Re: Where did you get your feet wet?

Subject: Re: Where did you get your feet wet?
From: "Gerald Bourguignon" <gbourguignon -at- johnstonmadvac -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 15:59:39 -0400

> Hi Y'all -
> Several of these threads have gotten me wondering how most of us got
> involved in tech writing to begin with.
> Thanks!
> Lori

Chiming in a bit late on this thread but thought it would be a good place to

After completing an apprenticeship and working as a machinist for several
years, I decided to go back to school. I took technical writing mainly
because it was suggested to me by HR people. I had taken a company-sponsored
night course in method study and the prof was impressed by the report I had
written. He basically told me that I could write, that I could do better
than operating machine tools, and that I should consider a career in
engineering technology. However, when I spoke to the people in HR they told
me that they had more trouble finding good technical writers than they did
engineering technologists. So, a few weeks later when I was laid off, I
enrolled in the technical writing program at the local community college.

I did my co-op with the same company where I had worked as a machinist, and
ended up writing an SGML primer at the suggestion of the tech pubs manager.
My first job offer out of college came from an SGML solutions company. I
worked there for 2 years as an instructor, then landed a job as a junior
writer for a company that developed document management software. I left
about 2 years later to work for an aerospace company as a publications
analyst, where my main task was validating SGML data. Less than a year later
I decided to go back to the previous employer, where I stayed for about
another 5 years.

I'm currently the lone writer in a manufacturing company, which is exactly
the type of place I thought I'd end up when I graduated from college 11
years ago (because of my experience in manufacturing as a machinist). Now I
write service bulletins instead of readme's.

So that's the very condensed version of my journey thus far...

Gérald Bourguignon
Rédacteur technique/Technical Writer
Madvac Inc., Boucherville, QC, Canada


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