Monday, September 3, 2012

When I grow up, I want to be a...tech writer?

Last Wednesday, I got a call that a tech writing position was open. Through word-of-mouth, they heard I was an option.  Could I send them my resume?  I sent it to them, and 10 minutes later, I had an interview for Thursday at 11AM.  I had the job by the end of the day.  It's a special contract through November, 40 hours a week, working from home, and I'm writing procedures for a big bank for strangely good pay.

This is not something I thought I wanted, and yet I'm sitting in awe that it landed into my life.  When it ends in November, the agency has more contracts -- so I can keep wandering down this tech writing path. 

It is curiously timed with the atrophy of my online teaching -- both in contracts (they've cut back considerably on max courses we can teach), and also in motivation (I was starting to feel like a data-entry person instead of a teacher).  

I'd wanted to move away from online teaching and back into the classroom, and that happened when I got the job on Wednesday and Thursday nights at the local college.  But if I left online work, I couldn't rationalize how I'd replace it.  Yes, my children will be in school more than ever before...Jack full-time, for the first time this year...but I desperately need flexibility in my work.  I want my work, but I don't want to miss out on my family at all.  How was I going to find a job that used my experiences but let me have incredible flexibility too?

And then this happened. 

I want to tell my children to embrace the nonsensical, illogical compounds of self -- even if there's no clear-cut path in sight.  At all. Just be who you are in any given moment, and let life find ways to make those elements of self fit together -- in ways you can't even imagine.

I remember sitting in our apartment in Colorado Springs, 10 years ago, when I looked up from my book and told Steve I wanted to go to graduate school for economics.  I'd been an English undergraduate, and hadn't even taken Econ 101 in college.  But I started reading about it and fell in love with the concepts, and finally decided I should be getting credits for all the reading I was doing. 

Steve probably should have looked at me like I was nuts.  He probably should have told me we couldn't afford graduate school -- we were 22 and 23, and just starting out.  He probably should have asked what I was going to do with the degree.  But instead he smiled and agreed almost immediately.  He trusted who I was, let me take out student loans that terrified our young/broke selves, and brought me food while I was scrambling to write papers late into the night.  

So many times along our last decade, my strangely contradictory choices -- based on instinct, passion, and impulse -- have paid off in the strangest ways.  And here it is again.  My MBA and my 12 years of teaching college English (an odd pairing to explain on a resume), and now this door has opened into tech writing. 

Is my life dream tech writing?  Um, no. I didn't even know I wanted to do it.  But my life dream IS to be a professional person along with being widely-available for my children, and anything that supports that means a lot to me. 

And maybe contradictory choices are going to trickle down to the next generation.  Simone can't decide between being an astronaut or a doctor, so she's decided to be a "space doctor."  Based on how things have played out in my life, I can't argue with her. :)

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