Where do I go from here?

My home office
My home office

I’m looking for a new position, so I’ve been thinking a lot about my career. I’ve been writing about computer programming for over thirty years! Now with COVID-2019, finding a job has become a real chore. I thought I’d write about it as just one more way to search.

While I’d like my novel from NaNoWriMo 2019 to be a best seller, the truth is that I’ll have to spend at least a little longer writing about tech. That realization made me look closely at the jobs I’ve held over the years to try to determine what to look for next. It came down to two things:

  1. I like writing tutorials about programming and web development with accompanying sample code.
  2. I like programming too but I don’t actually want to do it for a living. Why? I like writing code, but once a project is complete, I want to move on and start creating something new.

So where does that leave me?

These are the jobs that have made me happiest:

Mozilla
I was the Firefox Developer Content Manager for MDN Web docs. It’s a mouthful, but it’s the most fun I’ve had as a Technical Writer. I got to write tutorials and API documentation. And I got to do some programming as well.

Microsoft
At Microsoft, I was a Programming Writer. I wrote documentation for ADO, OLE DB, and ODBC, and later, ADO .NET. The “Programming” part of my title meant that I wrote example applications to go with the documentation.

Medidata Solutions
I wrote Design Specifications and helped with Requirements as well. This job wouldn’t belong on this list except for one thing. I turned a simple technical writing job into something that I really wanted, an opportunity to create simple tools to automate document creation.

That said, my question is:

“How do I find a job that ticks all those boxes and allows me to work from home?”

Commuting from my home (where there are NO tech. jobs) to New York City can take anywhere from 2-1/2 to 3 hours each way! Getting up at four in the morning and riding on a train, the PATH, and sometimes a subway as well has become tiresome in the extreme. With the pandemic still at its height, it has become dangerous too. If I have to do that again, I will, once lockdown is lifted, but I much prefer the ability to get up at a reasonable hour and walk down the hall to my desk.

I have a desktop computer and a laptop and have created an Ubuntu virtual machine. I don’t have a Mac but I do know how to use a Mac and will do that if you insist (and you send me a Mac laptop or desktop to work with) so I can easily work with any of the popular operating systems, and have the physical equipment to work remotely including a decent webcam and (of course!) high speed Internet.

I would prefer a full-time, permanent job but will take a contract position (on W2) if I must. If you want to see my resume, you can go to https://resume.irenesmith.com. I’d love to hear from you but serious offers only, please!

6 Replies to “Where do I go from here?”

  1. While the pandemic is going on, try picking up freelance things on Upwork or something! I’ve built an entire freelance career starting there and it will show permanent positions you can be productive working from home!
    Good luck with the novel! Is it out yet? What’s it about? Can I read it?

    1. Good ideas all!

      Thank you for your response. You have the honor of being the first non-spam commenter in a very long time. My novel, Love is a Care, is not out yet. It’s in its final edit phase. I’ll be shouting it out on Twitter. Are you volunteering to be a first reader? I could use one or two of those in a couple of weeks’ time.

  2. Wow it sounds like you’ve had some pretty awesome jobs! I know that’s an outsiders perspective but I’m impressed. It’s always hard to know where to go to get the job you want, and right now I know is an especially difficult time to job hunt. I wish you all the best with your search, and I truly hope something perfect comes up for you that ticks all your boxes 🙂

  3. Hi Irene, I absolutely second the suggestion about considering UpWork. I don’t work there, but I have hired plenty of freelancers there. People who are able to make a living from home are very fortunate right now. There are good times and bad – the bad will come again and I think those who work from home will be much better off again. Also, maybe instead of trying to find a job that checks off all of those boxes you mentioned – maybe think completely new and try something you’ve always wanted, but never had a chance to. This situation is a great way to get away from the tried and true so you can experiment. If nothing comes to mind, it may still better to work from home where its safe doing something you only enjoy 80% of versus a 100% happy job where you must travel far, lose precious time, and expose yourself to health risks. Good luck!

    1. I’ve been looking for outlets for my writing outside the IT field. I wholeheartedly agree that it may be time for a change.

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