Re: Aging out

Subject: Re: Aging out
From: john rosberg <john_rosberg -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 08:08:47 -0500

Gene Kim-Eng wrote --

Probably to build up that skillset with specialized technical knowledge that the
English-major technical writers that make up the dotcom-era trained bulge in the
candidate pool. IMO, the "non-technical technical writer" who is not an SME and
interviews those who are for information and then organizes it is an endangered
species, regardless of age. The market has turned back to its pre-dotcom state,
where the most employable technical writer is someone with prior hands-on
design, support or other experience in the technology or product type being

Gene Kim-Eng

Very true, at least here in the midwest -- keep your skills up to date, market yourself appropriately, and there's little reason to age out of our profession.

Ageism doesn't seem to be quite the issue here as it is in other places (not to say it is NOT an issue, but it does seem to be less of one.)

One of the reasons is, indirectly, the off shoring of so much doc work -- several years ago, in my then role of hiring director, was having a very difficult time finding senior writers to fill several slots in my then team. While discussing this with some colleagues over a frosty beverage, one of said colleagues said something along the lines of "they've all become Project Manager, rosberg! Similar skill sets, and those gigs haven't been set overseas so much."

I think he's got something there. There are far fewer Tech Writing gigs than there were 5 years ago (again, in this area), and, therefore, way fewer candidates.

So, if you want an experienced Tech Writer round this neck of the woods, you're gonna have to hire a silverback.

Several have written about the lack of concern regarding age when it comes to engaging contract or consultant help -- their posts mirror my experience exactly. Not only do potential clients not seem to care that I voted against Nixon, they seem to find value in it.

John Rosberg
Documentation and Training
john_rosberg -at- hotmail -dot- com
2765 Deerfield Road
Riverwoods, IL 60015

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