Archive | January, 2013

Designers’ Dilemma

30 Jan

About this time last year, I watched this video in my Capstone course on Technical and Professional Communication. It perfectly illustrates the real life nightmare that designers and other various types of freelancers often encounter.

Having had experience as a piano teacher for a few years, I could already relate to challenges with clients. It’s easy for enthusiasm to drown our reality when people become motivated to send their children to learn to play the piano. Remarkable weekly progress is expected, or the teacher is to blame and the child gets moved on to another teacher. Unfortunately, as exciting as it is to begin piano lessons, a child doesn’t become the next Mozart after a 30-minute lesson introducing the fundamentals of reading music.

Professionals know these kinds of things and have to learn how to communicate them to everyone involved while maintaining their professionalism, credibility, and ultimately, their business.

It’s easy for clients to underestimate, and essentially, devalue an individual’s services, and this can be hard for the professional to not take personally. However, creating and adhering to firm policies and procedures that provide benefits to everyone involved– especially in regards to monetary compensation–establishes a standard of fairness for both the professional and the client.

Just as with teaching piano, a lot of work is involved in tailoring information to people’s needs– whether it’s through building websites, writing, editing, designing graphics, filming, etc.

It’s important that professionals receive compensation for the services they provide because…

1. This is fair to the professional who does the work.

2. This usually eliminates most of those unrealistic expectations a client may be inclined to having about any extraneous details regarding the progress of the project.


Mission Statement

18 Jan

I’m in the process of setting up my own professional writing services, and part of my initial planning was to come up with a mission statement for my business (or myself, really). So this is what I came up with a couple of months ago–thought I might share. :)


As a writer and designer, my mission is to present rhetoric in the most necessary and practical ways through the crafting of purposeful language and design. My passions for constructing and enhancing clear communication will be directed to improve quality in the professional world and in personal relationships. I will use my gifts as tools for embracing, channeling, and projecting the dreams, hopes, goals, and needs of others as richly meaningful components of humanity and as part of our intellectually advancing society. My ultimate goal is to reveal the treasure of human differences in skills, abilities, and values and help the world become a generally more appreciative, respectful, and harmonious environment.

Displaying Professionalism

16 Jan

Recently I rejoined Facebook. I thought it might also be a good time to rejoin my technical writing blog! A lot has happened over the past year. I’ve graduated from Auburn University, I’ve pursued many things, failed many attempts, and ultimately I have succeeded at becoming a strong person.

Finding a technical writing job these days appears to be unusually difficult. For the past seven months, I have fervently tried to land a technical writing position and have even opened up my desired location to nearly anywhere (in the whole world). I’ve also considered numerous alternative routes that I might enjoy if I cannot obtain the technical writing experience I am seeking. On top of all of this, I have tweaked or completely redone my résumé more times than I can count, and I have probably spent at least a week’s worth of hours on the cover letters I’ve written to potential employers.

I catch the occasional news that a former classmate who always did only enough to get by in school has landed a position that would be a dream to me. Sometimes people randomly land jobs that they know I am qualified and hunting for and shamelessly remind me of their inexperience or lack of training/qualification. I want to be happy for them, but this is hard to endure when I am still left unemployed and continuing to somehow end up getting interviews with or rejections from the absolute most unprofessional companies and individuals. Seriously…where do these people come from?

….want 2 work 4 me????

I want to encourage everyone in the professional world to step it up. If you are not interested in hiring someone, tell them. If you are, tell them. And have some tact.

For as long as I can even remember, older people have complained about younger people. From music to morals to politics… to methods of communication. How many baby boomers have griped about the way young people have no respect or sense of work ethic? Sure, every generation brings new things to the table, so of course we’re going to be different. My generation is already starting to dislike next generation, so it’s apparently pretty normal. However, I think whatever standards we portray as our own should be the ones we follow.

If you have preconceived notions of me as disrespectful, lazy, or simply incapable because I am young, that does not give you an automatic right to disrespect me, devalue my time and interest, or degrade my education and experiences. Besides, the whole point of the process is to get to know each other and then make a judgment, not the other way around. To make a hiring decision based on your perception of me solely in regards to the phase of life that I am in is wrong. Though it is mostly attributed to older people, in the professional world here in America, it is called “age discrimination”… and it is a crime.

My purpose in this post in not to vent about my unfortunate job searching experiences–though it is nice to let it all out from time to time–but I really intend to enlighten others on the importance of setting an example of the standards you hold others to. The hard work and extended period of time I’ve searched would not be so bad if most of it hadn’t turned out to be a large waste of my time.

If you are in a position of authority and expect to hire someone who is dedicated, timely, capable, and kind… be that. Don’t expect to employ that outstanding person if you will not first present that person in yourself. After all, YOU are the leader.