Asking for opinions about this job

Subject: Asking for opinions about this job
From: Me Too <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 10:55:17 -0800 (PST)

I'd like to ask what other people think about my
situation. Lately I have been having misgivings about
my job and my position in this company, and I'd like
to know the thoughts of others who may have more
experience. Do I have a legitimate reason to feel
badly about my current situation, or am I just being
too sensitive?

I'm the only tech writer in a software development
company that has almost 60 people in the engineering
group. That includes software developers, QA techs,
customer engineering techs, DBAs, and business
analysts, and doesn't include the execs. When I
started here about 3 years ago, there were fewer than
20 people total, counting me. Since then they've been
constantly hiring in all other fields and still are.

When I started I understood I would be the only tech
writer in the bunch. I also understood they planned to
more than triple in size over the next few years. I
assumed their expansion plans included the
documentation section. I thought that was a reasonable
assumption. When I was almost two years into the job I
found they have absolutely no plans to ever hire any
other tech writers. So, no matter how long I remain
here, I will always be the only documentation person.
I have no backup of any kind and have to perform every
function in the document production/management process

My duties include preparing documentation that goes to
the customers. That means user guides, design
documents, requirement documents, system architecture
diagrams, disaster recovery procedures, etc. There are
three major product lines that I have to support, with
tremendous differences between them that have to be
reflected accurately in the documents. Each project
involves at least half a dozen documents, the smallest
of which averages more than 170 pages. My superiors
have told me that every document I send out, including
the first drafts, have to be as close to perfect as
they can possibly be made.

I also have to:
- Create and maintain templates that the business
analysts can use to make other documents for the
- Write and maintain documents used in SAS 70
audits, Sarbanes-Oxley audits, and CISP audits.
- Write and maintain internal procedures like
network security measures, guides to supporting and
securing the databases, user guides for the bug
tracking system, etc.
- Produce materials to introduce new hire
programmers to our software, including function
overviews, flow charts, diagrams that detail the build
process, architecture and lifecycle documents, etc.
- Produce and maintain API documents for our Java
source code.
- Reverse-engineer our source code and create UML
diagrams. There are 21 source code libraries which,
between them, contain almost 19,000 Java files. This
part of the job is going pretty slow, especially as
I'm working on a laptop that has 512MB of RAM, and the
software I use wants a Gigabyte. I cannot get a
replacement; all the new dual-processor systems the
company is getting are earmarked for the consultants
they're hiring for special projects.

I feel kind of overloaded and a bit ticked off about
the lack of any kind of job mobility. I'd like some
opinions - do this position or workload seem
unreasonable to anyone else? I would appreciate advice
on how to deal with the situation.

If it matters, I'm genuinely not looking for pity. I
sincerely want to know if others feel my situation is
out of the ordinary, or if this sort of thing is
generally considered acceptable. The input would help
me decide my course of action. Thanks.

PS: The job market for technical writing where I live
*REALLY* sucks.

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