problem and discuss potential solutions.
  4. Speed networking. Spend a few minutes with a new contact, exchange business cards, and discuss your professional backgrounds and goals.