I was laid off from my job as a Tech Writer for Relevant Business Systems, a software company in Bishop Ranch, on the last day of 2002. Other employees had been laid off in October and November, so it came as a surprise to me that I was kept through the Christmas party.
I was President of the local chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) that year. Judy Herr was President the prior year and she was interested in forming her own consulting business. I thought we could be partners; so I incorporated my company name, My Training Dept., Inc.
Judy started her own company, Well Chosen Words, without me. I had a few well-chosen words for her, but I'll refrain from including them here. In the long run it was probably for the best since I doubt Judy and I would have made good partners.
My first job through My Training Dept. was writing Crystal Reports training manuals for Howard Hammerman. I knew Hammerman from the Compu*Serve Crystal Reports discussion boards.
When I started at Relevant I was handed a box with Crystal Reports software and designated the Crystal Reports expert. Crystal Reports had nothing to do with written reports. It was a data extraction application that formatted reports from relational databases.
So now I not only wrote, rewrote, and updated 17 User Guides on Relevant's ERP applications, I also designed reports using the new Crystal Reports application. I liked doing it. It wasn't heavy duty programming but enough of a challenge to be interesting.
If I came up against a challenge I couldn't handle on my own, I would post a question on the Compu*Serve Crystal Reports Forum and Howard Hammerman would usually have the answer. So that's how I got to know Howard.
Howard came out to California on business and I finally got to meet him in person, but I made the mistake of inviting him to meet me at Relevant. This did not sit well with my bosses, even though Howard helped me use Crystal. So when I was laid off at the end of 2002, I negotiated a contract with Hammerman to write his Crystal Reports training manuals.
That was the start of My Training Dept. I later dropped the incorporation because it was costing me $800 a year which I could not afford, but I kept the name My Training Dept. for business purposes.
Now my blogs are the only business I use for My Training Dept. I bill Embarcadero Publishing once a month and I keep a business account at Wells Fargo bank. There isn't enough reason to retain the My Training Dept. name or bank account. So when my DBA (Doing Business As) expires this year, so will My Training Dept. I plan to auction off the domain name through Go Daddy.
After I accepted the $500 offer for GoVocal.com and wrote my blog about An Unexpected Windfall, a poster named Tim replied that I should have gotten at least a thousand dollars for it.
I probably could have gotten more than $500 because the buyer really needed that domain, but I did a search on Go Daddy for "Training", and there are over a dozen Training domains listed for sale with no offers. So I won't set my sights too high.
I don't remember if I registered "San Ramon Observer" as a DBA, but that probably expired years ago. I observe on a lot more than San Ramon these days, so I'm not sure which name to start using. I shall probably just bill under my own name. I was informed recently that I'm the only Rosalind L. Rogoff in the USA. That should be sufficiently unique for writing and billing my blogs.