I was catching up with a friend via Skype (who I know reads this blog, so – hi!), and we were discussing the current trajectories of our respective lives, such as they are (the trajectories, I mean, not the lives (though one might apply that phrase to my life (*ahem* moving on…))). I was telling her about a shift in my responsibilities at work recently, and how I’ve struggled with it, but have come to peace with it.
You see, I was hired to be in the Publications department of the organization, a prospect that excited me as I have always dreamed of working in publishing in some aspect, as do many people who enjoy reading as much as I do. Sure, we worked on other projects in addition to books, but they were our main focus.
Throughout this process, however, I have been pushing for more digital work, since a) it’s the wave of the future, if you will, and b) I enjoy all the techy stuff.
Recently, we’ve shifted from ‘Publications’ to ‘Communications,’ and along with it, my job responsibilities have shifted to have a larger focus on certain projects that are more periodical in nature, i.e. writing stories for magazines, newsletters, etc., which, to be fair, I was doing before, but it’s now more of a focus of my job than previously.
The biggest change, however, is that I am taking on more responsibility for the organization’s online presence. Now, I’ve been an advocate for a shift in our online presence since I started working here two years ago, but I hadn’t really thought about it in terms of what it might mean for my own job description and focus. So, when the opportunity came up to actually do something about the website I’ve been griping about for two years, I found myself hesitating.
Did I really want to focus on our online presence instead of physical books? I’ve been focused on book publishing for almost my entire life as an ultimate goal, while the online stuff was more of a hobby, if you will. Was this really the right move for me? Is it really what I want to be doing with my professional life?
I came to terms with it, justifying it to myself that this was a good change, since I certainly enjoy the web development stuff, and it would certainly allow me the opportunity to develop additional skills in the online arena that could translate to just about any job I might want.
However, when I was explaining it to my friend, I came to the realization that that justification was unnecessary. I would still be doing what I set out to do: enable storytelling.
The parts of book publishing that I’ve been drawn to are those areas that involve discovering new talent and providing the resources to let new authors share their stories with the wider world. However, books are no longer the dominant way to tell a story; online there are a plethora of tools people use to reach out to others, with millions upon millions of stories being cast into the ether every day.
Thus, my job really isn’t changing so much. I’m just shifting mediums for telling the story of my organization and what we support. Yes, I’m in ‘Communications’ now instead of ‘Publishing,’ but really, I’m in the business of storytelling.