A Look Back and a Look to the Future
I’ve found myself in the usually unenvied circumstance of needing to update my resume and LinkedIn profile this week. Sometimes you can see it coming, and sometimes it takes you mostly by surprise.
Still, it was a little reassuring to have the project leaders and teams I was working with express, in their bewilderment, their appreciation for the work I’d done and the work we had planned for me to do. It is nice to know you’ll be missed. Though I believe that one of the measures of a person’s impact is what they say about you when you’re gone. I hope what my former colleagues have to say about me is good and that I haven’t left a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.
And though it’s time to look to the future, I’d like to take a brief look at where the past has brought me over the last seven years.
In July of 2005, when I was hired as a technical writing intern for the LDS Church, I was only two months out of Utah State University, eager to prove that I had what it took to make it in the software industry and write killer documentation. Boy, I had a lot to learn. And I hope that I learned it.
As I updated my resume, I wondered at the list of things I could put under the title “Senior Technical Writer.” When I was hired in 2005, I’d barely heard of RoboHelp, and I don’t think anyone had heard of Flare except the company that was building it.
I had no clue what Agile development is—heck, I don’t think I even knew what waterfall development is.
Yet my education and activities at Utah State prepared me enough for the internship that it was my springboard, just as it should be. And the internship became a full-time position that lasted almost seven years.
One of the most important things I learned is that helping the audience reach their goals is the most important purpose of tech comm.
I learned that management is more than managing—it’s also caring about those you are assigned to lead.
I learned that I had ideas that I could contribute to the worldwide community of technical communicators, that I had something to say that was worthwhile to some.
And I learned that you have people all across the spectrum of thought regarding how important technical communication is. I learned how important it is to find someone in upper management levels who believes in it and will be an advocate in the organization.
While every day I gave God thanks for my job, especially in a widespread recession, to some degree I still took for granted what I had. At the same time, I appreciate what I’ve gained.
Time to look to the future. Right now, there’s a big question mark in front of me. But it will move aside in time. I’m ready for what’s next.
Due to a number of factors, I neglected this blog for ten months. The interesting thing is that, judging by the number of subscribers, most of you stuck with me through the dearth. I’m glad you’re still out there.
I have a request for you, and you probably aren’t completely taken by surprise by this. If you know of an organization looking for technical writers, or you are looking for more for your organization, please let me know. There are a few of us looking for work, and I promise you, we’re good. I don’t say that to brag, but it was a privilege for me to work on the User Education team with highly talented and intelligent people. You won’t regret hiring any of us.
To contact me about technical writing or related opportunities, email me at btminson at gmail dot com.