RE: Where did you get your feet wet?

Subject: RE: Where did you get your feet wet?
From: Lori Olcott <lori_olcott -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005 23:57:14 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Y'all -

Thank you to everyone who answered my question. It was fascinating to see
so many different backgrounds and stories. I guess I should tell my tale

I graduated with a BA in Theater with a minor in Philosophy. (At least
Philosophy trains you how to write to get ideas across clearly and
distinctly, if not concisely.) Since there weren't many paying acting
gigs in Memphis, I started working the temp circuit and eventually wound
up at International Paper in an HR systems admin spot. The company was
installing a new HR system, so they didn't have any documentation. I took
it upon myself to write a user manual for my piece of it - my first
documentation! I later got picked up by Corporate Security and wound up
writing security procedural manuals for all the systems we managed. When
we brought in new systems I was usually tapped to learn it, then teach it
to everyone else. Thus training became part of my skill set.

Then I married an Army guy, and we got shipped off to Korea. (Seoul is a
very cool city, BTW.) I got hired on with IT systems at the 121st Army
Hospital on base. Again, I found myself updating WAY outdated SOP's and
writing new stuff from scratch. This was made even more interesting
because the ESL (English as a Second Language) administrators had to be
able to use them too. But I pulled it off, and got lots of compliments on
how easy my docs were to follow.

Then our tour ended and we returned to the States. My husband started law
school, so the primary bread earning fell to me. Unfortunately, my resume
was too hodge-podge for most jobs. I could claim 3-5 years
Security Admin, 1-2 years HR Admin, or 1-2 years Medical Admin. No one
seemed interested in generic systems admin, and I wasn't interested in a
job that only paid for 1-2 years experience. The only thing that I could
really claim 7-10 years in was writing. And so began my search for a tech
writing position. I'm currently temping at a pharmacology company. But
if all goes as planned, I'll be hired on their Publications team next

Plus, I really enjoy tech writing. It calls on creativity to break down
difficult procedures into easy to follow steps and to make complex
material accessible to users. It also requires logic and organizational
skills, which also appeal. Hm, get paid to do something fun. Now that's
a hard decision to make. And I hope it will serve me well - at least
until I hear back from Universal Studios. ;)


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