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Subject:Re: Job satisfaction From:Michelle Vina-Baltsas <Michelle_Vina-Baltsas -at- US -dot- CRAWCO -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 2 Dec 1998 09:53:02 -0500
Dear Tizer & Anon,
Thank you for your very honest post. It echoes so many thoughts I have had
but haven't written about or vocalized in fear of sounding too lofty. I
could sense that you are grateful that you are employed and that you get
satisfaction in your current position. There is such a fine line between
being grateful that you have a job and being complacent. I'm happy to say
that I too am excited when I see my manuals printed and my online help used
during training classes. Talk about personal gratification!! This is
worth the #$%%$#@@ I feel sometimes. I have struggled at this job and know
from experience that job satisfaction doesn't happen overnight. I've also
learned that in many of the jobs I thought were a "waste of time", never
were. To my surprise, I absorbed knowledge from each position I've had,
and as a result, its made me more well rounded writer.
As someone else mentioned in a response to this post, it isn't easy to find
a match. Figure out what you want and try and either figure out a way to
get most of it where you are, or move on. There is an excellent article
in the September/October issue of STC's Intercom magazine - "Taking Control
of Your Goals" that addresses these issues. There is also a good article
in the current issue of Intercom called "Create Your Personal Training
Plan" that is also worth reading.
Anon, I wish you luck. It may not be a new job that you need, but a new
perpective about your current job and technical writing in general. By the
way, if you're not a member of the Society for Technical Communication
(STC) it would be a good idea to join. You'll meet lots of TW's that may
have experienced and weathered many of the same challenges you are facing.
Risk Sciences Group, NY
michelle_vina-baltsas -at- us -dot- crawco -dot- com
Please respond to f -dot- tizer -at- EXCITE -dot- COM
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
cc: (bcc: Michelle Vina-Baltsas/CRAWFORDCO/US)
I wish that I had your luck. I spent a year as an intern in the San
Francisco Bay Area to gain some experience, which the internship never
really provided and I had to survive on $7 hr and support my family.
I had been making $40k a year as CNA. I took a big chance and a big
financial hit because I wanted to write, not nurse.
After the internship, I went job hunting and I was desperate. It showed all
over my face. When I went for my first real Technical Writing job, I jumped
at the chance. The downside was is that I did not negotiate well and they
had set their pay to 26K a year. In the bay area, that's poverty line. I
took it because I needed some real experience.
A few months latter I was promoted to manager and given a 3k raise. That
little to help my financial situation and my stress level has gone through
the roof. When I tried to hire other writers at 26k a year, I was greeted
with a mixture of disbelief, horror, howls of laughter and anger.
On the positive side I've written four manuals in one year, edited
others, convinced the company to switch to Frame from WP and put together a
small tech writing department.
The flip side of that is I live from paycheck to paycheck and struggle with
incredible stress. Why do I do it? I love to write and I love to see what I
created go to clients. Why did you become a Tech Writer?
So, in my opinion, you may be bored, but you're not struggling financially.
Unfortunately this company cannot afford to pay me what I want so next
I'll be out there looking for another challenging position.
In the end you may find that no matter where you are, you will find that
bosses and non-tech writers haven't a clue what you do.
You get little thanks for what you do. In addition, 90% is spent
Not writing. At least that's what I have found.
The "Big Picture" as you put it never presented itself to me I had to learn
a whole new software system on my own with no training and they are still
making changes daily. Evergreen documents are a way of life here.
As for engineers, I often find that the best way to get them to talk is to
offer them some home made cookies and bring a tape recorder, pen & pad.