I’m officially a quarter of a century old. This milestone means that I now relate to 4 Non Blondes. They knew what was going on all along.
I never pictured my life at 25. I was always too busy with things like work, school, and food.
These daily tasks take up most of my thoughts, leaving my brain exhausted by the end of the day. I would turn my brain off in the evening to recharge for the next busy day. Although I consider it a virtue to live in the present, I think it’s wise to think about the future.
Unfortunately, I’m not a wise person. Fortunately, things seem to be working out anyway.
I’m recently began my career as a technical writer. I’ve been out of college for three years and I, a humble English major, finally got a job with the word “writer” in the title.
An English major with a job… crazy, right?
Despite studying and practicing technical writing in college, I did not walk a direct path to my new career. This wasn’t for a lack of trying, though. When I graduated, there was no such thing as an entry-level technical writer job in Indiana. I ended up applying for different jobs that still lined up with my skill set.
Along with writing, I also have an interest in web design. I’ve always liked art and I spend a lot of time on the web. Web design allows me to do both of these activities in a way that will get me a job. To build my web design skills, I pursued a computer science minor in college and practiced designing websites in my free time.
As my time in school was winding down, I was stressed about the prospect of unemployment. I began an obsessive job hunt and filled out applications, wrote cover letters, and managed to interview at a few places. Somehow, I ended up landing a job as a web developer for an electronics manufacturer before I even graduated. You can read more about this in a previous blog post.
Along with developing and maintaining the company websites, my responsibilities also included marketing projects. My writing and design skills were a natural fit for these projects and I was happy to help out wherever I can. I managed the company’s social media, I wrote copy for the website, and I was involved in branding decisions. As someone who didn’t take a single marketing class in college, this experience was invaluable—all of which prepared me for my next role.
Nearly two years later, I moved to a different town and became an online marketing coordinator at an educational publishing company. There, I got hands-on experience with marketing automation, email marketing, and data analysis. My favorite part of the job was having the opportunity to travel and work at conferences and trade shows. Up until this point, I had only worked in lawn care and web development, so I had zero customer service experience. It turns out that I actually enjoy bantering with customers and answering their questions. It could also be that teachers are fun customers to have.
At both of these companies, it wasn’t in my job description to be a writer. I figured that it was a win/win situation if I volunteered to take on writing projects whenever possible; I gain professional experience and things get done for the company. I devoted time to writing white papers, press releases, social media blurbs, and process documents. It didn’t take much convincing for my managers to let me do this—it was apparent that a lot of things needed to be written down but no one wanted to actually write it.
It’s a good thing English majors exist.
Thankfully, all of my work paid off. I recently moved to Pittsburgh, the land of bridges, hills, and a decent job market (I like to post pictures of the scenery on my Instagram). After filling out over 20 applications, writing cover letters, and going through interviews, I recently received two job offers for technical writing positions. As someone who has never had “technical writer” as a job title, this is a huge confidence booster. If more than one company wants me to write for them, that means I won’t screw it up, right?
I ended up accepting the offer from a tech startup called Innovu. It’s the job I’ve always wanted since I graduated: I’ll get to work on marketing, websites, and software documentation. Also, everyone there seems really nice and I’m excited to learn from them.
Finally, I can stop stressing out about my job hunt and I can finally enjoy the start to the next quarter century of my life. I’ll let He-Man take it away from here.