I like being a tech writer. I've mentioned before why I chose this field above journalism or translation - because I didn't want to be treated like crap in either one, and besides, I can do both on the side; a tech writer on the other hand is a specialist, working at a company full of specialists, and if you're lucky, run by specialists. You're treated with respect, because you are the guy that can do what nobody else can in an environment of guys who can do what nobody else can; if you're at the sort of company that hires the best people, you will notice that your coworkers are generally very secure people. Their egos are nourished by the constant affirmation of their greatness. I cannot overemphasize how beneficial such a thing is to one's people skills.
That said, I did make certain trade-offs. I like my current employer for their policy of "as long as the job gets done" - I quit my first tech writing job, despite the fact that there were some very likeable people working there and I got to go to the USA on the company dollar, because it was run by fans of the Puritan work ethic. Now, I can surf all day and nobody gives a shit, as long as my tasks are finished on time and with decent quality; and because I am both very good and very quick at what I do, my job remains fundamentally unstressful. I could be making more money - I've recently met a tech writer from Capital City and was appalled to hear how much he was getting paid - but for now at least, I'm comfortable with the status quo.
So it is quite interesting to read Opinionista's tales of woe, especially considering that from what I gather, a lot of her work is actually very similar to mine - writing and proofing documents, searching for deeply hidden information, etc. I like Opinionista, maybe it's because she spoke kindly of Antyx despite refusing, for understandable reasons, to link here from her blog (as opposed to the asshole from Gizmodo who reported on the Geek Grail wrist keyboard based on my tip, and didn't even include a "Thanks for the tip"). Or maybe it's transfer of the affection I should be feeling for my sister, who is also a lawyer, but a person I manifestly dislike.
I don't have an insightful point for you today, except maybe that what sort of money you get and what you need to sacrifice for it doesn't always depend on your job description. You could be a technical writer working nine-to-five and blogging out of boredom, or you could be a legal writer working now-to-tomorrow and blogging out of annoyance. If you've made a conscious decision and know what you're doing - well, good for you.
2 months ago