Technical Writing Blues

I’m in a mood. Probably too much sugar and chocolate, which lifts my mood for awhile, but then I crash. this dark place is interesting – sterile, bland and stale – beige. It’s like being in a room that has no operable windows and a door, but no exit. So this is a bit of a rant.

I have to admit that I will probably never work as a technical writer again. The world has changed, and I need to stop carrying a torch for a profession that has no place for me. There is no work here in Indianapolis for knowledge workers like me. The trilobites who usually hire me have no idea of what I can do or how I can serve their project, and they certainly don’t want to pay me what I’m worth.

I see lots of cool ads, but it always seems technical writing is paired with another skill set that I don’t have. Technical Writer/Developer. Technical Writer/Programmer. Technical Writer/ Clinical Trials Scientist. I tried to go back to school to do web design, but they were too busy with the twenty-somethings in class to teach to someone in their 50’s like me. And I would exchange one high-pressure job for another. There is not as much overlap as I thought. So I left, and am glad I did.

I would love to learn Adobe more, but when the Creative Suite, or Technical Communications Suite are over $2000 a copy and clients are not to be found I can’t justify the expense. It’s not just the software, it’s the hardware, training and experience that can make Adobe products productive. And I need to get over my Applephobia – my last exposure to Apple products was so traumatizing that I’d really like someone to prove to me that all the arrogance is justified.

I want to be part of the team, not just “sitting in on team meetings”. I want my bosses to pay attention to what I say because it will save them time, money and contribute to the bottom line. I see documentation as an asset. Why don’t they? So maybe I should stop loving this field, but I’ll always carry a torch for it.


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