I still remember my first STC meeting back in the early 1980s with the Silicon Valley chapter. I had only recently realized that the work I was doing was called technical writing.
A year after relocating from the central coast to Union City, I found a job as an office manager/secretary for a small software startup company. I was excited to get paid to use a PC every day! Part of the work involved transcribing my boss’s notes from a yellow pad into a word processor to document how to use his relational database application. Eventually I started writing all of the user documentation myself. At the time, I was totally unaware that this type of writing was special.
One day I noticed a job description in the San Jose Mercury News classified ads that sounded like the work I was doing. Curious to learn more, I arranged for an informational interview with the company. After our chat, they surprised me by offering me that job at a pay rate 15% higher than my current wages. They needed my answer in 48 hours. What a quandary!
I really didn’t want to switch jobs, so I approached my boss and explained the situation, apologizing for the short notice. I told him I really loved the work I was doing for him and that if he could give me a 15% raise and keep me on as a full-time technical writer, I would stay and help search for a replacement office manager. The next day, he agreed to my new role and rate, and as they say, the rest is history.
Writing for a growing start-up meant I wore all of the hats: from marketing writing to procedure and installation manuals to page layout. Somehow I stumbled upon a community known as the STC. Soon after I joined the Silicon Valley chapter, I attended my first dinner meeting. When I walked into that room with at least two dozen tables set up for 10 people each, I was awestruck by the size of my new peer group. Getting acquainted with my dinner companions and soaking up the night’s program gave me a wonderful sense of validation for my daily work and the education, comradeship and networking opportunities that have kept me renewing year after year.
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