The power of one

January 20th, 2017   •   no comments   
The power of one

When you work as a freelance writer, you quickly learn the secrets of flying solo.

At first it can be daunting. Let’s face it: there are things you give up when you go out on your own. Like being part of a team, having colleagues to cover your back, not to mention the perks of full-time employment – the comfort of knowing you will be paid at the end of the month.

Then there are the amazing upsides. There’s the satisfaction of bringing real value to a client who chooses you for their project. The focus and perspective you are able to provide while sitting on the outside. The opportunity to learn about different clients and connect with their culture. All while enjoying freedom from team meetings, office politics, and the ability to pick and choose who you go to lunch with.

Independence doesn’t come without its challenges. When you are accountable only to yourself, there are no excuses. And there are plenty of objectives. First and foremost, find work. Get it done. Get paid. read more

What will you miss?

June 8th, 2016   •   no comments   
What will you miss?

“This is one thing I won’t miss!” said one of my clients the other day.

We were going over the latest round of changes to a document she had asked me to draft. She may have been referring to the politics of approvals, a tendency by certain members of executive management to nitpick, too many urgent projects and not enough time. Whatever it was, it struck me then and there: there are things we love and hate about our jobs, things that we will and won’t miss when we leave.

It has been three years since I left the corporate world to pursue a different work-life balance. It was the right choice. As an independent professional, I am fortunate to have good clients who appreciate my expertise as a writer. They come to me with (mostly) interesting and varied projects; I provide them with the level of support they need – creative, strategic, flexible, reliable. I don’t mind the wordsmithing on certain jobs because I know it adds value to have a text read just right. And I also know that sometimes you just have to roll with the punches when a top executive wants to edit out the best parts.

What do I miss most? There are days when I miss being part of a team. Going for coffee or lunch with people you work with and appreciate on a day-to-day basis. I miss my work family. Even though we had a few dysfunctional members and frequent moments of frustration.

What do I miss least? The endless hours wasted trying to achieve things as a group. Meetings that often felt futile; we all knew there was probably a better way but meetings were part of the process. And the commutes – I don’t miss them either. I have a dedicated home office with a door that closes and a view over beautiful Lake Geneva. I enjoy the days when I go to meet with clients or stop by my business center but the rest of the time is mine to manage.

If you left your job tomorrow, what would you miss most? Or not at all?

 

Distraction-free mode

May 3rd, 2016   •   no comments   
Distraction-free mode

Something beeped.

It wasn’t my phone: no calls, no messages. Nor was it a desktop notification from my Mac – they’re mostly disabled anyway, and I’ve also muted all sound from my keyboard so as to enable distraction-free work.

It could have been one of the smoke detectors, advising me that the battery needs replacing. Or the dishwasher, letting me know that it has completed its cycle. It may even have been my husband’s sports watch, notifying him of a complete charge.

I wander around my home office, looking for the culprit. In my mind, composing a letter of complaint to the Chief Engineer of beep technology. Surely, in this age of the internet of things, there must be a better way? read more

Do you dare to ask?

March 11th, 2016   •   no comments   
Do you dare to ask?

What’s more important: knowing all the answers or asking the right questions?

We live in a world where the value of questions is often underrated. As school children we are rewarded for knowing the right answers, not for asking the right questions. At a job interview, most people will worry about saying all the right things in response to what the interviewer asks. How many will dare to ask questions of their own?

And yet, the quality of the questions you ask, along with the degree of curiosity and interest you show, can say more about you than your best answer.

Don’t be misled by the old saying – “There are no stupid questions, only stupid people.” Like most pieces of popular wisdom, it is both true and false. Stupid questions are the ones you ask before reading the background material or without thinking first. And yes, it happens to the best of us.

We writers have to ask questions – it’s part of the job. We bubble with curiosity in meetings and during interviews, by email and whenever we talk to you. Clients, experts, colleagues – you are a vital source of the information we need to write that story, structure that presentation or focus the customer’s message.

read more