An interesting blog post from May on Technical Communication and Urbanization caught my eye this morning. I lived in the heart of the Silicon Valley when I started as a tech writer, but moved to be closer to family. You couldn’t pay me enough to move back, or to move to one of the other cities known for tech writing jobs. It’s not the cost that’s keeping me away (although that would be enough on its own). It’s the lifestyle.
Here in Salem I’m just over an hour from the coast. I’m a short drive from three of my favorite wineries, and can easily drive a little further to find more. I can get to Portland for a day or shopping, or make it up to Seattle for a visit with my cousins by dinner. I can head downtown and take the walking bridge to Minto Brown park, or hit up one of the many other parks in our area. I’m close to farms, to casinos, to beaches, to mountains, and to friends and relatives. My weekends are full of enriching experiences that make me a healthier and more well-rounded person. And this makes me a better writer, and a healthier employee/contractor.
TechCommGeekMom is right: “Urbanization is not a solution, it’s more of a problem. Digitization should be allowing for more widespread resources, not confining them to one area that everyone must flock to.”
Moving here hasn’t changed my skills or experience. I have the same degree, the same experience, and the same abilities. And thanks to the internet, I don’t need to be in the same room to do a good job for a client. The only thing I can’t do remotely is sit on a specific chair in an office in Cupertino, Seattle, San Jose, or some other big city. And all those hours each week the non-remote tech writers in big cities spend in traffic? I can spend those writing more pages, backing up files, taking a walk to clear my brain, or even cleaning my (home) office.
If you need a tech writer, don’t just look for one outside your front door.