You’ve Got Skills

And so do I. Our skills aren’t they same, but they are equally valuable. This is what I’d like people I work with to understand.

Part of being a technical writer or editor means being invisible and vastly underappreciated. We don’t get a byline or an author credit anywhere. People often toss our creations aside, preferring to figure out how the product works on their own. And for the most part, we don’t mind. We wouldn’t do what we do otherwise. But being devalued by your own co-workers and collaborators, the people who do the “real” work—the subject matter experts (SMEs), the engineers—can really get under our skin. Continue reading →

The Death of a Company

Today, two years and ten months of hard work, passion, organization, learning, training, development, trial-and-error, testing, experimenting, data entry, writing, editing, frustration, excitement, and thrill, are rendered meaningless. When the CEO and COO of Medallion Learning called me on May 5th around 10 in the morning to tell me the company was shutting down, I was managing eight courses in various stages of progress. I had roughly thirty contributors working on those eight courses. Some of those courses we had collectively only spent twenty hours on while others we had spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on. And that was just my team. There were also people on sales team and the IT team for whom work came to a grinding halt.

Within the first few hours after that call, I ran through a dozen different emotions: stoicism, panic, shock, sadness, confusion, frustration, disbelief, disappointment, and even embarrassment. But mostly I just felt sick to my stomach. Normally, when you leave a job, someone steps into your role and your projects live on. But when a company shuts down, that’s it. All the effort and man hours are just tossed aside. And jobs I’ve left before weren’t jobs I was invested in. Sure, I enjoyed much of the work I did in the past and the people I worked with, but at the end of the day, I was just a cog in a machine participating in straightforward work-for-pay transactions. Not so at Medallion Learning. Besides working with a great group of people who cultivated an environment of respect and actively solicited input from each other in all aspects of the company, I was solely responsible for establishing the publishing department from scratch. I created processes, wrote guidelines, built a team, developed best practices for scripts and designing, and personally approved every script, video, and supplemental learning aid that ended up on our platform, Calibrate. My boss trusted me 100 percent to work autonomously and make amazing courses. He supported me with whatever I asked for, but other than that, left me alone to make elearning magic. I didn’t have any money invested in the company and I wasn’t the legal owner of my work products, but those courses were mine. So my nauseated feeling didn’t have anything to do with my uncertain future but rather a deep sense of loss and uselessness knowing that everything I created was for naught. Continue reading →