Re: Advice for Coping Strategies

Subject: Re: Advice for Coping Strategies
From: "Bergen, Jane" <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 14:31:22 -0500

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eric J. Ray [mailto:ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM]
> Name withheld upon request. Please reply on list.
> I love the art of technical writing. But I go absolutely nuts sitting
> in a cubicle and technical writing all day! Can anyone give me any
> advice on how to cope? Does anyone else experience this
> problem, or are
> most technical writers content with the work style?

Can you give us a little more information about your situation....for
example, what is it exactly that you find boring? Is it the subject
matter? Is the company environment? Have you worked in other industries
(software vs. hardware writing, or telecom versus manufacturing, for
example)? Is it that you don't have enough, or perhaps have too much,
work to do? Are you working as a "lone writer" or part of a team?

Other questions to ask yourself are whether you're in the right
profession at all. You say you "love technical writing" but not sitting
and writing. What would you rather be doing? Maybe it's time to take a
deep breath, step back, and see what it is that you really want. Life is
too short to go through it in the wrong job, believe me. I took a
career-path workshop once and they gave us two assignments. First,
assume you have the necessary training, certification, whatever to do
the job, then detail (fantasize...but write it down) a perfect week at
work. What would you be doing? What kind of environment would you be
working in? Who would you be talking to and working with? What would be
your mission statement? If it's very different than your current
situation, take a long look at the factors that make it so.

Second workshop question: write your obituary. What do you want to be
remembered for....what kinds of honors, accomplishments, etc. do you
want to have achieved in your lifetime? When you've finished, ask
yourself what you're doing to move forward on them. This simple exercise
is sometimes very sobering.

For me, I cannot think of any other profession I'd rather be
play with computers, new technology, then be able to write about
it....and get paid for it to boot!! Wow!! I love it. If you don't have
the "Wow" factor, start looking for answers. Maybe your particular job
(company, environment, subject matter, industry) is wrong for you, but
the profession is right. That also can reveal some needed direction.

Finally, remember this: "If you do what you've always done, you'll get
what you've always got."

Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
AnswerSoft, div of Davox Corp.
Richardson, TX, USA
(972) 997-8355

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