Technical Writer in Training: Back in the Game

For anyone keeping track, I’m closing in on four months as a technical writer, although I can really only claim two of those since I spent the last eight weeks taking a crash course in all things medical billing software.

The course is proprietary, developed by my company, and all new employees go through it to learn what the industry does, what the company does, and what its software does… in great detail. While there was a bit of kvetching (and a lot of chomping at the bit) by some of the people in my class who were destined for jobs with very specific or narrow functions, I thought it was a genius introduction for me as a technical writer.

By necessity, I must be a generalist, and the whole experience reminded me of this ever-relevant pie chart:

what_you_dont_know_charts

What you don’t know you don’t know is almost always the biggest part of the pie, but being aware of your own ignorance is just as important as what you know.

So now that I have a better grasp on what I’m here to do and I’ve gotten back to my department, I finally feel more like a “real” technical writer and a half-way productive member of my team.

And what does the first week of genuine productivity in a new job look like? In the last five days I have:

  • Read up on all the release notes I missed while I was in training
  • Digitized all my notes from class because future me will thank past me for it when I forget everything they taught me and want to look something up
  • Started learning about version control because my experience level is low, my permissions levels are high, and that makes my anxiety levels mild to moderate
  • Made updates to the corporate website
  • Created signage for a corporate event
  • Written five release notes of varying complexity and only lost a few fistfuls of hair in the process
  • Voted in the STC elections
  • Finished about a third of a fairly large but not too complex project that involves updating verbiage and screenshots in almost all of our documentation

Whew! And to think, I was worried I wouldn’t be busy enough!

*Originally posted on theleastshrew.com*

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