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Pay it forward

I am a fan of sharing information and knowledge. Maybe that is why I enjoy the field of technical communication? It feels natural to share a snippet of knowledge or experience that I have gained. One specific example of this happened earlier this year.

A person respected in the technical communication community asked for more experienced technical communicators to meet with some of his students to share stories of career journeys and life experiences in this field. I volunteered right away. We were all matched up with a student who would interview us. I had no idea what to expect, but I can talk and I have opinions! (Insert image of countless heads nodding vigourously at the talking part.)

A student contacted me soon after, and we arranged a meeting. They ran the interview, and I “just talked”. It was a pleasant experience, and they seemed quite satisfied with the interview. Their paper is probably entitled “The most talkative technical communicator”!

Seriously though. It felt good telling stories about my path to being a technical author/communicator/writer. This pleasant trip down Memory Lane was not just for my gratification. It was about sharing good and bad stories, served up openly to another person to consider on their own journey. We made a connection. Maybe they will take something useful from the interview. Maybe they will carry some ideas along and share them with someone else later on. I paid something forward that day, and that is an incredible feeling. I can only encourage you to do the same when you have the opportunity.

When you share and “pay it forward”, you are also learning and growing. It’s a wonderful chance to learn about new and different views on something you think you know well. This kind of knowledge sharing/connecting/networking keeps me alert and invigorated, and who doesn’t want that feeling!

This feeling is akin to how I feel seeing spring return and slowly turn into summer.

Looking up into the branches of a flowering plum tree in April 2023. The branches and flowers are dense on the left, but the blue sky dominates a strip on the right from top to bottom.
Mostly blue sky. At the very bottom are the tops of the trees in the forest, with a few trees closest to the photographer sticking higher up. An uneven line of cumulus clouds lies a bit above the crowns of the trees. On the right, three cumulus cloud form a column leading skyward like smoke signals.
Blue sky with an overlay of altocumulus or cirrocumulus clouds whitening the sky a bit in the upper left from picking up the sunlight from the sun out of frame on the left.