RE: Questions on the Business End of Things

Subject: RE: Questions on the Business End of Things
From: "John Rosberg" <jrosberg -at- interwoven -dot- com>
To: <jon -at- htmhell -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2006 08:04:41 -0500


I don't know many VPs that started as Tech Writers, but I do know one or

I know of a larger number of Director-level positions in the Technical
Communication field.

I know of a larger number of "writers" who have risen to Director and VP
level jobs by combining their writing skills with other areas --
training, marketing communications, and customer support all come to
mind as good examples.

I know of no, zero, zip, nada positions, however, that pay anywhere near
the salary you seem to seek that do not require specialized knowledge.
That's one of the banes of specialization -- the rewards are certainly
greater, but the risk is also greater -- like most everything else, yes?

No one else can comment or provide any insight as to your standard of
living comment --

You seem to wish to increase your earning power -- nothing wrong with
that, we all do. In that light, though, I find your comment about
companies wishing to acquire talent as cheaply as possible a bit odd. Of
course they do, just like you wish to increase YOUR earning potential.

There is no earthly reason for a company to pay $X for a skill or
service unless it is worth $X on the market -- if, for instance, $250K
per year was someone's stated goal, technical writing would not be a
rational choice for that person.

This could just a less-than-first-class-example of they way you view
things (we writers often write in an unclear manner when "off the
clock," I've noticed {me, too}) -- sadly, it is also an example of why
not many folks who start as writers wind up at a VP level -- at that
altitude, it is ALL about the business side of things, and not at all
about the writing side of things.

If you wish to increase your earning potential, I would suggest figuring
out a way to increase your potential value to an employer. It is a
two-way relationship -- to get more, ya gotta give more, yes?

Lastly, I agree -- Technical Writing may be a dead end job for you. For
others, likely not.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Steiner [mailto:jon -at- htmhell -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 8:33 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Questions on the Business End of Things

Hi Folks,

Long time lurker, first time poster.


What technical writing jobs that you know of pay more than $100K per
year on the East Coast?

I see jobs for Senior Technical Writer on the west coast that pay $120K,

however with the cost of Silicon Valley living, I couldn't see my
standard of living being better by moving there.

Question 2:

Do you know of anyone who has ever risen beyond TW to become a VP at a
company? I think TW is a dead-end job. You become a Senior TW, then a
Principal TW or a Team Lead or a TW Manager, but it doesn't go any
higher from there. And I think most companies would have a coronary
before paying someone with 'writer' in his/her title more than $100K

Granted, some people don't want to go 'higher', and 'higher' is, after a

certain point, merely a frame of mind anyway.

Some arcane subspecialties command $100K, however, they usually specify
years of specialized knowledge (usually which a company wishes to
acquire as cheaply as possible). Additionally, they are tied to the
fortunes of that industry (I'm thinking specifically of finance writers
who were laidoff en-masse between 2000 and 2004).

Any recruiters who know of anything for a technical writer with 10 years

of experience in software and finance, contact me DIRECTLY :)

--Jon Steiner


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