Re: Where did you get your feet wet

Subject: Re: Where did you get your feet wet
From: "CB Casper" <knowone -at- surfy -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2005 06:01:34 -0800

Graduate in 1978 with a combo degree in Aeronautical
Mechanical engineering, and being totally ignorant
and lazy, took the only job offered to me from the
on-campus recruiters. Boeing Aerospace hired me as a
Manufacturing Engineer, and until then I didn't even
know such a job existed. Taking engineering drawings
and determine how to build the product and assembly,
and to write detailed instructions on how to do so.

We used an in-house system that limited us to 30 characters wide, courier 12pt text with no ability
to do any formatting. When the computer crashed, it
required coordinated re-boots from the ground floor
and the second floor. I was one of very few who liked
the technical side of the computers. I spent 6 years
with Boeing.

Honeymoon for 6 months after quitting our jobs. Similar jobs with Garrett Pneumatics and then with
Aerojet. Tools changed to paper and pencil, then I
found an un-used Mac and introduced computers to
our company. Once they saw what computers were capable
of, they bought PCs and used GEM Draw and after
merging with a sister company found they were
using Interleaf. What a contrast!

With my tech real-world background I worked to
convert PC GEM to Interleaf and merge UNIX Interleaf
with mainframe data to simplify engineering data to
manufacturing use.

Very few in the Manufacturing Engineering world have
any sort of degree, most of them came from the shop
and worked up to writing as they knew the processes
and technology involved. Until I displayed my AWS QC1
certificate (certified welding inspector), I had little credibility with the welders.

RIF from there lead me to where I am now in a large
company with managers leading tech writing departments
with dozens of technical writers. I am but a small
manager of two and also a writer covering IO products,
a weird combination of hardware and software that
doesn't fit into either internal process easily.

Note that nowhere in here is any significant writing
education. A bad teacher experience in college drove
me away from the English department to Speech.

CB - mostly OJT and good parenting

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