Time for another round of name that career!
July 22, 2014 1:59 PM   Subscribe

I was wondering if any Mefites might currently work in, or know someone who works in, a career that meets the following qualifications: 1. Involves a ton of writing. Any type of writing. Even if one spends most of one's time crafting emails, that would be sufficient. 2. Is relatively easy to get into with only a bachelor's degree in a possibly unrelated subject. 3. Is generally not discriminatory based on age (in other words, someone who is in their late 40s/early 50s would not be seen as teetering on the edge of their grave).

posted by Sockrates to Work & Money (10 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered grantwriting? That should cover the "ton of writing" part.

It's a good fit for someone who has a bachelor's degree in a subject other than English or creative writing. Science-oriented organizations who depend on public and private funds need good grantwriters with a working knowledge of field subjects. Environmental science, public health, biology, just to name a few.

It's also one of those fields where being older may give you an edge. The career of a grantwriter isn't on the same trajectory as that of an i-banker, and the pressure to make it while you're young is nearly nonexistent. Especially if you have field knowledge or related degrees.
posted by Occam's Aftershave at 2:14 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Proposal writing is similar to grant work, and often more lucrative due to the nature of the funding. It's not for everyone, but if you're good (you write clean copy, you work well with subject matter experts, you meet deadlines, and you're generally sane and thick-skinned and open to edits and last-minute changes), you're in demand. I do niche industry stuff, but I got here in a super-random way.

I believe the APMP group on LinkedIn is open to everyone.
posted by mochapickle at 2:33 PM on July 22, 2014

And to answer your question about age, I think folks who are in their 40s and 50s seem to get more respect in proposal work. Most of the subject matter experts and decision makers we encounter are in their 40s and 50s and simply seem more comfortable speaking with peers. This was also true when I worked in a different industry.
posted by mochapickle at 2:42 PM on July 22, 2014

Technical writing might be a possibility.
posted by cromagnon at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Thirding the grant writing/proposal writing/development suggestions. Many fundraisers come into the work as a second career, so age doesn't usually enter into it, and even relatively low-level positions can come with a ton of writing, although it may be worth mentioning that it's frequently ghostwriting for an executive.
posted by Diagonalize at 3:16 PM on July 22, 2014

Came in to suggest grant writing. There are free courses you can take with the Foundation Center, I believe, to see if it would be a fit for you. Get started by volunteering to write proposals for free.

There's also a growing market for content marketing- blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.
posted by betsybetsy at 4:37 PM on July 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

Not necessarily grant writing specifically, but I'm a professional fundraiser and about 80% of what I do is write -- I write emails (personal and general), copy for fliers and brochures, letters (personal and general), press releases, reports, you name it. If a marketing person writes it, so do I.

In my first career I was a technical trainer, so I definitely got into this with an unrelated degree. And, in general, so long as the person is more-or-less up to date on email and web marketing, age isn't a big deal in nonprofits (although salaries can be low).
posted by anastasiav at 4:41 PM on July 22, 2014

Ghost writer/work-for-hire author. There's a secret underground of books written by people whose name is not on the cover, from celebrity memoirs to CEO asperationals to media tie-in series to cookbooks. Also look into "content strategy", which seems to be code for web copywriter.
posted by libraryhead at 4:43 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was a tech writer before transitioning into software development, and when I was tech writing the age of the other writers and editors I encountered definitely skewed older than the ages of, say, the development and QA departments. Being older was not a barrier, and if anything it tended to be an asset. That being said, I think your lack of previous tech writing experience will be a more difficult obstacle to overcome if you choose to pursue technical writing as a career. Even with a B.A. in English and additional tech writing coursework (such as through a university extension program), it can be a difficult field to break into.
posted by mosk at 4:58 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

it can be a difficult field to break into.

It can. But I found my first tech writing job through a recruiter and my first proposal job from a reference. Both were temporary contracts. Temporary contracts might not appeal to you if you're working full time, but if you're in between jobs, it wouldn't hurt to look into technical temp agencies or STC listings.
posted by mochapickle at 11:57 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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