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RE: real tech writers? RE: Out-of-Work Tech Writers and Switching Careers
Subject:RE: real tech writers? RE: Out-of-Work Tech Writers and Switching Careers From:Steven Brown <stevenabrown -at- yahoo -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Tue, 25 Jun 2002 12:45:29 -0700 (PDT)
As usual, you're on target.
Having just gone through a three-month period of
unemployment, I know how hard it is to decline even
those positions that pay substandard rates/salaries.
Although we can encourage each other to do the same,
there will always be writers willing to accept low
wages. And I can understand why they do; principles
are easy to uphold when you've got $25,000 in the bank
account, but when you're not flushing the toilet every
time in an effort to save on the water bill, your
worldview is much different.
Ironically, a week into my new job, my prior employer
asked me to help them update their (my?)
documentation. I was their sole writer, so who better?
I quoted them a reasonable rate, but I never heard
back from them. These are the same people who, prior
to my joining the company a year ago, bought but
discarded RoboHelp because it was too complicated.
Even corporations must sleep in the beds they make!
Maybe they'll find someone to do the work for half my
price, but I have to believe that a series of small,
bad decisions culminates in systemic failures.
If there's any consolation in the predicament of the
technical writing profession, it's this: I don't think
it's much different within other professions. Look at
all the poorly designed B2B software that's out there.
(Hey, we document it so we know just how shabby it can
be.) How much of that was designed by programmers who
entered their line of work, not because they're
passionate about technology, programming, and solving
problems, but because the media told them that they
could make a lot of money with only a few classes in
C++ or Java under their cell-phone-laden belts? How
much more successful would these projects have been
had they been run and designed by true, hardcore
programmers supported by business analysts who were
true subject matter experts?
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