My Job: Taking Care of Business

Courtesy of Intercom, the Magazine of the Society for Technical Communication, May 2015

Courtesy of Intercom, the Magazine of the Society for Technical Communication, May 2015

In the spring of 1985, I was working in a career services office for a university when a request came from a corporate manager for someone to write a policies and procedures manual. Though I had not worked in corporate America and had not written a manual, a colleague encouraged me to apply. With a degree in Public Communication and a major in Literacy Journalism, I had solid writing skills. I took the four-month assignment, enjoyed the work, did it well, resigned from the university, worked through an agency on a variety of technical and business writing projects, and, a year later, launched my own business.

Part of what I love about running Shenouda Associates Inc. is the ability to schedule my own time. By now, I know what needs to be done to keep the business humming along. My calendar is filled with key dates, so that at the start of any given week, I can set priorities. No longer is every day or every hour booked, which means I have the luxury of doing some of my own creative work, including self-publishing my own books.

Overall, my job includes activities in the administrative, HR, and marketing areas and, of course, many day-to-day activities revolve around the craft of researching, writing, editing, and publishing.

Administrative activities include time spent tracking time worked on projects, billing clients, preparing a payroll, and assuring that the business is taking in more than it is spending. In a nutshell, this is time invested in taking care of business — essential to any business’s success.

At Shenouda Associates Inc., I am the HR department. As someone who enjoys spending time with people and getting to know them, I regularly go to meetings and events of professional organizations such as STC and often meet others who are candidates for projects. Over time, I have developed a cadre of human resources, with a variety of skills, who can work on technical communication and related projects.

Marketing is an ongoing pursuit. By now, I have all kinds of collaterals — a printed presentation folder, business card, brochure; as well as a website, blog, and online presence in social networking sites — that convey our capabilities. When potential or current clients want to know how we can meet specific communication needs, I write project proposals and statements of work. Once the project is in hand, these tools evolve into tracking tools, assuring that the business delivers what was promised.

Some portion of each week and often each day is spent on the craft of a technical and business communicator. Currently, I am analyzing a series of websites in a vertical market and documenting the elements on each page, writing a service manual for a client’s new product, and organizing and editing the contents of a book that a client will self-publish. With others in my business involved in writing, editing, and publishing a variety of print and electronic deliverables for clients, I am often another pair of eyes or hands, doing whatever is needed to hand off a quality deliverable.

My job is more than doing administrative, HR, marketing, and craft-related activities. It is about creating value by fulfilling our promise: Shenouda eases communication, making the world work just a little bit better — manual by manual, publication by publication, book by book.

Judith Shenouda (Shenouda@easescommunication.com) is owner of Shenouda Associates Inc. (http://easescommunication.com/), a business that researches, writes, and edits the professional publications that launch products, streamline processes, and promote each client’s brand. She has achieved recognition as a Toastmasters International Advanced Leader Bronze and Advanced Communicator Bronze and is co-founder of Thinking Forward (http://thinkingforward.us/), a troupe of professional speakers. Judith presents seminars and webinars on topics related both to her business and the books she authored and published, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal and A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way.

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