When to Be Quiet, When to Speak Up

I freely confess that my biggest problems on the job have likely been the result of my own big mouth. Not as often as when I was in my twenties, but I still make mistakes occasionally. Other times I’ve screwed up by not asking or saying something that should have been asked or said.  Today I’ll share a few tips based on my experience learning the hard way. Maybe you’ll manage to avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve fallen into on occasion and learn the easy way. Continue reading

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Customer Service with a Smile

My formative experiences in the working world were Osco Drug, where I worked as a clerk through high school and college, and the Walt Disney World Resort, where I worked in a variety of positions until my early 30s. Both environments put a strong emphasis on customer service–meeting the needs of the people ultimately paying the bills. Since not everyone in my line of work has that sort of training, I thought I’d pass on some of the things I learned in service-oriented companies which helped me as a technical communicator. Continue reading

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Tech Writing Questions from a High School Robotics Team

My fiction-writing buddy Ciara Knight has a high-school-age son who’s participating in the FIRST Robotics  competition, where groups of students get together to create robots  that compete on some sort of timed activity. This year, the activity is space-themed, which pleased me. It was also nice to see my friend’s son happily succeeding at what he’s doing. I agreed to help his team with outreach or mentoring, which included the teens sending me questions about my career. They’re good questions about the tech writing profession, so I thought I’d share. Continue reading

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You’ve Reached Your Peak–Now What?

The Olympics Are Over, but Tessa Virtue Is Just Getting Started

It might have happened to you: you achieved something so great in your life or career that nothing you’ll ever do will ever match it for sheer accomplishment or awe. Now what? I haven’t had anything that impressive happen to me yet–more on that later–but I’ve had moments that made me appreciate that I’d reached an important moment in my development. Today I’d just like to talk about burnout. Continue reading

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Writing vs. Editing: Which One is for You?

Much of my work for the last year has been editing someone else’s existing content. I don’t mind this–it’s an opportunity to smooth out bumpy or clunky places and make the prose flow better. However, I didn’t realize how much I missed writing until I had the opportunity to do some actual writing for a customer. What’s the fundamental difference, and why should you care? Read on! Continue reading

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