Re: request for info on possible tech writing career

Subject: Re: request for info on possible tech writing career
From: Bill Bledsoe <Bill -dot- Bledsoe -at- CMS-STL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 13:37:00 -0600

Blaine, list,

Whoa!!!! This sounds so errie to me... Blaine, I made the very same
career move you are comtemplating... almost 5 years ago. I was a golf
professional in the PGA at a local club here in St. Louis... when as my
wife puts it "I went out and got a real job" as a technical writer with
a large financial company based here. <MCA, MS, no laughing!>

Anywho... I have to say it was the best decision I've ever made. I've
been very pleased with my decision... and I now enjoy playing golf more
than I ever did in the golf business.

Two things to think about... One, if you're at a private club, look no
further than the member roster for a job lead. That's how I got my
first break. The people I met at the club I was at have been invaluable
contacts through out my business career.

Two: I had a degree in Journalism <and I had the member in my corner
too> so it was a bit easier to say that I was a compotent writer.
But... I certainly didn't have any engineering samples to show them. I
did however have things like:

* the golf shop operations manual that I had written <including complete
procedures on how to open, use, & close the shop's POS/Inventory
Management/Handicaping/Tournament system>
* the caddie instructional class materials and caddie manuals I had
written
* all of the operational support stuff I'd done <like logs, forms, etc>
* a lot of customer service experience
* an interest in technical issues

Where can you go? You can go as far as you want in this field. I think
your ambition is your only true limit. Now, I've written
object-oriented design documents, business policies and proceedures,
SEI/QA policies & proceedures, I got involved in STC <which I think is a
much better deal for the $95 we spend compared to my $400 PGA yearly
dues!> and I'm really into online information delivery and usability.

I would whole-heartedly recommend that you "go for it" and take the
jump. I also think you're at an advantage being in Canada, in that
business there tends to operate in a more "process-driven" fashion...
and we all know what drives a process... say it with me...
documentation.

If you want to know more specifics... feel free to email me privately.
Until then... I'm going see if I can get the Twilight Zone theme music
to quit playing in my cube. ;-)

F. Blaine Dickson wrote:
>
> Thank you to those who already responded to my private requests. I would
> appreciate other opinions on a tech writing career.
>
> My name is Blaine, and I am an unemployed golf professional in Kelowna BC,
> Canada (sounds like something I would say at an AA meeting :-) ). I
> contacted this list because I thought I could receive some competent
> information about becoming a technical writer.
>
> I am in the midst of changing careers. I have been a golf profesional for
> the past two years, but only 7 months of employment per year at slave wages
> has convinced me that I need something more stable in my life to pursue my
> financial goals as well as pay off some student loan debt. :-) I am a
> graduate of the University of Victoria (1989) with a BA in psychology. I
> spent 5 years with our provincial government's Ministry of Social Services,
> working in their financial services dept., but I left that job because I
> found it unfulfilling. I became a golf professional because I desired an
> occupation that was fun while also providing me with an opportunity to be
> employed in something I enjoyed doing. Nonetheless, it has not worked out
> that way, so I am looking for work in another field of endeavor.
>
> I have used a few career search programs to find out what would be suitable
> to my interests and my individual strengths. I am a critical thinker,
> analytically oriented, and I like research and things scientific. I
> consider myself to be a good writer with excellent communication skills and
> an ability for being able to explain things in a manner that less technical
> people can understand. Lastly, I am computer literate in DOS and Windows,
> but computer savvy in the Macintosh world. Based on these criteria, almost
> every career search in which I have participated has produced Technical
> Writing as a potential career. I do not have a degree in English or
> Journalism, but I am a competent writer who is an excellent communicator,
> and technically oriented and experienced. My technical writing experience
> has included research reports and some informal job description manuals.
>
> Well, to make a long story short, I am seeking advice from you about the
> technical writing industry. Who would I apply to for jobs based on my
> limited experience? Do you think I have what it takes to be a technical
> writer? What are the salaries like? What could I do to help myself obtain
> employment? What do you look for when hiring? What do you look for on a
> resume when hiring?
>
> Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to
> hearing from any of you. TIA.
>
> *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
> F. Blaine Dickson, B.A.
> CPGA ELITE Golf Professional
> Kelowna BC Canada
>
> "Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda
>
> *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**~*~*~*~*~

And YODA's advice does hold true... in both your golf game and in
Techwrling...

cheers,

--
************************************************************
Bill Bledsoe
Senior Technical Writer - CMS
St. Louis, MO
Bill -dot- Bledsoe -at- cms-stl -dot- com or intlidox -at- anet-stl -dot- com
webmaster: St. Louis Chapter - STC <www.stc.org/region6/stl>

"The Internet is the first thing that
humanity has built that humanity doesn't
understand," Eric Schmidt, CTO Sun 10/18/96
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