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Tapping the innervoice

Over the past few days, I’ve had the distinct feeling that the year is coming full circle. The end of the year is a great time to reflect on a number of things (and 5am is as good a time as any to do it), like:

  1. a year spent in Toronto
  2. my most intense year, to date, of career development
  3. a year in a long-distance relationship and intense travel (Vancouver- Toronto thrice, with Iceland for kicks)
  4. a year living away from home
  5. a year spent in the company of some really, really intensely interesting people

The last few days in particular, I’ve been revisiting the need to build a personal brand, and to start doing substantial work on answering the question of what I want to do post-graduation – a question that I, very fortunately, feel entirely prepared to tackle. I am getting ready to write up my learning objectives for the next semester.

I’m struck by how, once again, it really comes back to writing – the beginning and end of it all for me, really. One of my first posts in this blog talked about my anxiety surrounding the writing of essays. It brings a bit of a laugh, to cast my gaze even further back to this funny relationship I have with words and what I want to do, to grade six when I gave up my dreams of being a writer to start looking at web design. As luck would have it, the new dream was simply the old one wrapped up in Internet clothing, because at this juncture web design goes hand-in-hand with good copy providing solid conceptual grounding with one’s audience.

The influence of the word persists, even in the nearly insubstantial weight of the Internet – I’m both surprised by this, and find it completely obvious. Having now been exposed to the business environment, I think it will be interesting to see how these words stack up against the TV-like-but-not-quite direct gaze of vlogs and the eyes-closed-ears-open heartworlds of podcasts. Writing has no more or less of a measured quality and use for business than any of the other media except the weight of convention, but words have a different barrier to entry. Everyone online has a keyboard, or at least a T9 dictionary, regardless of the other input methods at their disposal.

I spend most days answering emails and speaking in the voice of the corporation, or at very least the team. I’ve noticed my writing degrading in the last bit at work – very disturbing for me to see that my sanity grammar checks in IM and email have given way to haste, after 10 years online. I remember now, however, that one of my first projects in my current job was remember and re-learn how to write. Being remotely able to do this was considered amazing, and I recall how astounded I was by it. Perhaps, in the upper division Communication and English classes I’d been frequenting prior to the job, writing was starting to seem like water for fish – so pervasive and vital as to be invisible.

I think I’ve been doing a bit of a disservice to myself by rushing through my Learning Objectives forms. I’ve been using the language to obfuscate my dissatisfaction with being handed tasks that feel below me (cut-and-paste, much?). I’m coming to learn that working in a corporation is about 9/10ths fighting to not stagnate – and where I am right now, I could shoot off in a billion directions and no one would bat an eyelash. I wouldn’t have that sort of flexibility anywhere else, though it also comes with its fair share of constraints, like indentured servitude.

So, as I continue to jump through my co-op “end of work term” hoops, I hope to emerge from my last evaluation of 2006 with something resembling a personal branding strategy for 2007. It will be a pretty big feat, – I will need to secure my financial projections, make some tough priority calls, synthesize the skills and experiences I’ve had in Toronto both on and off of the job, reconcile the bit of education I had this semester with the other 7/8ths of my degree, and do general visioning work.

I may have the words for it, but we’ll see about the guts.

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