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> I have nothing against someone who is a junior level writer taking a
> lower-paying job. We all did that at some time in our careers. What I do
> object to is a highly qualified tech writer settling for a low-paying job.
> Our skills are too valuable to give to the lowest bidder.
I've tried to stay out of "The Indian Menace" and the "Real Techwriter"
debates, but this drew me in...
I've been everything from a junior wet-behind-the-ears writer to a manager
to a division head. I've written everything from hardware manuals, software
guides, online help, web content, medical kit instructions for the Space
Shuttle to advertising copy and back again. Right now the Bay Area is a
dead zone for technical communicators. There isn't even a corpse to hold a
I was laid off from my last job earlier this year. Right now I'm editing
manuals written in India so that an American audience won't find the phrases
odd or confusing. (It isn't that the Indians are terrible writers, they're
just not well-versed in American style and such.). My pay? $15/hour on
contract. Which is a little bit more than the writers are getting.
My skills may be too valuable to give to the lowest bidder, but Bank of
America won't take my skills to pay the mortgage. If I have to, I'll learn
how to say "Do you want to supersize that meal?" if I have to. I've got
bills to pay, and pride is cold comfort when the checking account is near
I'm all for keeping rates up. I'm all for solidarity. But I got bills to
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