Re: the new economy and finding a job

Subject: Re: the new economy and finding a job
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2001 12:07:40 -0800

Sabahat Ashraf wrote:

I never tire of saying that *this* is what a "normal" economy looks
like. This is business as usual; that was fairy tale. Those of us that
have spent most or all of our careers in the post-1995 economy have just
never lived a job search in which not every lead led to an interview.

I'd quibble that what you really mean the post-1997 economy, but, otherwise,I think that your point can't be made often enough. And, to add to it, I'd say that, while things are worse than they were, they're not terrifically bad, especially when compared to other career choices.

In particular, consider post-secondary teaching in English, a likely choice for any of the hundreds of tech-writers with two or three degree. Even now, the local job boards and newspapers average a tech-writing job a week or so. By contrast, in the last six months, I've only seen a couple of jobs for instructors at community colleges and local universities: one for teaching business communications, and one for teaching English as a second language. Presumably, some writing and teaching jobs aren't advertised. Still, even so, that means that you'd have over ten times as many leads in Vancouver if you're looking for work as a tech-writer than as an instructor. What's more, the number of teaching jobs has remained low for about seven or eight years now - which is why I got out of it. So, in comparison, tech-writing isn't so bad.

* Network, network, network.

Good advice, but I'd add: choose where you network carefully. Reputable head-hunters (and there are some, believe it or not) are good people to network with. They may not have many openings to fill, but if they like you, they'll let you know about them first.
You might also attend meetings for high-tech that aren't specific to writers; admittedly, the STC is unusual for a professional organization in that it mixes workers and managers together, but I doubt that many people at STC gatherings have the final hiring decision. The point of networking is not just to know about jobs that are available, but to let yourself be known to the people who are doing the hiring. You might get a verbal recommendation from someone you meet at an STC gathering, but it's even more useful to have the CTO's business card, and to have him remember you as the thoughtful person she met a couple of months ago. I stress this point because attending the local STC meeting is relatively comfortable, and, if you're not careful, you can convince yourself that that's all you have to do. It's not.

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

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the new economy and finding a job: From: Molly Hovorka
Re: the new economy and finding a job: From: Sabahat Ashraf

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