Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mr. Lonely

I am now the sole technical writer at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex.

When I started here nearly seven years ago, I was one of five writers, with a text processor besides. Since then, through layoffs, attrition and writers moving to other projects within the company, the number has dropped to just me.

Latest blow came Tuesday morning this week, when my co-worker Ed got the call and the pink slip.

It’s unusual, this situation. Ed worked for the company. I’m a subcontractor. The only thing that’s been said about the situation is that “they” decided to “go down to just subcontractor work” for writers on this project. Not quite sure what that means, but here I am, rattling around in an eight-cubicle trailer with only two people in it now. We could celebrate and knock down a few walls and make our cubes much bigger, but technically it’s easier to hide in this maze if all the walls and desks remain as they are.

There are a lot of tech writers on LinkedIn and other sites, now talking about being the lone writer on their projects – wondering who they’ll turn to for professional assistance and such. I’m not too worried about that – there are other writers around I can reach by email and phone, so I’m technically not alone. But being the sole live body at this project is a bit intimidating – especially since we’ve got a pretty impressive document dump coming in the next few weeks, with a lot of those documents as yet not in their final form. Kinda makes my lips numb just thinking about it.

Everything’s going to land on my plate now – there’s no one to send stuff to (or to take stuff for) if we need a pressure relief. And if I get sick, well, I’ve pretty much got to come in to work anyway.

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