President’s Message – 2016-Q4

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.

Stop reading this and join or renew your membership right NOW. STC’s spiffy new membership page is a marvel of responsive design and exactly the right content to justify the cost of whichever level is right for you. The sooner you lock in your 2017 membership, the longer you have to enjoy all of those benefits.

Liz Miller
EBSTC President