When you go to school for Engineering, you come out an Engineer. If you follow a track to become a Medical Transcriptionist, you pick up a job as one. With a Nursing certification, you’re automatically a nurse.
But when you have a degree in Communications, Writing, or English, there’s a good chance that even your professors don’t know what you’ll be doing post-grad. Where you take your education is purely up to you… Which can be incredibly liberating, or beyond annoying.
I went through university angry at myself for going into Technical Communication. No one could answer the simple question, “What job am I trying to get?” with a simple answer. It was always, “You can be anything you want!” I learned how to take the initiative with my schedule and take the classes that interested me, that I could communicate and justify to others, and would get me to analyze content in a critical way. Discussion, preparation, evaluation, and presentation.
There was no hand to hold, no support system of advisors and coaches to get me through my classes, but the expectance of resourcefulness to handle my assignments. Technical report writing, usability writing, web design… Our entire major was holed up in the computer lab past midnight, nearly every night, researching and learning. We were creative in how we finished our work, relating each project to our own lives in some way. I’ve taken this creativity into my job search.
As a Technical Writer, my resume could be filled with clips in documentation, instruction writing, and manual writing. Instead, I’ve found myself accepting positions in multimedia. My first contract position was doing research and writing web copy for a software company, my second was researching and editing for Travelocity, and my third was writing 30+ page profiles of clients for Reputation.com. I could go down the list, but it’s all the same: writing, just not strictly technical writing.
I’m pretty great with social media, do excellent work, and absorb myself in growing communities. But I want to be great with manual writing, documentation, etc. I’ve shaped myself into a creative writer, but it’s time again for scientific writing.