When Is Small Talk Not Small?

Small talk is not something introverts tend to enjoy: it usually starts with innocuous inquiries into others’ health or family without really wanting to know the details. However, that was before the pandemic. “How are you doing?” isn’t just small talk anymore. We need to take the time to listen when our peers share their state of mind because we are living through unprecedented and stressful times, and human connections will help get us through the situation. This is a time when introverts can shine. Continue reading

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Life Without Work

One thing I know about myself is that if I don’t have work to do, I’m not terribly productive in any other facet of my life, either. The pandemic is making things slightly worse in that not only am I not productive in the things I could or should be doing (cleaning the apartment, writing fiction, learning the piano), I’ve got nowhere to go if I wanted to be nonproductive, either. Apparently there’s a lot of this going around. Continue reading

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Legitimate vs. Entitlement Complaints

The current hot meme out there is to poke at white women of a certain age with a certain haircut (randomly named “Karen”) who act in an entitled/pushy manner and ask to see the manager. I’ve dealt with my share of “Karens” over the years, and my perception of the issue is that someone is expecting a servant rather than service. Be that as it may, I thought I’d throw out some suggestions of what constitutes a legitimate vs. an “entitlement” complaint…and this comes from someone who has been “service oriented” and handled complaints in verbal and written form. Apparently these types of primer are now necessary. Continue reading

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Employing Zoom for Workplace Communications

If you’re a technical writer and you’re still working, by now you’re most likely working remotely. That means there’s a good chance you’re attending some form of audio or video-based meeting via Zoom, Skype, or other video teleconferencing (VTC) application. After a month or so of these types of activities, I’ve got some observations and suggestions. Continue reading

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Occupying Your Mind Away from Work

One piece of advice you see out on the internet–to the point of it becoming as trite as “wash your hands”–is to “take it easy on yourself.” Technical writing is primarily a mental activity, regardless of how many keys we press or words we write on a page. Therefore, rather than restate the trite advice, I’ll try to share the how and why of it. Continue reading

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