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The Mystery Candidate Is Closer to Her Calling
2011, Q4 (January 25, 2012)
By an Anonymous Chapter Member

Although it probably slid off your radar screen long ago, I remember very well Michael Harvey’s Q1 2007 Carolina Communiqué article, Is Technical Writing Your Calling? Because, you see, I was featured in his article. But you won’t find my name in that article, and you won’t find it here. I prefer to remain anonymous to protect the innocent — and the perhaps-less-than-innocent!

In his article, Michael relayed how during interviews for a part-time job opening at his company, I had said that I didn’t think that technical writing was my calling in life. I was unhappy in the full-time technical writing position that I had, and I thought that working only part-time would enable me to have more time to explore what my calling might be. Although I was very pleased to receive an offer from Michael’s company, I eventually decided that I needed to continue full-time employment.

As I stayed in the position I already had, the publication of Michael’s article helped me see that my lack of inspiration probably derived from that position rather than from the profession of technical communication. I resonated with Michael’s discussion of how clear communication of complex concepts promotes efficiency and order. His ideas felt close to my inner sense of purpose (my “calling”) too.
I began to see more clearly that I needed to change my situation.

I began to see more clearly that I needed to change my situation. I had been a writer at my former company for more than nine years, and I didn’t feel that management appreciated my writing (although the developers did). I was also frustrated that my company believed that peer editing was a sufficient quality control for writing. However, having worked as both a writer and an editor in my career, I saw more and more need for the role of a full-time editor, especially as the company was moving toward topic-oriented writing. When you have topics that you can “mix and match,” variations in writing style become much more obvious. An editor has the time and focus to survey all of the topics, create a more consistent style, and ensure that topics flow well from one to another.

So I began to look for opportunities to change my career slightly, and I was delighted to start a new job as an editor at another company in August 2007. I thought about responding to Michael’s article then, but I wanted to give myself some time to ensure that my career move was satisfying my inner “calling.” Life and work intervened until a friend in our chapter requested that I write an article for the Carolina Communiqué. Then I recalled my experience, and I thought that it might help others.

If you’re feeling that you’re not pursuing your calling in life or if you’re feeling less than satisfied in your current position, I encourage you to read Michael’s article again. Think about what your core values are, and imagine ways that you could incorporate those values either in your current company or in a move to another company.

Oh, and one last word of advice for any managers who might be reading this: be sure to express your appreciation for your employees. There are many studies that indicate that your appreciation is one of the most significant factors in your employee’s job satisfaction, and it’s virtually free! End of article.

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