Re: Can this career be saved?

Subject: Re: Can this career be saved?
From: beelia <beelia -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2011 20:19:59 -0700

Hi Al,

I was with you until you mentioned Silicon Valley. I've been employed
steadily here since 1992 (except for a year off after an accident), and now
business has picked up considerably. There are contract TW listings popping
up on Dice daily. Occasionally there are telecommute gigs, though they are
all local to the Bay Area.

During the dot-com boom, contract salaries were double what they are now - I
was making $70/hr. in 2000. But that was Tulipomania - those days are gone
forever.

I'm not saying it's easy for tech writers who are out of work here, but it's
easier than it's been for quite some time, and it's probably better than
most other tech centers (Boston, Raleigh, Portland and Seattle are some
other good bets).

Bee

On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 4:46 AM, Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>wrote:

> 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
> Website: www.geistassociates.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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References:
Can this career be saved?: From: Becca
Re: Can this career be saved?: From: Deborah Hemstreet
RE: Can this career be saved?: From: Al Geist

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