Time for New Adventures

Today will be my last day as Web Developer in WNET’s Interactive Engagement Group, just two weeks shy of my two year anniversary. Monday, August 1, will be my first day as Documentation Editor at Joyent.

I had been thinking about my next move for a while – I suppose you could call it the two-year itch, the one that young professionals seem to get early in their careers. For the first time in my life, I was being actively recruited by various organizations looking for front-end developers (or back-end engineers, for which I was not the right fit). Recruitment is a funny thing. It’s nice to start practicing what it will be like when you put yourself out there for new positions, as well as potentially open an opportunity that you may not have come across otherwise.

Joyent came to me through a more old-fashioned method: in-person networking. Instead of a recruitment email, it was me sitting at the hotel bar after the first day of O’Reilly’s Velocity Conference and talking to a potential new friend about ourselves and our goals for the conference. I did a good enough job convincing this gentleman that I believe in the importance of documentation for developers, so much so that it sent me down a path of phone calls and interviews about a role they were just creating for someone just like me.

At first, this opportunity looked felt like it would be a huge career shift. Despite the fact I’ve spoken about the importance of technical writing for developers on multiple occasions, formally and informally, I never assumed I’d take a job doing it full time. I always assumed I would keep on building new things, possibly for a new company, probably for many more new companies. It’s likely that I never would have applied to a technical writing position, without it coming to me.

I made a long pros and cons list, thinking about the many reasons why this opportunity could be just too good to pass up, as well as the many reasons I was scared to make the jump. And even with my acceptance and my enthusiasm for this opportunity, I am still a little scared. Not only is this a new role in a field I didn’t think I’d pursue, but it’s also a remote position. My boss and many of my colleagues will be on Pacific Time.

But with that fear of being remote, also comes amazing opportunity. A remote job allows me the possibility of traveling all over the world and working from anywhere (as long as they have strong wifi). If you know me, you know I do a lot of that (see Japan, see Poland, see the UK). There are so many more places that I want to go and not enough vacation time in the world to fulfill that desire.

Yes, it will be challenging. I know I’m going to learn a lot about who I am and who I want to be. I’m a social person who will no longer sit amongst her colleagues, but instead be tied to them via chat apps and video hangouts. I’m going to have to pick up the new languages quickly so I can start turning around meaningful content.

But fear should never be the reason to say no to a new adventure. So here goes everything.

Interactive Engagement Group Portfolio and Technical Blog

Back in October of 2014, I had a bit of a dry spell at WNET. There weren’t as many new projects coming in, and I was still green to the way our more complex web properties work. Instead of sitting around and reading the various internet news aggregates, I decided to attack a problem I knew about even before starting my job that August.

The Interactive Engagement Group (IEG) website was a flat, two-page piece of brochure ware. It was built to appease the powers-that-be, but was in no way indicative of the type of amazing work that the department was capable of doing. I wanted to take this project head on and lead the way to a beautiful, responsive, and informative website that would not only show off what we could do, but show off the expertise of our team. To do this, I needed buy-in from my boss, head of the technical team, and from the head of our department.

To Get Buy In, I Came Prepared

Though I talked about why I thought it was important with my boss and with the developer team, I knew I would need a lot more than a “good idea” to get department funding to build the site. I put my professional writing skills to work and wrote a content strategy. Read more