RE: [BULK] Re: Questions on the Business End of Things

Subject: RE: [BULK] Re: Questions on the Business End of Things
From: Martha J Davidson <editrix -at- nemasys -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 14:40:46 -0700

comments embedded below:

At 02:05 PM 4/19/2006, Phillip Gochenour wrote:

>Sometimes just have to choose between climbing the ladder
>and being able to spend your days doing things you prefer doing.

This has become a real concern to me lately, having hit what I think is
the top-end of what I can earn as a tech writer in an area with a very
high cost of living (San Francisco). I'm also very concerned about the
"marginal" nature of being a tech writer that I've experienced in my
longer-term positions.

I have lived in San Francisco for 23 years and have worked as a
tech writer for most of that time, at various software companies
throughout the Bay Area.

My experience varies from yours in some significant ways.
Over the years, I have found jobs with increasing responsibility
and concurrent increasing recognition. I've been at my current job
with a software startup in Mountain View for three years, as
the entire pubs department (otherwise known as "lone writer")
and I'm making more money now than I've ever made before.

I didn't explicitly start out looking for a specialization, but
over the years I've found myself gravitating to documenting
software development tools, and I've had numerous people
tell me I'm good at what I do. I've found a niche where I'm
happy and where I command respect for what I do.

At this job and the one before it, I've been the first tech writer
at the company, and was given free reign to develop a
department and the processes required to get the job done.
In fact, this has become an orthogonal specialty for me--
bring me in at the beginning and let me figure out what
documentation is needed, in what formats, and let me
loose to make it happen.

I'm not sure what kinds of companies you have worked for
or what kinds of things you have documented. I suspect that
working in software tools and being self-directed have combined
to get me situations that seem ideal to me. I guess what
I'm saying is that a lot of it is your own perspective on your
career. Somehow, I've managed to attract jobs and companies
where I can thrive and make significant contributions, because
I know I can. And I doubt that I'm the only one who does this.

So, maybe I'm saying that part of it is up to you to draw
into your life the work situations that will suit your needs.
I don't know how that would look for you. I only know
that it's worked for me.

Good luck finding better situations than those you've
described so far.

Martha Jane {Kolman | Davidson}
Dances With Words
editrix -at- nemasys -dot- com

"Too many words bring about exhaustion."
--Tao Te Ching, Chapter 5 (translated by Sheets/Tovey)


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RE: [BULK] Re: Questions on the Business End of Things: From: Phillip Gochenour

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