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On 4/18/05, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:
> Maybe, but some may not like it. In companies where the writers
> have been people with English or journalism backgrounds with
> little or no technical or product development capability, the
> writers will tend to be seen as "glorified secretaries," whose
> function is to "pretty up" materials that are authored by the
> engineers. These are the companies you just described, where
> "tech writer" is a $20/hr (or lower) office position.
> In companies where the the writers have been people with
> technical or developer backgrounds the writers will tend to be
> seen as "engineers with really great documentation skills,"
> whose function is to not only document products, but in many
> cases identify development issues and solutions. These are
> the companies where "technical writer" is a $35/hr (or higher)
> R&D position.
Sometimes it's a combination of those as well. When I was looking for
work, I was getting solicited for jobs with pay ranges starting as low
as $15 p/h and going as high as $60k yearly. Many companies have no
idea what they really want when first putting the feelers out, and
recruiters are so desperate to earn commissions from placing people
that they'll grab anyone's resume they can and try to squeeze them
into the job, without really realizing what the competency level or
qualifications of the person are. Not to mention that companies'll
change requirements midway through, and disqualify you if you don't
meet them...even if you had no idea they wanted a certain thing when
you first started. ;)
My current job doesn't pay as well as I'd want it to, but it's
creative and challenging, and I'm being treated well by my co-workers
so far. Having a second job gave me the strength to negotiate and the
ability to accept the downsides. Always make sure to have aces up the
sleeve when job hunting, because the more desperate you seem, the more
companies will be willing to pay you less for more work.
Donna, as far as your situation goes, let me ask this: What is the
general job market like in Colorado these days? Do you live in or near
a major city, like Denver or Boulder? What were the traditional venues
for tech comms in your area to find work, and if that's changed, what
do you think the causes are?
There is *never* a lack of need for good tech comms in the metro D.C.
area. I've been trying to convince a friend of mine in Indianapolis
who needs work to move back here. Even after settling into my job,
I'm still getting calls and emails almost every day from companies and
recruiters who need my skills. It's good for the ego. :)
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