RE: Life After Tech Writing (Possibly OT, But I Hope Not)

Subject: RE: Life After Tech Writing (Possibly OT, But I Hope Not)
From: "Dan Hall" <dhall -at- san-carlos -dot- rms -dot- slb -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2002 06:58:56 -0500

A great story - glad to hear you found your niche.

Interestingly enough, my career went the opposite
direction from yours. Immediately after completing
college, I started teaching elementary school -
4th grade, actually - and then left for a chance
to do technical illustration. I stumbled into tech
writing as a sideline to that work.

Here's wishing you great success in your new
position. May your students be cooperative and
the parents supportive.


Dan Hall
Sr. Technical Writer
SchlumbergerSema RTEMS

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-72045 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-72045 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of
s -dot- ikohn -at- att -dot- net
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 8:54 PM
Subject: Life After Tech Writing (Possibly OT, But I Hope Not)

Hello all,

I apologize in advance if this is off-topic, but I want
to put closure on some postings I made anonymously
around this time last year. If anyone is interested,
look in the archives for ?Losing My Profession.?

Although I left the profession, I still peruse the
archives occasionally. With the recent discussions about
the sad state of the job market for TWs, I thought that
some whirlers might enjoy the ruminations of a former TW
who left the field without regret. If not, please delete
and accept my apologies for bothering you.

A little over a year ago, I was unexpectedly laid off
from a job as a Senior Technical Author. The irony was
that I had been a contractor for some time before
accepting a ?perm? position and had developed a sense of
jobs being both disposable and easily replaceable. Dot-
coms were truly wonderful places for those of us who
never bought into the whole corporate thing. In my last
TW job, I had decided to stay for some time and did some
of my best ?technical? work, though it was mostly
tortuously boring.

Following the lay-off, I had a few interviews and
quickly realized that my heart was no longer in tech
whirling. In the end, I decided to let it go completely,
to bite the bullet, and to look for a job teaching

Although there may be places where English teachers are
in great demand, Atlanta is not one of them. I had to
fight hard to get an offer; my job search skills from
being a contractor really paid off in that process. The
factor that finally got me a job offer was my experience
with technology. Also, my experience working with
programmers certainly prepared me well for the
challenges of dealing with hormone-ravaged adolescents.

Before I could be hired, I had to take 5 exams of
varying difficulty and a crash course in methods of
teaching. I was then admitted to an alternate
certification pilot program that facilitates the
transfer of professionals into teaching.

Teaching is a lot of things, but it is never boring?or
easy. I made much more money writing technical manuals
that I did not care about at all than I will for a long
time teaching students whom I care about passionately. I
almost never think about what else I might do with my
life, but I used to ponder it all the time, especially
while working on APIs or Programmer?s Guides. I know I
made the right choice for me.

There is indeed life beyond tech whirling; for me it is
a better, happier, more involved life. If anyone would
care to explore career-changing further, I would be
happy to respond off-list.

Another thing that helped a lot was the support I
received from people I know. In fact, one of my best
friends arranged for a six-week contract writing
training manuals for the summer. I will still have four
weeks off before school starts again, and the extra
money is nice.

Finally, I want to thank all the people who responded
last year. At the time. I read the responses, remained
anonymous, and then disappeared. After I got my teaching
job, I wanted to make sure I could get through the first
year before speaking: an awful lot of people do not.

I subscribed to this list for years and consider
numerous people on it my friends. It seemed to me a
disservice to the community to leave without offering a
fond farewell, belated though it is, and best wishes to

Kindest regards,

Sheldon S. Kohn
Atlanta, GA
(grateful recovering tech writer)

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Life After Tech Writing (Possibly OT, But I Hope Not): From: s . ikohn

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