In May’s spotlight, we feature dedicated STC volunteer and technical writer Moise Potie. Moise is a valued contributor to the STC Canada West Coast, bringing an enthusiasm for his profession and willingness to contribute as our Communications Manager and chapter Secretary.
Question: What inspired you to become a technical writer?
My mom was a technical writer when I was growing up. When I finished university, I had a sense that it was work that might suit me. But I ended up spending 12 years in Japan, first teaching English, then doing education-related writing and editing work. When circumstances brought me back to Canada, and I needed to choose a career, technical writing was the best idea I had.
Question: Do you have a preference for freelance contracts or full time? Why?
I definitely have a preference for full time. I value the stability and not worrying about my next job. Also, I haven’t found full-time work repetitive or boring. I’ve been at my current job for three years, and it’s still very stimulating.
Question: What advice would you give to writers entering the field?
It’s hard to make generalizations because people enter the field from so many different backgrounds and stages of their previous careers. I wouldn’t want to presume that I have any unique insight, special qualities, or foolproof recipe for success. But I think what has helped me most is my willingness to jump head first into my work, and take on the various challenges that it entails. This can include pushing my brain to exhaustion and dealing with the stress of a heavy workload.
Question: If you could choose another career, what would it be and why?
I’d be a university researcher. There is a particular chapter of East Asian history that I became fascinated with while living in Japan. Part of me would love to do a PhD and just research this topic full time, but I might miss the social aspects of working in an office.
Question: If you could learn anything to help you in your current job, what would that be?
I use MadCap Flare at work. I’m currently an intermediate user but hope someday to become a real power user. I also strive to become really proficient in Cascading Style Sheets. Another skill I’d like to learn is using batch files and macros to manipulate content behind the scenes.
Question: How has volunteering for the STC helped you in your career?
Having regular contact with peers who accept and respect me has added to my confidence as a technical writer, especially when I first started.
This article was written by Mala Rupnarain
Mala Rupnarain is the past president of the STC Canada West Coast chapter.