Re: Career-switching

Subject: Re: Career-switching
From: "Callaghan, Dennis V." <dcallaghan -at- SUNGARD -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 09:22:34 EST

Greetings, fellow TECHWR-Lers.

I joined the technical communication world a little over two months
ago when I started an entry-level technical writing position with a
financial industry software company in Philadelphia. Prior to that I
had been a newspaper reporter for 2 1/2 years. (In between, I worked
for a casino in Atlantic City for a year and nine months, but I don't
talk about that).

I'm sure many of you have made similar transitions from news writing
to tech writing, and I'd like to share your insights on making that
transition. Certainly the money and opportunities, both short- nd
long-term, are better in the technical communication field and the
hours tend to be more reasonable as well. But how do you deal with
deadlines that tend to be long range rather than daily? How do you get
a sense of accomplishment or feeling of making a contribution to your
company when you can work on a project for months on end without
seeing the results, when before you needed only to pick up that day's
paper to see what you had done lately.

How do you cope with a subject matter that is often duller and less
comprehensible than what you used to report on? Has the camaraderie of
the newsroom been adequately replaced by your current office
environment or do you feel isolated because you work in documentation?
And do you miss the "free spirit" types you worked with in your
reporting days? Finally, have you settled on this field as your career
or are you just doing it for now because you can, and jobs are
available, but you have your sights set on making another career
change down the road?

Answers to these questions and any other insights you could provide as
well as tips for avoiding news writing practices/styles that aren't
welcome in tech writing would be most appreciated.

- Dennis Callaghan
SunGard Capital Markets Inc.
Philadelphia, Pa.
dcallaghan -at- sungard -dot- com


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