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Subject:RE: how bad is the job market? From:"McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> To:Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Tue, 26 Jan 2010 12:05:04 -0500
Dan Goldstein opined:
> Technical writing has been a solid profession for many decades, and it
> still is. There might not always be good jobs for tech writers in
> certain industries (e.g. software), or certain geographical areas. But
> there will always be good jobs for tech writers.
Probably quite true.
But I think this thread got started, yet again, because
what's good for "tech writers" is not always any good
for tech writer.
By that, I mean, when those software and other jobs
go... er... east?... the areas where the good jobs
still exist won't be welcoming the guys and gals who
just lost their jobs.
The locales and the industries that will still be
paying people good money to write docs will be
looking for people:
a) who have been working in that industry already
b) who have degrees in related disciplines.
The dirty trick will be that some folks will get
laid off from (say) software houses, will use their
meagre packages to sign up for 3 or 4 years of
late-middle-life degree program in (say) bio-chem,
and graduate to find that:
a) the bio-chem industry has commoditized and moved
b) the new graduate is considered way, way, way too
old to be an entry-level writer at companies that
are still on-shore (to whatever country the new
grad lives in).
For example, at 56 I don't see the percentage in
going back for a degree in something new. If I went
full-time, I'd starve (and likely find myself divorced).
If I went part-time, I'd be in my sixties and looking
to break into a new field. Possible, but incredibly unlikely.
I think, as a general rule, though, the general
description of technical writing fields that will
continue to employ writers and pay them a livable
wage are business-to-business, rather than biz-to-consumer.
That would include the chip-maker-to-chip-user scenario
as just one example.
Overall, I'd say:
- if you write docs for consumers, be uneasy
- if you write docs for technicians and engineers, be uneasy,
but at least feel you have a chance to get re-employed
if the current gig goes south.
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