It happens to all of us. The lulls. Maybe you just started your job, or maybe you’ve been there for years, but sooner or later you’ll hit a point where the work is just not coming your way. So what can you do? This two-part piece will help ensure that you constantly have the opportunity to show your talents.
One way to ensure a constant work flow is to be a hunter. What does this mean? Hunters are able to seek out and find opportunities that were not directly presented to them. Being a hunter is important in the technical writing world. Never assume people realize their documentation needs, let alone are aware there is someone in the office who can help. These four steps will help you find the need in your office.
1. Ask your lead
Simple as it is, your lead or supervisor may know where the work is. There may be projects in the pipeline or things going through development. Either way, never assume your plate is empty until you talk with someone a bit higher up.
2. Ask other leads
So you spoke with your lead and they’re about as clueless as you are. No worries. At this point, you should have a handle on your organization and the people you were hired to help. Reach out to the leads informally (hallway chats, swing by their office). Ask if they see any writing needs in their group. Leads should have a clear idea of what documentation is missing from their teams and will be able to point you in the right direction.
Talk to your lead about advertising your services. All-hands or quarterly meetings are a great time to speak to your coworkers. Put together a short PowerPoint presentation. Tell them what services you offer, what benefit you bring, and how they can go about requesting your assistance. This will allow you to reach out to everyone and let them know you are there to make their jobs easier.
Documents still not pouring in? Do some digging yourself. Find documents that have fallen out of date, get the okay from your lead, and start updating them yourself. People will be thanking you when they ask for the “latest version” of a document and they get something updated within the last year.
About the Author
Greta Boller is a technical writer located in the Washington, D.C. area. For more information, please visit her bio page.