RE: Can this career be saved?

Subject: RE: Can this career be saved?
From: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: <dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2011 07:46:57 -0400

Hi Deborah,

While I agree with you about good writing, I tend to disagree about your
slam at Michigan. I left Michigan in 1968 and have traveled and worked in
many areas of the country since that time. In the 1970s, it was difficult to
find good paying electronics jobs in California because of a technology
"recession." The dot-com bust that hit the region 20 years later had PHds
working at Wal-Mart because of all the software companies that went
belly-up. Michigan, on the other hand, was booming (my brother and friends
worked in the industry in Ann Arbor). I currently live in Vermont where
technical writing is pretty tight. The decision by a large technology firm
to close its Vermont operations and move everything back to Germany (after
30 years in the state) is only making it worse. (If you're a software
writer, you probably have a better chance at getting work than if your
background is hardware heavy, but both fields are pretty tight.)

I have found the similar situations in Oregon, New Mexico, and Arizona when
I lived in those states. Each place has had its ups and downs....Michigan is
no different. Currently, there are opportunities in the Michigan's Southeast
(Detroit, Ann Arbor, and so on) where old auto factories are being converted
to solar panel and wind turbine production. In Holland, Michigan, a new
Lithium Ion battery manufacturing facility is being constructed that will
employ an estimated 1,000 people. (A friend is in charge of setting up the
factory.) The plant will manufacture batteries for the Chevy Volt in the
beginning and then expand to support other cars. It's changes like these
that open up opportunities, because they will require new manufacturing
procedures and training programs.

California's "silicon valley" in the early 1980s, good talkers used to be
able to increase their income every six months because there so many job
openings. Today, the same area is hit with the double whammy of high
unemployment and outrageous housing/renting costs. The weather may be great,
and California wines are excellent, but if you can't find a decent paying
job or, if you do, you can't afford a suitable apartment or house, you can't
enjoy the weather or the wines.

When I lived in Alaska (18 years), it was not exactly a hotbed for technical
writing. Yet, I found work as a field producers for national coverage of a
1,000 mile sled dog race and freelance articles from Alaska were always good
sellers. I also headed the Academic Services for a University of Alaska
Fairbanks research institute, and developed proposals for an Alaska Native
Village Corporation (I am not native) responding to local, state, and
federal RFPs. At the latter, we offered support services for government
facilities all across the country and it was quite successful. (I only left
because the kids were grown and gone, and 18 years of 50 below nothing
winters was getting tiring.)

So, every place has its ups and downs. In my opinion Michigan is coming
back, Vermont is sliding down. Regardless of the local economics, the key to
success is versatility, as I found out in Alaska, and that is what Becca
needs to focus on. If she has good writing skills, she can apply those
skills in both traditional and non-traditional situations. It all depends on
how hungry you are and how strong your writing drive is. The tools are easy
to learn....

As for Michigan....after 43 years and a lot of travels, I am retiring back
to my home state and look forward to basking in the sun on the shores of
Lake Michigan (Ludington area) with the morning paper and a hot cup of joe.

Al Geist
Technical Communicator, Help, Web Design, Video, Photography
Office/Msg: 802-872-9190
Cell: 802-578-3964
E-mail: al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com

See Also
Fine Art Photography

"We can't solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used to create
them." (Albert Einstein)

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+al -dot- geist=geistassociates -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+al -dot- geist=geistassociates -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Deborah Hemstreet
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 12:39 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Can this career be saved?



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Can this career be saved?: From: Becca
Re: Can this career be saved?: From: Deborah Hemstreet

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