Re: Coming from the Other Side

Subject: Re: Coming from the Other Side
From: Win Day <win -dot- day -at- FREENET -dot- TORONTO -dot- ON -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 17:43:12 -0500

I made the switch from the "techie" side, too - I'm a chemical engineer
by training and a techwhirler by preference! I found myself enjoying
those projects the most where I was "last one on" and thus responsible
for operating and startup manuals for the refinery and chemical
processing unit we had just designed. I also enjoyed the front end of
projects where I helped write something called a Design Basis Memorandum.
(DBM's are multi-volume documents that define everyting the engineers of
all disciplines need to actually design the unit.)

I also spent about a year in the marketing department for an engineering
company. I was responsible for all proposals and marketing materials, and
did everything from writing through editing through production through
overall document management and archiving. _That_ was the best year I had
at that company!

I left engineering mostly because I had hit the glass ceiling with a
resounding thump. I decided to get out and do something different. I now
freelance, and find I prefer both working for myself and working in

To tie this into another recent thread, I still have problems sometimes
getting information from male SME's, I can talk their language!

On Mon, 9 Jan 1995, Beverly Parks wrote:

> > Chuck Blessing wrote--
> > I've just recently come over from the other side (systems
> > analyst/programmer for ten years) and I am currently working on a user
> > guide for a software system my company is developing.

> Chuck,

> I envy you for having made the move from the "other side." I am
> presently a computer specialist (programmer/analyst) with a tech
> writer/copy editor inside me screaming to get out! Because I
> work for the Army, it is not easy to just "make the switch."
> Plus, there are grade and pay scales to deal with. The hard
> truth is that tech writers/editors don't average the same pay
> grade as a computer specialist. So, in that respect, making the
> switch would be scary. (BTW, I'm not *in* the Army; I'm a
> civilian employee.)

> As it is, I finagle all the assignments I can where I am
> responsible for documentation. For instance, when the development
> team I'm on now was forming, they needed somebody to "do
> documentation" so I quickly volunteered. Primarily I'm
> responsible for the software users guides. I've also participated
> on several special committees where I usually volunteer to take
> care of the documentation QA in addition to my regular
> contribution. These actions have fostered an excellent reputation
> for me in my organization to the point of people in other divisions
> asking me to review stuff for them.

> Tell me, how did you do it?

> (Is there anyone else on the list who has made a similar career
> move?)

> Beverly Parks
> bparks -at- huachuca-emh1 -dot- army -dot- mil

|Win Day | "With a voice of singing |
|Technical Writer/Editor | declare ye this, |
|Email win -dot- day -at- torfree -dot- net | and let it be heard..." |

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