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Jun 02

How I Became a TC

OK, first things first:
TC does not mean tech challenged
(you are the one that’s tech challenged <grin>)
TC is the abbreviation for Technical Communicator

I moved to Israel to live in 1983. I had started out as a nurse, but found the differences between nursing in Israel and the US too difficult to adjust to. During a visit to the States, I believe in 1985, I began working at Manpower and learned Word Processing on a system so old I don’t even remember its name (I just remembered, it was called “Display Write”). A monster software where you had to put in multiple codes to get nice bold text…

Returning to Israel, I landed a job in the Department of Medicine in Haifa. There I began working on medical manuscripts, editing, records, etc. Then I transferred to Biomedical Engineering. My job title? English Typist. My job description? Receive manuscripts from authors world wide, edit them, comment, on them, send to Professor for Scientific editing, prepare manuscripts for camera ready publication (including processing of graphics at a photo lab and hand pasting them in place). I also needed to edit manuscripts for publication, assist students with their theses, and write the responses to reviewers based on the edits to the manuscripts (I think that was creative writing). I had E-mail before anyone knew what it was, and was asked to create a website for our department, before there were any web editors, and when searching the Internet was based on the wonders of Copernicus (which I understand is still out there). O, and I was a member of a local poetry group.

One of the poets in the group, Mark Levinson (for those of you who know him), kept telling me I was doing technical writing and I should join the Society for Technical Communication (STC). He bugged me on it for years (and I regret I didn’t listen sooner!). I had no idea what that was and didn’t really have time to think about. I began to work privately and at some point, a client asked me to write a manual for him. I was like, who, me? I don’t know hoot about this… But it sounds like fun, and its in medicine (which I love), so I’ll give it a try, and if you don’t like my work, no hard feelings.

Well, the client loved my work, hired me, and the rest is history. I worked for that company for 10 years. During that time I did my MA in technical authorship (writing) and graduated with honors. I did my thesis on the Personality Characteristics of Technical Communicators, and later became the President of STC Israel. I learned far more than I ever dreamed I would and loved working in the high paced hi tech world of Israel.

When I  married in 2007, long distance relationships not being my idea of optimal for married health, I moved to the US (with my cat Guay), and continued in my career.

I found that private contracting was not the same as being salaried, but jobs were not abundant in the beautiful State of Michigan. However, I have just completed several contracts as a contractor, in Michigan and remotely; many via ODesk,com.

What I loved most, though, about contracting, was that for the most part I was able to work from home. I was able to have more time with my husband (for which I am very thankful, now that he is gone), and enjoy my lovely step-daughters (not to mention our  dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, and rabbits)…

Since my husband’s death in 2010, I moved back to Israel and am now working as a full time English Editor. Different type of work, but still in technical communcation category. I also continue to work for one of my private clients, at home in my spare time.

So that is how I got into Technical Writing—and I still enjoy it!