My boss at the writing center once called me a “wonder woman.” Admittedly, I wish I could play Wonder Woman and do all of the stunts. Sadly, though, I’m a different kind of workplace superhero.
While composing a blog page at my old job, a university writing center, I ran into a problem. Each writing consultant would have a chance to introduce themselves to students with our Meet the Team page. We would post their picture, year, title, and major along with a self-written blurb. My partners were Jaclyn, lead consultant, and Heather, lead consultant and online consultation manager.
My title was manifold and–precarious–so I e-mailed my boss to ask what she thought I should put beside my name. Her reply:
…options for you:We don’t know what we’ll do without herUltimate WC social media Wonder WomanWC Wonder WomanI’m really leaning toward WC Wonder Woman. Seriously. You do it all.
To give you a better idea of my role, here are the steps I took to make the Meet the Team page of the blog a reality.
Reach a plateau, build a mountain
I’d been running the social media for the writing center for a few semesters, and had reached a plateau in audience interaction. My solution to this was to create more original, interesting, and thorough content on a WordPress blog–which would be written by myself and my consulting co-workers and promoted on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
The blog gave the Writing Center a platform that allowed it to express complicated subject matter and highlight an upcoming milestone–moving into a newly renovated building. Simultaneously, article writing and editing gave consultants excellent resume material not to mention activities to do during the summertime lull.
Firstly, I brainstormed and pitched the idea of the blog to my boss. She eagerly supported it, so I moved forward with planning and getting my coworkers involved. For the rest of the summer I was generating ideas, assigning tasks, and creating instructions while building the WordPress site and scheduling the semester posts.
Knowing that we’d like to give students the chance to select the consultant best for them, I began drafting a plan for the Meet the Team page–without having met some new hires.
Just before the fall semester, the writing center was going to have an orientation. With a full plate, my boss asked the leads to schedule the orientation’s activities, so we did, and I scheduled time for my project. This was also an opportunity to take coworkers’ pictures and collect blurbs in a timely manner (the blog was scheduled to go live two days after orientation). To be sure that this process didn’t prolong the training session, I put together my own sample along with some simple instructions in the form of Blurb Prompts.
Not only were blurbs going to include people’s basic information, but I wanted to make sure that my coworkers personalities shown through. However, many of the Writing Center consultants were shy and not fond of shining a light on themselves. I printed off the instructions and took my PowerPoint about the writing center’s campaign to orientation. I made my presentation and asked everyone to fill out their sheet. Although some reservations were still felt, the outcome was wonderful!
My favorite resulting blurb shared that there was a 99% chance the consultant could be found with fruit snacks. Funnily enough, this consultant also became my padawan and took over for me following my graduation.
Photo to finish
We needed pictures of each consultant, I took my camera and tripod to orientation. I set it up in front of a white board and coaxed everyone in front of the camera individually and then as a group.
With everyone’s pictures safely on my SD card, I took them home and put each picture in Photoshop. I cropped them into circles and made them black and white to create an attractive continuity.
Next, I put the pictures into a long composite Photoshop document, carefully layered by consultant, and typed up their blurbs. I sized this long .png for the Meet the Team page (because free WordPress isn’t great with image and text alignment).
A sprinkling of copy at the top made the page ready to publish!
Part of my job running social media accounts and the blog was to document processes and make campaign schedule and image templates. I also had to package all of my ideas and deliverables neatly for the Writing Center to use with minimal time and effort after my graduation. So, when I check in with their profiles, I can see my legacy in Instagram hashtags like #writercrushwednesday and 6 of the 11 profile images on their current Meet the Team page, which you can check out here.
So, What did I do at the Writing Center? I tutored diverse college students on how to write well, interviewed and trained new consultants, made multiple presentations across campus and the Midwest, created graphics, posters, and gifs, conducted interviews, was interviewed by outside groups, ran day-to-day social media, acted as a spokesperson and ambassador, wrote for, edited, and produced the blog, attended conferences, wrote tutorials, and left behind a legacy. All of that and it was only a part-time job.
However, none of that is as cool as deflecting bullets with bracelets. Nevertheless, I found it challenging and educational. I gave it my all because that’s the only way I work for an organization and cause that I care about.
I think I was pretty good at it too.
Update: While writing this, I’ve realized that the blurbs are invisible to text readers for the visually impaired due to being part of the image instead of <p> or heading entities (something I learned in a Web Design course). I’ve notified my former boss, so hopefully the current team is able to fix it. Being aware of this will help me make sure that it isn’t a repeated mistake.