I spend most of my time on this blog trying to give tips and tricks on how to improve as a technical writer. But at times, we simply need examples of what not to do. Today, we continue the story of the worst technical writing coworker I’ve ever dealt with. Out of respect for those involved, names have been changed. Out of respect for you, everything else is told exactly as it occurred. The six-part series continues here.
When I first told people I became a technical writer, there was one question that came up time and time again. “What do you want to do? You know… after?” At first, the question baffled me. There was an after? What was my next career step? Am I going to be a technical writer forever? Is that okay? If you’re there too, take some deep breaths with me. There may not be one answer, but here are a few jumping off points to consider.
Recently, I was interviewed and asked what defines success as a technical writer. I mulled over the question for a bit, wrote a draft or two, and found myself completely stuck. Despite it being a goal of mine, I couldn’t put pen to paper. What does a successful technical writer look like? How can we define it?
Those of you who know me personally know that I love to joke about how I have four jobs. Now let me be clear, I have a single employer, receive a single paycheck, and supposedly work a 40 hour week. Nonetheless, I have found myself with four bosses, at various locations, assigning me a multitude of different tasks. So how did I get here? And more importantly, how do I manage?
Within any office a technical writer joins, there are documentation needs. That’s why they were hired. Maybe there’s a consistent influx of work, or maybe there is a long list they need to work through. Either way, technical writers are brought into offices to create documents for the good of the office. What many people overlook, however, are fundamental documents they think they can do without.