Re: state of TWers

Subject: Re: state of TWers
From: "Bal Simon" <wordmuse -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 21:47:34 -0800

> > Currently I'll be looking for a contract in about 2 weeks, but does
> > anyone know why tech writers in particular are having problems?

Two answers:

1 - many organizations seem to view documentation as an ugly stepchild. They often don't even think about it until they get to the, "Oh sh--!" phase. Then, what they really want is a magician, who, with the wave of his/her (hir) hand over the keyboard ? no touching now ? produces wonderful documentation in Word, web, Acrobat, and Framemaker formats. They want it for dirt cheap, and ? please! ? don't bother anyone. "We don't have the bandwidth to help you help us! Can you do it?!" Of course, we say yes, and <evil smile>they get what they deserve...</evil smile>

2 - Less sardonically, I view the economy as going through a very healthy, much needed sanity check. Over the past 3 years, I often told my wife that I was amazed at the way so many people bought into all the dot.coms that lived off the money of investors and viewed profit as some distant holy grail. I wondered whether it was a pyramid scheme run amok. Sometimes being forced to take stock and re-evaluate what's important is THE healthy thing. Not pleasant, but healthy. And, no, I don't have it made in the shade. I'm currently between jobs. Two Monday's ago I experienced something like an anxiety attack (which I sometimes get after big earthquakes, but not between jobs!). I literally sweated as I wondered how I'd make it in this economy. I allowed myself to go through the experience, talked about it with my wife a little bit, felt a little better, and then began making efforts anew.

Here's what I've been doing: The number of jobs listed in places like monster, dice, etc. are still as paltry as they've lately been. So I decided to try an angle I hadn't tried for a few years (because I didn't have to!): I contacted local high tech firms - by email - and submitted my resume, saying that given the kind of work they did, I thought they might use technical writers. If a need arose, I asked them to consider me. I have found that for every 10 emails I send out, I am getting at least 1 lukewarm response. And once in awhile, I have found that there is actually an opportunity to pursue. I'm not a great fit for all kinds of work, but I am versatile enough, and I have worked at many places that give me credibility. Somehow, I think that things will work out - even if I have to go through more blasted anxiety attacks. My grandparents had to deal with much, much worse! Their physical survival was often at stake. How can I dishonor them by complaining about my easy life!???

For whatever it's worth.


When the going gets tough, the smart start innovating more...
When the going gets easier, the smart continue to innovate.
<smile>Hmm... I need to smarten up.</smile>
]] -at- ]]


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