From MD to Tech Writer?

Subject: From MD to Tech Writer?
From: "USA::SOM24502" <SOM24502%USA -dot- decnet -at- USAV01 -dot- GLAXO -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 1994 13:10:00 EDT

Ole Aassar wrote:

"I am a radiology resident at a West Coast medical center
currently considering a career change-possibly into the field of technical
communications/medical writing.

Ole, surely you jest. You've put in all those years and racked up all
those student loans and NOW you decide to become a tech writer? I don't
know what salaries are on the West Coast, but here in North Carolina,
radiologists just out of school make well over $150,000/yr. An experienced
senior-level tech writer might make $50,000 if she is extremely lucky. Tech
writers generally work for consulting firms that offer little or no
retirement benefits, so you would have to save for retirement while you
were also paying off those student loans (eg, paying for your past and
your future while also trying to have a present).

If you weren't already a resident, I might ask you about your personality
traits, aspirations etc, but you're almost out. I think I have a pretty
high degree of job satisfaction, but I can tell you this, I wouldn't be
a tech writer if I didn't have to work for a living. If I were a radiologist
I would only have to work one day for every three or four I work now, and
I probably wouldn't have to save for retirement.

If your heart is set on being a tech writer, take my advice: Go ahead and
finish med school, become a radiologist. Then use that high high salary to
pay off your student loans and save for retirement (live on 50K a year,
use the other 100-200K for savings, that way you'll get used to the tech
writer standard of living). It should only take you a couple of years. Oh
yeah, if you decide to stay in California, get used to the idea of never
being able to own a house.

Best of luck,

Sue McCullough

Senior Technical Writer
Glaxo, Inc. RTP, NC
som24502 -at- GLAXO -dot- com

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