Re: Time for a Change

Subject: Re: Time for a Change
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 12:47:46 -0800

surfer924 -at- ameritech -dot- net wrote:

I've read several threads on this list from those of you who entered tech writing from other writing-type careers (journalism, marketing, etc.) and I wonder if there are any former technical writers on this list? If so, what are you doing now? Why did you leave tech writing? Was the transition difficult?

Depending on your definition, I suppose I could be called "former." That is, I only make part of my income from straightforward technical writing. Sometimes, none of my income comes from tech-writing; at other points, up to 90% does.

OOver the last few years, my work has included:

- design work and desktop publishing
- marketing (both copy writing and campaign planning)
- product management
- computer journalism
- teaching
- business development

Many of these areas involve communication of one sort or another, so they're not far removed from tech-writing. Others indicate management positions.

I can't say I planned to diversify. It just happened. I've always liked variety, and I'm the sort who joins in when something needs to be done. I've simply found myself doing more and more different things, and it turns out that I can do them reasonably well.

The transition was gradual, so it wasn't very difficult. The greatest challenge was taking on more responsibility, but that's satisfying in itself, so I can say that I found much difficulty - just a bit of uneasiness.

One reason why I didn't find much difficulty, I suspect, is that tech-writing requires a generalist attitude. Tech-writers are often called on to do a variety of tasks, and, when they are, they have a chance to learn both the technical and the business end of their work - a balanced perspective that almost no other profession allows. For that reason, it's probably easier to branch out from tech-writing than from many other professions.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

"No safe house in Birmingham, I found no peace in Skye,
The green fields of Derry were just another lie,
Wrap the barbed wire round me, say I don't belong,
Kick me till I couldn't move, then tell me to move on."
-OysterBand, "The Deserter"

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