the status of tech writers (LONG)

Subject: the status of tech writers (LONG)
From: "Elizabeth Klisiewicz" <eklisiewicz -at- attbi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 12:29:50 -0400

Good afternoon-I have been following the very interesting threads about the
lack of respect in our industry as well as the low pay and I have to agree
with both sentiments. Although I was only laid off three weeks ago, I am
already seeing these trends for myself.

First of all, I want to thank the individuals who took the time to send me
information on tech agencies in the Boston area. In case anyone didn't
already know, Clearpoint Consultants is down to Carol S. working out of her
house with two other people. Microtech is now called ThinkPath, and other
than Carol, they are the only agency that has returned my phone calls.
Although Winter, Wyman, and Co. is well regarded by some, the woman in
charge of "Information Design and Delivery" has not acknowledged my e-mail
submission or my phone calls. This does not leave me with a good feeling.

In any case, my online searches have also not fruitful. When I look through
the job listings, I am disturbed by the high percentage of listings that are
looking for "glorified administrative assistants" under the title of
technical writer. I also have to laugh at the salaries that many of these
companies are offering. We're talking mid-30s to mid-40s in the Boston area.
I was making that kind of money over ten years ago and can hardly afford to
go back to that level. As it was, I only had one salary increase in the four
years that I worked for a start-up and even had my salary cut at one point.
So I am below the average for this area and am starting to think that I may
never achieve that salary again.

How does a writer with 12+ years experience set a value on themselves? What
is a realistic number?

Are others seeing a proliferation of military writing jobs? I have that
background, but it's at the bottom of the list of what I want to do.

How many of you that were laid off in the last year that have recently found
jobs have to work long distances away from home? I had a lead on one such
job, but had to turn it down because of my family situation. I have a
three-year-old daughter and need to be fairly close to home in case of
emergencies. Now I am wondering if I made a mistake in turning that
opportunity down.

And finally, how many of you have changed careers? I am thinking about
freelance writing as an alternative, because I have experience with all
sorts of writing.

Please excuse my rambling on for so long, but these are very real questions
that I don't have answers for. Any assistance is appreciated.


Elizabeth C. Klisiewicz

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