Re: Advice for someone re-entering the work force

Subject: Re: Advice for someone re-entering the work force
From: "Meryl R. Cohen" <merylster -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 11:35:15 -0400

Ouch for your friend.

Speaking from my not quite so extrem gap, your friend is going to need
patience and persistence to find any kind of non-fastfood work. For TW she
likely needs retraining of some kind.

I missed 10 years in the TW field from 1992--2002. During this time I was in
school and then working as a professional in an unrelated area. Before I
left software TW I had a niche as a programmer-oriented writer in the
relatively small Lisp/AI area.

When I decided to go back to TW writing it took me forever to get any work.
(Most HR departments and hiring managers didn't understand how my Lisp
experience could apply in a Java world. There were many interviews where I
knew I could do the work and got passed over for the "safe" choice.) The for
a while I got only intermittent contracting.

In April of 2007 I landed a full time job again. Why and how?
The contracting experience and writing samples finally provided some recent
job experience credibility.
I took a Java class. I learned technology and concepts from my contracting.
Through this whole time I lived in the same community and had the same
friends and contacts as I had had before I took my 10-year detour.

The job I was offered came through a combination of a friend/contact working
at the company and the hiring manager being someone in engineering at one of
the places I had contracted.

Your friend will need retraining and reestablishing her technical network.
If her love is now in social service work she should spend her retraining
and job-seeking effort there. If she really wants to get back into TW then
classes, offering to do some volunteer TWing to get samples, etc. Also,
especially with her job history and the current economy contacts and
connections are crucial.

And yes, the EX-H should support her and her schooling as needed.


On Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 1:02 PM, Mary Headley <mkheadley80503 -at- yahoo -dot- com>wrote:

> Hello,
> A friend who I used to work when we were both technical writers has asked
> for advice about re-entering the work force after 20 years .

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Advice for someone re-entering the work force: From: Mary Headley

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