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© Ugur Akinci
I have a confession to make today…
I’m embarrassed and actually still blush a little when I remember how I started my tech writing career.
The year was 1998.
At the time I was a reporter for a print daily covering the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Congress.
It was an exciting job which allowed me to rub elbows with the rich and famous, the movers and shakers of the nation’s capital.
These were all powerful men and women, way above my socioeconomic class and pay grade.
If it weren’t for my credentials as a journalist, I’d never have the chance to share the same room with them.
Once for example I rode the same elevator with the late Sen.Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Perhaps a trivial moment by the standards of many people but I still remember that day.
Other times I would attend the press briefings at the White House even though I was not an accredited White House reporter. To be in the same room with a Cabinet Secretary or the President of the United States is an experience I’ll cherish as long as I live.
However, the truth is I wasn’t making any money at all.
The print journalism was already in trouble and I knew I had to something else if I were to take care of my family.
One morning as my wife was leaving the house I asked her where she was going. “To my head hunter,” she said. Back then she was a newbie computer programmer looking for a job.
“You wanna come too?” my wife asked.
And for no good reason at all, for reasons I still cannot explain, I said “Yes, why not?”
So we went together to this glass-and-chrome employment agency office in a commercial tower in Rockville, Maryland.
After the usual exchange of pleasantries, my wife introduced me as a writer in-between jobs, which in a sense was true.
After she listened to me for a few minutes, the recruiter said something that changed my life forever:
“I might have something for you… would you considering a technical writing position?” she asked.
And like an idiot, I said … “What is that?”
My god, I still cringe when I remember that moment. Whew!
The truth is, like millions of people in the world, I also had not heard of “technical writing” before.
She explained to me patiently what tech writing was and why it would be a great fit for me given my technical and creative sides. I kept nodding my head and the rest is history, as they say.
So if you at this point also do not have a very clear idea of what technical writing is, it’s completely understandable because once upon a time I didn’t know what the heck it was either. There’s a beginning to everything, isn’t it?
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