Re: A dark take on Tech you agree?

Subject: Re: A dark take on Tech you agree?
From: "Jerry Kindall" <j -dot- kindall -at- tecplot -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2008 12:30:14 -0800


I too find that having a day job that involves writing tends to use up
all my "writing mojo." I am not much interested in more than blogging
outside of work hours, and even that not frequently anymore.

I can imagine your frustration, since you were having some success
getting published. I used to be really interested in writing science
fiction, but I was never much better than mediocre at it, so letting it
fall by the wayside wasn't hard. I do intend to try again after I
retire. Anything I can earn with my writing at that point will be
gravy, after all, so I can do it solely for my own enjoyment.

Getting back to the article, it doesn't really match my experience. I
have found that the companies I've worked for care deeply about
documentation. (Possibly this is selection bias due to the kind of work
I do. Documentation is much of the value of an SDK.)

While it may be true that technical writers don't get promoted to
executive positions, I don't know any technical writers who _want_ to be
executives. If they did, they'd have gone for MBAs rather than
writing-related degrees (not that they all have writing-related degrees
either). Contrary to the article, too, most of the executives I have
worked with have understood very well the value of good writing, and I
have often ended up collaborating with VPs on various kinds of
documents, which has been both fun and _excellent_ for my visibility
within these companies.

I just turned 40 and have actually been wondering lately why I don't
seem to have a "career." Learning that, as a tech writer, I'm not
supposed to has actually made me feel much better! ;-) Seriously, as
long as I have stable work, am earning well, and have a variety of
interesting challenges to work on with smart people, all of which are
true, what more do I really want out of my work?

The idea that everyone will just naturally end up as a manager (or an
executive) is utterly impratical -- there simply aren't enough
positions! I imagine that leaves people in many careers continually
fighting with their peers over a management job none of them really
would enjoy, rather than cooperating and collaborating, which they might
find more rewarding. Perhaps this is why I have found so many of my
positions virtually free of nasty office politics. This seeems a fair
enough trade for the fact that I'll never make VP -- and it may explain
why people often say I look ten years younger than I really am.

Quoth "CL T" <straylightsghost -at- gmail -dot- com>:
> It's funny. Because of this article I've actually escalated the
decision to
> change my career. It made me think, evaluate and reconsider what I do.
> While I get paid very well in this job (I live in Utah and am on par
> the high side of national averages) and I enjoy what I do, I have
noticed my
> desire to write decreasing. I no longer have much desire to "write for
> I kinda want that back...I used to love writing my own stuff, crafting
> work and sending it out. I wasn't "rich" doing it, but I did have a
> publish rate and was working into the mainstream for much of my work.
Now? I
> just don't want to do the same "job" at home.
> Anyone else have that reaction? I'll always "do" tech writing, I just
> think I'll be a "tech writer" for much longer.
> -Collin


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