Taking a brief break from adoption. A lot of people who don’t know me personally are starting to read the blog. Even people who do know me personally don’t know what it is that I do.

I am technical writer. I’ve worked for Netscape, Microsoft (as an intern, contractor, and full-time employee), e-Travel, and Oracle. Right now, I’m a contractor. I have two main clients, sort of. One client is the company for which I used to be a full-time employee (AQ). The other client is a company that leases employees. So, technically, I’m a leased employee for a government-related organization.

I work solely from home. For the GRO, I go in once a month. I wish they were closer so I could go in more. The people are really great, and I enjoy the work.

My hours are flexible. For the GRO, I work after Jackson goes to sleep.

AQ hasn’t used me in awhile, though they wanted to. I’m on a long-term assignment for the GRO. It should end at the end of this month, but it might extend to next month.

I’m planning on taking a vacation over the holidays. However, if AQ calls me and needs me to do something quick, I won’t turn down the money.

What exactly do I do? Well, I have done a lot of things:

  • Help for Netscape Communicator
  • Help for Hotmail
  • Customer service docs and internal docs for Hotmail
  • SQL Server training
  • Training and user’s guides for documentation tools – FrameMaker, SGML/XML, WebWorks, XHTML, doc processes

Right now, for AQ, I write user’s guides and help. I also wrote their style and processes guide. For the GRO, I’m editing a book about California Labor Laws. I just spent a month indexing it. It’s a long book. Very heavy.

I really love how documentation is produced. I love documentation tools, like FrameMaker. I’m a FrameMaker expert, and I take real pride in that. Oracle was on the cutting edge with XML. I wish I had kept abreast of that. I’ll have a bit of a learning curve – getting up to date – the next time I’m called upon to use it. But I’m sure it will all come back to me.

I didn’t plan to be a technical writer, but I do enjoy it when I work for the right company. Oracle was the right company for a long time, and I truly miss my earlier days there, before the CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). My colleagues there were the very best.

I enjoy working for the GRO. I’d love it if they’d commit to hiring me even 8 months out of the year. I could plan then, and not necessarily have to supplement with AQ work. I like the people at AQ, but the work tends to be of the quick and dirty variety. I’m not really proud of anything I wrote there.

So that’s me. That’s what I do to make money. It’s a great gig for a mom.


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