RE: Where did you get your feet wet?

Subject: RE: Where did you get your feet wet?
From: hls_ut -at- comcast -dot- net
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 06 Jun 2005 18:41:07 +0000

There were very few technical writing programs, or even classes, when I was in school. I was going for a BA in English and in my last year thought it would be better to have more "professional" degree, so I ended up with a BS in Secondary Ed, minor in English.

Then I couldn't find work as a HS English teacher so I did whatever it took to pay bills, mostly office stuff. Since I could write, I often edited other folks letters, etc. It also seemed natural to write down the processes and procedures for the jobs I did, though most people seemed to find that odd and somehow impressive. Some of the office temp jobs officially included editing or writing, once for a scientist and another time for an engineering firm.

Seeking to leave my hour commute to minimum-wage land, I noticed an amusing, desperate-sounding classified ad for a technical writer. They'd just hired someone, but apparently they liked me so much they asked me to come work for them in their office and help the real writer. The best thing that ever happened to me.

Tiny software startup with really inspiring people. What an education! I'm not a technical person, but that intimate setting was a great opportunity. I learned how those adorable geeks think, how to communicate with them, how maintain mutually beneficial, respectful relationships. Learned lots about managing work and about good s/w development practices.

When the tech writer left after year, I assumed the position. After several years the start-up was sold to a Very Large Corporation, and much to my amusement and amazement, I'm still here. Mostly I've been lone-writer, but sometimes have been part of a larger group. Though I'm sure I'd benefit from being more technical, things have worked out well for me so far. I can't see myself doing anything else!

--------------------hls_ut -at- comcast -dot- net


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