A reflection: Finding work during lockdown….PFFFT.

Tina Fey doing an eye roll in disbeliefAs I write this, we’ve been under shelter-in-place for almost nine weeks where I live. Where I live, we are very much near the heart of where the worst outbreaks are in the United States. With the exception of leaving the house only to go grocery shopping, a couple trips to home improvement stores (my husband wants to renovate our master bathroom), and a few trips to pick up takeaway food now and then, we’ve stayed home. We haven’t left anyplace outside of a 20-mile radius of our home. We wear masks everywhere we go now. It’s our new reality.

Many have now adjusted to this new reality of working from home or doing school from home. At my house, this wasn’t much of an adjustment. We were homebodies for the most part anyway, and both my husband and I are used to trying to work from home. It took some adjustment for my son to get used to doing his college class from home, but with the help of his tutor (also known as me, his mom) to help him navigate through online classes (since I’m a veteran online student), he actually did better than attending his online classes. He got a final grade of a B for the class, which was a huge relief for his father and I, since we hoped that he’d at least pass with a C so that he didn’t have to take the class over (he was actually failing the class before classes were pushed online).  We also had a death in our family–my father-in-law passed away at the beginning of April due to complications from prostate cancer (not COVID-19), so that really affected us strongly for about a week or two that it was difficult to concentrate on things. But we made it through a rough April, and now it’s May, and I keep hoping that things will get better.

One of the most difficult things I’m trying to get through right now is not working. Now, remember, I haven’t really been working all year, and right now with the pandemic, a lot of people aren’t working.  I am constantly reminding myself that I’m in a good place–my husband is still gainfully employed and busy, and I’m receiving unemployment for now. I also have savings–because a smart consultant puts money away because it can be a while between gigs sometimes–to live off of. Since we aren’t going out as much, I’ve actually been saving a lot of money, and I’ve joined the bandwagon of making more homemade food, including being encouraged by other tech comm bakers to learn how to make sourdough starter and start baking different bread products (I’m starting to get pretty good at it).

But I digress…while baking as a hobby is a great distraction, it’s not working. When you’ve been “between jobs” since the end of 2019, you start to lose hope of finding something. I’ve been through this before, where I hadn’t found anything for as much as a year. I fear that this is happening again. Before the pandemic hit, I could already see signs that another recession was going to hit, which often hits consultants and tech comm the hardest, from what I remember in the past decade.  This pandemic isn’t helping at all. I’m starting to see the ridiculous job descriptions where the potential employer asks for crazy requirements, 100 people will apply, and they’ll find that one person that has those requirements. Or they are short-changing people with the rates they are offering for that job.  Or, they’ve just stopped their hiring until this pandemic ends, which is indeterminate at this point.

It’s that last one that’s really hitting me hardest right now.  I was finally starting to make some progress finding work. I had sent out dozens of applications out, and in most instances, I either never heard back or I got a flat out rejection. Some employers would take as much as two months to send you a rejection letter! Or, in my case, it’s somewhat worse. I was called by a few companies, and got past the first few interviews–in one instance, I was even getting to the last stage where they wanted me to come up with a test presentation and we were setting up the date to do the presentation, and it was all cut off. All hiring has been frozen indefinitely until the pandemic ends. At the rate that I see it, that means it could still be several months before things free up and hiring is back in action. Now, I’ve been assured that it was not a reflection of their interest in me, and that once things open up again, they want to pick up where they left off. While I understand that it’s all about business and not a personal reflection on me, I can’t help but still take it personally.

I’m sure I’m not alone feeling like this. Heck, I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve been through this kind of uncertainty before–of not knowing when I’m going to secure another gig (contract, permanent, or otherwise). Nobody feels good when you don’t have a job, and you want to be productive and be able to support yourself and/or your family. That’s normal. This applies to everyone who isn’t working right now, not just those in technical communications.

But this is much different. In the past, there were fewer obstacles. It was just time being against us, nothing else. Excuses of budgets and headcounts, and not enough work to distribute (although everyone else would normally be overworked anyway) never flew well before, and with cutbacks now due to the pandemic and economics, it’s worse. There was always a sense that you wouldn’t know when things would improve, but now that uncertainty is heightened. This pandemic is an obstacle. If anything, it’s the biggest obstacle that any of us–again, not just tech comm’ers–have to face while looking for work.  And we have an advantage–we are in a field when we can actually do work from home, and many can adapt to working from home more easily. We’re used to adapting constantly, as that’s part of what makes a good technical communicator. But when your doubts about your abilities are heightened, your fears are heightened, and that uncertainty point thinking that it will eventually end is taken away, it becomes terrifying. There is no end point, no point when you think it might finally turn around. It’s a feeling of hopelessness that consumes you, because when you are trapped inside, and you can’t actively be part of society anymore that things start to crumble.

If you are still working, consider yourself blessed. Yes, it might not be the most ideal situation working from home if you aren’t used to it, but you still have the ability to put your brain to work doing what you do best and get paid for it. There are a lot of us who are like me now, looking for work, and finding it harder and harder to find anything, despite reports that there are more technical communications jobs out there. I don’t see them. They are disguised as programmer jobs and marketing jobs. Some can do those, but I’m not one of them. I’m not a programmer who can write; I’m a writer who understands some bits about programming. I’m not a marketer who understands content; I’m a content strategist and manager who understands how marketing can fit into that.  I know I have a good mind, good ideas, and if I’ve learned anything about myself during this pandemic, is that as much as I like to work alone and at home, I also can’t work in a vacuum. I can’t be the only one working on an idea. I feed off of other people and their ideas, and work to incorporate bits and pieces from different sources into something more collectively derived. But I can’t even practice that because everything has been put on hold indefinitely, with no end in sight, and that’s incredibly destabilizing. You can only keep up for so long without feeling like you are losing your edge.

About a year ago, I had a talk with someone about trying to figure out what to do next, and was trying to figure out what additional training I might need (and this was just as I was starting yet another certificate course) to try to get ahead. Her advice was to stop trying to take so many courses. Yes, keep up with what’s going on out there, but I already had the know-how, and it was just a matter of finding the best place that I could use it, and that I should stop trying to waste my time trying to get additional credentials to bolster my position. She said that I have what I need already.  I’m looking at things a year later, and going through the same questions still. Really? Are you sure that I have “it”? Because if I had “it”, would people be clamoring to bring me into their companies? Wouldn’t I have several offers laid out before me and I’d have to choose? I haven’t had many choices for years. Sometimes a step back in order to take one forward later doesn’t work. I’ve been stuck and I need to move forward, yet I feel like I keep moving backwards. For an “old woman”, I’m ready to move forward and “chomping at the bit” to learn and get ahead instead of being stuck where I am, which is unemployed and stuck in my career.  I still like tech comm, but it’s continually difficult when the unspoken rules keep changing, and I can’t keep up, especially in being something that I’m not.  And again, I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels like that right now.

All I can do is hope that this pandemic ends sooner than later. It infuriates me to see people not following the basic guidelines or rules in staying home or the limitations in going out in order to flatten the curve so we can get back to more normal business soon. This affects everyone, obviously, but those of us who are out of work feel it the most. Again, I remind myself that my day will come, I’ll find work and feel like I’m worthwhile and participating in life again, even if it’s from home in a shelter-in-place circumstance. But it doesn’t feel like it’s anytime soon. There will be a new normalcy when this is all over, but I can’t wait for that normalcy to start, and I wish we had even a slight clue as to when that will happen, even if we don’t have an exact date. It’s hard when you don’t know when you have something to look forward to.

If you are out of work right now, how are you handling things? Include your comments below.

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How Gen Z can succeed during a recession, from a millennial who’s been there – Forbes

The current pandemic is unprecedented, but there are some clear economic lessons to be learned from the 2008 financial crisis. – Elizabeth Segran

How Gen Z can succeed during a recession, from a millennial who’s been there

I found this article on LinkedIn today, and while it’s geared towards the Gen-Z generation looking for work from the perspective of a millennial, I could relate to it. As many know, I’m clearly and proudly a Gen-X person, but my career was on hold in the early 2000s as I took some time off to be a stay-at-home mom. When I went to rejoin the working world, I had a hard time getting back in, and just as I was about to make some headway, that same “Great Recession” described in the article hit. So, me restarting my career coincided with the millennials, and unlike the 70% of millennials who have eventually gotten permanent jobs lasting 5 years or more, I’m still stuck in the gig economy–not by choice.

That said, ignore the bit about the generational stuff in this article, and focus more on the rest of it. It talks about the benefits of having to steer a career through a gig economy then and now, and that we will emerge from it. It’s not going to be easy–it hasn’t been easy so far–but there are some good takeaways from this article that could benefit everyone who is fearful about losing their job due to COVID19 right now.

What do you think? Include your comments below.

 

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We all have to be in this for the long haul.

Woman talking to another woman in video conference call imageRemote work got another unintentional boost.

A friend of mine posted this link on Facebook today, and it shows calculations done to help people understand how long one’s particular state in the US that people will have to be in a “shelter in place”, and at what week is the most critical to follow this to ensure that their state can handle the crisis. According to this, at this writing (March 22, 2020), the critical week for my state is this coming week.

Here’s the link:
https://covidactnow.org/

So, depending on where you live (speaking of just about everywhere in the US), it’s going to be a while before we are free to roam around and interact like we did before.

This pushes the agenda of remote work even more. So many positions have been forced home, much sooner than anyone would have initially predicted. This is also forcing many companies to take a deep look at to how remote work affects their bottom line. Are they still able to function from home for the long haul? And what does that mean once we are allowed to return to “normal”? There’s going to be a big shift for how business is done going forward during and after this pandemic.

Of course, advocates of remote work like myself are hoping that there will be positive inroads that will have companies create and continue more remote work positions. However, we don’t know that for sure. None of us can read a crystal ball to know how all of this will fall out. For some companies, it might actually be a bad move after all. Or, some will see how their infrastructure truly needs to support more of this work flexibility.

This is a really unstable time for everyone on multiple fronts–employment is just one aspect. Supply chain to sustain us all is important. Health of everyone is important. The link above shows how mathematically it makes SO much sense to respect and follow the “shelter-in-place” orders. I live in one of the earliest states that already has that in place. What will happen next? None of us really knows, but we can all try to work with what we have, support each other by staying home when possible, and help slow this monstrous disease. I already have one friend in another state who has been confirmed to have it; she’s stable enough to quarantine and heal at home. I have two friends with coronavirus who are a couple counties away from me; the mother is in the hospital while her daughter is healing at home, and they aren’t sure if the father has it as well. I have another friend whose nephew–a doctor–has contracted the disease. It’s almost like the Kevin Bacon game. Eventually, we’ll all know at least one person who has contracted it, but we need to ensure that the number of people who survive it–whether they contract it or not–stays as high as possible.

Be safe everyone! Above all else remember that this, too, shall pass. Additionally, as I’ve reminded a lot of people, the human race is adaptable. We can all adapt as we need to in order to push through this. 

(ETA: As of 24 March 2020, I had to edit this a bit–thank you synergistech for catching that slight error! And also, the friends a couple counties away from me–it’s been confirmed that all three have COVID19. The mother and father are in the hospital, while the daughter is at home, even though she has it as well. These are not easy times! Let’s keep those infection numbers down!)

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Content in the Age of Coronavirus

Man watching TV intensely Welcome to day 4-ish of my self-quarantine from the coronavirus pandemic. I say 4-ish because I went out on Sunday, but once I came back, I’ve stayed home every since. I went for a walk with my husband around the neighborhood yesterday for a little bit of fresh air, but now most of the weather is expected to be wet and soggy for most of the next week, so other than a doctor’s appointment that hasn’t been cancelled yet, I plan to stay indoors.

This post was inspired by something that I just watched on Twitter. Normally, I don’t watch Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show much (we’re more Late Show with Stephen Colbert people), but I saw he had posted a “home edition” post, and I was curious. I didn’t watch the whole thing, but he said something in his conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda in passing that perked my ears up. He mentioned that right now, it’s “all about the content”.

BAM!

In the conditions that all of us are in right now, with most of us on self-imposed quarantines, many don’t know what to do with themselves if they aren’t doing their work from home or helping their kids with schoolwork. Being generally sequestered indefinitely, they yearn for content to keep them abreast of what’s going on in the world as well as something to entertain them to help pass the time. Many business-related companies that have means of broadcasting through webinars or the like are already taking advantage of this, and trying to help the “cause” of needing content to help people get through these times. So many people are not used to staying at home for long periods of time, unless they’ve been seriously ill, or snowed in from a blizzard or other natural disaster. Perhaps because I’m a bit of an introvert, and I’ve worked from home for a long time, I’m used to staying home and not going out for long stretches of time. I am a natural couch potato–my mother used to criticize me for it, but I’ve always loved watching TV to watch all the comedies, action shows, and documentaries I could. I swear half of my knowledge comes from pop culture from those years of intensely watching TV from the 1970s-1990s especially.

So, this is an opportunity to either appreciate the content that is out there or start creating your own. I’ve been watching documentaries, movies, and TV shows that were on my watch list for the longest time, and I’m starting to read some books again. At the same time,  I’m working with my programming chair/vice-president of the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter and another STC person on creating other content and events to go on virtually in the coming months.

Now, you might think that you need to have fancy equipment and lighting and audio to create content. Nope. Heck, this blog post is content. It’s taking up some of your time, and giving you something to think about, doesn’t it? Additionally, it’s not about the “bling”. Again the point is the content itself. What is the big message? What value does the content–whether it be text, video, audio, or whatever–have? Does it need to be “perfect” in order to get that main message through? In my opinion, it doesn’t not have to be glitzy. It’s nice when it is, but it doesn’t have to be. All content, as we’ve been told by content marketers, is about storytelling. Yes, that procedure manual you are writing or those instructions that you are writing as a technical writer are still telling a story. Any kind of entertainment we watch right now is content and it’s storytelling. Content storytelling comes in infinite forms, after all.

Photo of TechCommGeekMom and hubby walking in their neighborhood.

Here’s my contribution. Here’s a photo of me and my husband taking a walk around our neighborhood. It’s usually this quiet around here for the most part anyway. We didn’t stay six feet apart for long!

What kind of content are you either going to consume or create today? For me, it’s watching a mini-series on Hulu, then watching Star Trek: Picard and the Ready Room later today. I might create some storytelling by submitting my resume to another job opening. I know I’ve definitely been having conversations via social media and instant messaging with friends and family during this time. For me, most of this is generally the same as usual–I fill my life with content. Content is storytelling, but it’s also how you fill your life with experiences. Going out for a walk to get some fresh air is still absorbing content–you are using all your senses to create your story of taking that walk outside. You can translate that into further content by either video recording that walk, taking photos along the way, or writing about it later. No matter how it’s processed, it’s content.

So, while it’s frustrating to be sequestered for this long, we all know it’s for our own health and for the greater good of the PLANET. Coronavirus has definitely hit my area, and with my bad asthma, I’m hesitant to leave the house–other than a neighborhood walk–for anything for the most part. I know a lot of people are having a hard time with this, but we really are in this together. My recommendation is to concentrate on the good content that is out there. Be aware of the “doom and gloom” to be educated, but focus on the better stuff. Pay attention to how others are helping each other. Look at the content that people are putting out to ensure that you are recognized, loved, helped, and that your mind is staying active. Watch webinars and video conferences. This is a great opportunity to hone your verbal and written communications skills because working from home involves better communications skills than when you are in the office. Appreciate and enjoy all the entertainment and education that the media offers. You know I learned how to cook better over the years from watching a lot of the Food Network? My husband I have learned a lot about DIY projects and real estate from watching HGTV. It’s an opportunity for you to read all those books that you’ve been collecting to read and “will get to eventually”. This is time to spend with your families. This is a time to break out your creative side and draw, paint, knit…whatever. Learn to exercise at home doing something different–there are plenty of “dance parties” and yoga classes online where you don’t need equipment. Use this time to absorb content that will help you be a better person when you emerge from the quarantines. It will help distract you from the doom and gloom. Contribute content when you can, even if it’s a one-to-one instant message conversation with a friend, or an email. I know an email checking in on my parents lifted their spirits that I was checking in on them. Or heck, a blog post. 🙂

It’s all about the content right now. Learn to absorb and appreciate what’s out there right now that we can use, and help contribute positive content to share.

What are your thoughts? Include your comments below.

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The COVID19 pandemic is spurring more online learning

Smiling college students in a lecture

While I’ve been talking about how it took a pandemic to truly begin to show companies that remote working is a viable option for many, I’m starting to see that it also applies to online learning. In light of the spreading virus, many university and college campuses are closing down and switching over to online classes. As a result, it seems like the ripe time for online learning–especially m-learning–to be put to the test (as if it hadn’t been already) in the same way that remote working is being put to the test.

If you look to very early entries on this blog, you’ll see that there are a LOT of articles that I’ve written in the past in favor of online learning.  I don’t remember the exact statistic off the top of my head as I write this, but I remember reading that there are more active smartphones in the world than there are people, and those in third-world countries are more likely to have a mobile or smartphone than a computer and adopt mobile learning (also known as m-learning) than other places.

What prompted this post was that I was reading social media posts and responses of parents who are skeptical or worried about their children’s education having to switch online (especially college students) for the rest of the semester. As someone who has done all of her graduate credentials (three graduate certificates and a master’s degree) online from “brick and mortar” schools in the last ten years, and having taught two graduate classes online for a “brick and mortar” university, I can tell you that students will only lose out if the professor teaching doesn’t put a little bit of time into what they post on online courses.

If a professor has got a good foundation for the curriculum, it will be easy to follow. Assignments will still be due and graded, and online forums, chat groups, etc. will be MORE important. It’s a matter of how well laid-out the course is in a learning management system (LMS) and how strong the curriculum is. It’s also a matter of how well students and instructors choose to communicate. Short of being in person, it’s important to utilize all online means possible to ask questions and discuss in order to continue the learning process. To be honest, this kind of communication, in fact, is actually good training for the real world. We can’t always be in face-to-face contact with clients or co-workers globally, and using conference calls, online forums, chat groups, instant messaging, and email are all par for the course (no pun intended). This is the norm! Getting used to this not only helps to keep their education going, but it also prepares them for the “real world” and expanding their communications skills. 

I’ve been a huge advocate for online learning for at least a decade now. It can be done, and like anything else, it’s a matter for the student to be dedicated towards reading the syllabus and assignments carefully, following instructions, and putting the same amount of effort in, if not more. The success of the course lays on how the course information and lines of communication are kept open by the instructor. It’s an adjustment for those who are not used to doing things this way, but it’s been a feasible way of doing things for more than a decade, and now, more learning is being forced into seeing this as a viable option out of necessity. 

What are your thoughts? Include your comments below. 

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Structure and Semantics for Context – Simple A

Maxwell Hoffmann

Maxwell Hoffmann, circa 2013
Photo credit: D.M.Villegas

Simple A’s Maxwell Hoffman happens to be a good friend and mentor of mine. I’m lucky and honored to have him as one of my cheerleaders. Maxwell recently wrote and excellent article about structure and semantics for context in content for Simple A’s blog and for the ISTC.

His article starts,
Content becomes intelligent, flexible, and capable of scalable personalization through structure and semantics.

Content drives customer experience (CX). In order to achieve optimal CX, we need the ability to manage multiple variations of content components that are dynamically assembled as relevant experiences, based on the context of the customer’s touchpoints. We need the ability to create a content component once, then reuse and deploy it many times, in many ways. This requires structured content with an intelligence shaped by semantics.

Structuring content within a well-defined content model makes content scalable, reusable, adaptable, and measurable. We cannot create real-time, personalized conversations at scale without structured, intelligent, semantically rich and truly accessible content.

He continues the article breaking down how we can create content models based on reusable content (do I hear DITA?) and how we model content has direct impact on user and customer experience. This is the foundation of intelligent content, if you think about it.

It’s a well-written article, and I highly recommend that you take a look at it.

Structure and Semantics for Context

What do you think? Include your comments below.

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Virus puts gig economy to the test – LinkedIn

Woman blowing her nose, sick at workIt’s amazing to see how suddenly companies are taking coronavirus/COVID19 so seriously, and suddenly allowing remote work in droves. In light of this, my friend Ken Ronkowitz shared this link on LinkedIn which covers a few articles and comments about how this pandemic may show how the gig economy can truly work, and despite all the protests about remote work not being productive, it really can be.

It’s a LinkedIn article, so make sure that you log into your LinkedIn account first:

Virus puts gig economy to the test

What do you think? Will this be the “needle that broke the camel’s back” when it comes to proving remote work is viable? Or is this solely a temporary fix? Include your comments below.

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Who knew it’d be a pandemic to encourage remote work?

It is early March 2020. At this writing, the coronavirus (also known as COVID19) pandemic is slowly taking over, and people are starting to realize that they need to take it seriously. Unlike other pandemics in the past (last big one was “Spanish Flu” 100 years ago), we do have the knowledge and means to prevent it from spreading too much with basic sanitary hygiene like washing your hands and not touching other surfaces and hands that infected people might have also touched.

It is in light of this that I’m getting many of my tech comm friends pinging me on social media about remote work, as in, “Hey, I know you are an advocate for remote work, and more companies are sending people home in fear of the coronavirus.” Yep, so I’ve seen!  Who knew that it would take a pandemic to encourage remote work?

While there are jobs out there where you do need to show up, most technical communications jobs are really not among them. I’ve worked on virtual teams of technical writers, content strategists, UX designers, programmers, project managers, visual designers, and we did just fine. It’s all about communication and having the appropriate tools, but I’ll go into that more in a moment. Let’s look at some other factors that show that remote work is super viable.  

I could have told you that remote work was better for health reasons long ago. First, we can keep our germs to ourselves more by staying home. This doesn’t mean that we never leave our homes, but because we only go out to shop or get errands done, we’re not exposed to as many things as most. Yes, it only takes one germ to get ‘ya, but your risk is significantly minimized. I used to get really bad bronchial infections, colds, and other things when I worked in offices, no matter how much hand sanitizer I used and how many Clorox anti-bacterial wipes I used on my equipment.  Once I worked from home, that happened less often.  If workers don’t get sick as often, then their health benefits are not as expensive and there’s more time working. That benefits employers as much as it does workers. 

Costs of working from home is significantly less. I think I read a statistic–I think Chris Herd put it on LinkedIn recently (he’s another big remote advocate like me) that it costs something like $18,000+ per worker per year (or something like that) to pay for office space. I don’t think that included internet/wifi connectivity, water/electricity/heating/cooling, telephony, or any other things that you have in an office. Working from home, that costs about 1/10th of that per year. Additionally, there’s the cost of commuting by car or public transit, or even eating out for lunch. Those costs in not only money but time also take away from the “bottom line”–they add up very quickly. 

Remote workers also reap mental health benefits from working from home. In most cases, there have been studies that show that working from home is more productive as there are less disturbances, allowing workers to better focus on their work.  They can use that free time to get a gym workout in, talk to their kids, make a healthier meal than take out, or just…whatever. The balance between work and home is better because there’s more “home” time involved.  Less stress means happier workers. 

Now, I know there are those who say that they like having to work around people. Good for you! But I know this tech comm bunch–most of us (including myself) are introverts. (I know, I don’t seem like one, but I am an extroverted introvert.) We don’t have to deal with people ALL THE TIME. What about that one co-worker you would prefer not to talk to unless you have to? When you are in the office, you are forced into seeing your office colleagues all day, whether you like them or not. You see them more than you see your family, in some cases. If you have great colleagues, good for you. I’ve been in bad groups and good groups. I would rather control my face time with all of them. Remote work lets me do that.  We live in an age where we can video conference, audio conference, make phone calls, email, and instant message people. There are shared drives and BaseCamp and Microsoft Teams and Jira/Confluence and other tools that help with the collaboration. As I said, I’ve been on teams where everyone was spread out globally, and with consistent, concise, and frequent communication using most of the tools listed above, we would make great things happen. 

IT CAN WORK. 

Now, companies are forced into trying it for the sake of world health. I’m willing to bet that many companies that previously didn’t have any kind of telecommuting or remote options that are now forced to consider it are going to get a shocking surprise at how well things will work. Remote work was supposed to be something that was going to be very commonplace by 2020, and it still isn’t. (Thanks, Marissa Meyer.) 

I’m looking for a new remote position right now, as a matter of fact. I am suited for it. I prefer it. I get more work done. I am able to keep after my health better. My mental state is better. I can take care of my family better. I’m more comfortable working in my own setup, and saving money on commuting and other working-at-an-office costs. Some of my best work has been done when I worked from home. 

Will this be the huge wake up call that we advocates of remote work have been waiting for? Time will tell. 

What do you think? Include your comments below.  

PS – You might also want to do a search in this blog on the word “remote” and see several articles that I’ve shared and other insights as well. 😉

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What is conversation design?

Scotty talking to a computer mouse.

When going back in time in Star Trek IV, Chief Engineer Scott forgot that there wasn’t AI in the late 1980s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Donn DeBoard for posting this on his LinkedIn feed. This is a really good site for something that all technical communications professionals should be looking at, even if they don’t do something related to it now. This is what the future is going to look like, and we are the pioneers.

Read this page and its subsequent pages from Google about conversation design:
https://designguidelines.withgoogle.com/conversation/conversation-design/what-is-conversation-design.html

What do you think of conversation design? Include your comments below.

–TechCommGeekMom

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Maybe It’s Not Content Management Anymore. Maybe It’s Context Management/Associations Now

Maybe It’s Not Content Management Anymore. Maybe It’s Context Management.

Thanks to Tina Howe for sharing this on her Twitter feed.

Just from the title alone, the concept is a little mind-blowing.  How would you abandon content management after so many years? Heck, there are still many who haven’t grasped that concept in the first place!

But once you read the entire article, it makes total sense. Content types have been growing steadily, especially in the last 10 to 15 years or so, and with that, you have many different kinds of content that need specialized machinations in order to create the management of that content and how it interacts with other content.  It reminds me a little bit about hypertext theory, but amplified. Hypertext theory has to do with the paths one takes to get from point A to the desired point B when there could be multiple points A and multiple points B and endless combinations. Add the complexity of different things beyond text, images and video and consider bots, AI, and other newer tech that has come into the picture. They all have to play nicely together, but they also need to be organized in a way that the transitions from various points A to points B to points C need to be seamless.

Take a read, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

–TechCommGeekMom

 

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