2018 was a very interesting year indeed. Both in the ‘participation in fascinating projects’ sense, and ‘interesting times’ proverbial way.
- Worked with some brilliant organisations as a content designer, making web content easier to access
- Brought my experience training as a teacher to work – I’ve facilitated workshops for central government departments and edited teaching resources on the British Red Cross website to make them easier to access for teachers
- Worked on video and web content for a big four professional services firm to help recruit the best young people
- Ghost-written for (amongst other things) charities, big pharma and an org who supports responsible drinking
- Photographed, sketch-noted and live-tweeted events and written up post-event reports
- Proofread some interesting documents including the Step Two #IDWawards which showcase great practice in intranets and digital workplaces
- Presented to an international audience in Sydney about stakeholder engagement at #DEX2018
- Participated in panel discussions about content design, branding and intranet technology
- Helped small businesses improve their web presence
- Written a byline on how much I love headphones which help me get more work done wherever I’m based, and commented elsewhere in Voice, the IOIC magazine
- Co-organised and co-hosted Intranet Now – the best independent conference for comms and intranet people with Wedge Black
Oh, and this is the year I went freelance, did my first ever speaking gig and have been finding my way through it all.
This means I have also:
- Been delighted at the lack of office politics although I can be an awful boss who has had to learn how to set boundaries with my employee. Setting up a separate space to work, where I can close the door at the end of the day has been brilliant and long-overdue.
- Missed having the IT support of a large organisation, having to navigate the joys of selecting your own tech, setting up inboxes and remote working processes, with the pitfalls of having to be the first and second-line support when it goes wrong.
- Not missed picking up every bug my helpful colleagues bring into the office, but missed the sick pay when rendered immobile with a broken foot.
- Reminded myself about the power of networks. Most of my work has been directly or indirectly through recommendations, and people I know. I’ve worked with some brilliant people this year, who have helped me get to where I need to. I’ve long been a fan of finding your allies, inside and outside your organisation but when you’re physically on your own (rather than just feeling that way in a large org) it’s more important than ever.
- Navigated the minefield of switching registers; there have been times this year when I’ve had three clients at once. Each project comes with its own standards, processes, rules of engagement and controls – switching from one to another has caused a little friction at times.
- Been surprised at my lower incidental spend, with reduced travel costs, random ‘treats’ at the shops while waiting for my train or spending £10 a day on coffee and lunch.
- Spent a considerable amount of time questioning my judgement, my sanity, and wondering where the next contract might come. It’s not all flat whites and co-working spaces; keeping your mental health, particularly when you’re working from home and seeing people less often means it can be easy to forget to leave the house for days. It’s been particularly challenging at times when I’ve been unable to get out and about, but I’ve also been delighted by catching up with friends and colleagues at home.
Next year I want to:
- Do more of the good work. My favourite contract this year, working with Methods for Public Health England’s #everymindmatters campaign, involved content I am passionate about, great colleagues to bounce ideas off (hi Rob Finch), a great team that did Agile really well and a mix of working on-site and at home.
- Get better at introducing myself. I wear a few hats, and am a few different things to different people. A portfolio career makes it more important than ever to know how to say “hello” depending on who you are speaking to. I read a great blog from Rachel Miller featuring Janet Murray – both comms professionals who are brilliant at telling their story. I’m improving how I do this in writing, but when it comes to in-person I’m definitely a work in progress!
- Put myself forward for more speaking opportunities. I’ve had some really interesting experiences this year and it’s something I’ve enjoyed – and I’m looking forward to what next year has in store.
If I sound like someone you’d like to work with, let me know – lisa [@] lisariemers.com or get in touch with me on Twitter.