Re: Uplifting reading: Why Technical Writing Jobs Are Among the Best Writing Options in an Economic Depression

Subject: Re: Uplifting reading: Why Technical Writing Jobs Are Among the Best Writing Options in an Economic Depression
From: "Jerry Kindall" <j -dot- kindall -at- tecplot -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 10:33:44 -0800

Brad Whittington <brad -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> I didn't find the article all that uplifting. It seems to suffer from
> flawed reasoning.
> 1. Copywriters will suffer because companies that are selling less
> need fewer copywriters to write about the products.

If you're not selling as much, then you may well increase advertising,
assuming you are in a financial position to do so, requiring more
copywriters. (It's a good opportunity to take marketshare from your
weaker competitors if you have the resources.)

> 2. Documentation writers won't be affected because the need to
> "instruct, explain, and train" will "never diminish in times good or
> bad."

Alternatively, the release of a product in development may be delayed or
canceled altogether if the market isn't thought to be there. In my
experience, technical writers are often among the first let go in this
situation, along with testers, because they are seen as interchangeable,
or at least more so than the product engineers. (Successfully
challenging this perception is one thing that separates a senior TW from
a junior one.)

Both of these trends can mean good times for contractors, because when a
company does have a sudden need for documentation (or ad copy), it is
often too immediate and temporary to justify a full-time permanent
position. Unfortunately, you will be competing with a lot of other
laid-off TWs for contract jobs.

Jerry Kindall, SDK Technical Writer
Tecplot Inc. | Enjoy the View
Bellevue, Washington, USA

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