Rebecca Reynoso, Writing Center Tutor Alumni Profile
Interview with UIC Writing Center Tutor alumna, Rebecca Reynoso Heading link
12/1/21 Interview with UIC Writing Center Tutor ‘16 alumna, Rebecca Reynoso Heading link
12/1/21 Interview with UIC Writing Center Tutor ‘16 alumna, Rebecca Reynoso
- Pronouns: She/her/hers
- Graduated: BA 2016 in English with Creative Writing focus; MA 2018 in English Literature from Depaul
- Took 222: 2013 with Tyler Mills
- Tutored: Fall 2014-Spring 2016
- Now: Senior Blog Editor at MuleSoft, a division of Salesforce
Tell us a little bit about what your current job is, and what you’re doing these days.
I just transitioned jobs about two weeks back. So I started a new job on November 13th, today’s December 1, so literally just started two weeks ago. I’m working for a company called Salesforce. I’m working as a senior blog editor there on the MuleSoft blog. So MuleSoft is a division of Salesforce. And Salesforce is a tech company, sales enablement, CRM [Customer relationship management]. So a lot of people, especially if you’re in tech to some degree, have used Salesforce as a platform.
So that’s what I’m doing now, and previously for the last nearly three years, I worked for a software company G2.com. And I was the Senior Content Editor over there. So I moved to a pretty lateral role. Just, you know, stayed within tech, still an editor, just moved to a new company, different pay grade, moved from a startup to an enterprise company. So big jump there in company size and the assets that they can provide for their employees.
You said a moment ago that Salesforce is something that people in tech know. Can you talk a little bit more about what Salesforce does and what your role is like there?
So I’m going to talk a little bit more about the MuleSoft side of things. So like I said, MuleSoft is a company that Salesforce owns, so we are a Salesforce company. And MuleSoft is an API connectivity tool. A lot of tech jargon here, but basically it’s a tool that helps developers. It’s “application programming interface,” and it helps developers. I don’t have to deal with all the technical nitty gritty there. But what I am going to be working on right now—I’m still in the onboarding stages—is working with internal contributors and potentially external contributors (that’s something that I want to bring to the table in this role) who write blogs for the website. Basically determining what blogs need to be written, the SEO [search engine optimization—e.g. https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo] and keyword value of those blogs for the website, the publishing cadence, making sure [bloggers] adhere to the company’s style and tone . . . and making things look good on the blog. So that’s what my role as a senior blog editor is and will be.
Okay, great. This is a naive question, but who is the audience for the blogs? Are these potential clients or is it more professionals speaking to other professionals about new innovations in the field? Who’s the primary audience?
So the audience here is a combination of MuleSoft customers as well as developers. So I can I can even like drop a link here: https://blogs.mulesoft.com/bloghome/
I am still learning as I go. Like I said, I’ve been here two weeks, but I can definitely talk more if it’s helpful about my previous company’s blog too, because that one I know like the back of my hand:https://learn.g2.com/
So let me talk through some things. So if you click over to the MuleSoft blog, you’ll see all of the tabs up at the top where there’s “Learn API,” “Integration strategy,” “Developer Guides,” “Digital transformation,” “News,” “Series.” And so some of these are how-to guides about using MuleSoft, or how to integrate other apps with one another. Some are guides for developers that are way beyond my own scope of understanding, but, basically, really technical coding language discussions surrounding API usage and the MuleSoft platform that, while I will be editing and enhancing these blogs, I’m not going to know all the ins and outs of the content because you know, I’m not a developer. But yeah, so that’s where that audience primarily is.
For G2’s blog, it was a lot more wide-ranging where the blogs would focus on many different categories. So G2 is a software company and what I can best describe it as is they are the Yelp of software. And where, you know, you’d go on Yelp like, hey, is this restaurant a good place to go? You’d see reviews and ratings from real users. That’s the same thing for G2 except for software: like, hey, I need a photo editing tool. And you’d go and check the photo editing category and see, okay, Photoshop’s on top. Let me read reviews of this product versus other things, like does the cost live up to the reviews basically, and vice versa. So those blogs would mostly be a combination of how-to guides and informational pieces within the realm of marketing, sales, and high tech. So yeah, a little bit of variance there. Whereas the blog that I moved to is a little bit more technical in nature and more focused to developers, that audience, the G2 blog, was a little bit more focused on the general everyday user at different levels.
Okay, that makes sense. Thank you! So as you were saying, the language of the super technical writing isn’t something that you yourself maybe have the background to write. What’s your relationship like as the editor versus the primary writer? Who does what, in that sense?
A great thing about me joining is that I’m going to be able to kind of upend a lot of the processes here, which is why they have brought me on, because there’s a lot of less than ideal processes and steps and documentation. So for context, this is an enterprise company; there are 60,000 [employees].
But how it works, on the developer side, is that [they may approach us] like, hey, I know a lot of information on topic X, I want to write about it for the blog. So they submit a request along with their blog draft. And from that point, we move forward with it like, hey, these are the things that are missing—basically, communicating those changes back. And if there are things that are kind of beyond the scope of [an editor], like, “I need you to add more information here because it doesn’t make sense for the reader” [then I would pass it back to the writer to revise]; if it’s more structurally unsound and doesn’t logically flow as a proper web blog, then I would take those changes on myself, as opposed to passing it back. But most of the contributors are either employees in different departments, or customers or prospects to some degree of either Salesforce or MuleSoft.
Interesting. You know what, the audio cut out just in the middle, but did I hear you say that you initially put out the proposal or solicit for the kind of content you want and then you find writers from the employees or otherwise? Who initiates what needs to be written about?
So we have a list of keywords that are able to be chosen from any of the internal stakeholders. This is not public or externally-facing information. So anyone who works at the company can see what topics are available. They can also propose their own topic. And what my job will be is to cross-check and make sure: 1) this is relevant for our audience, 2) we don’t have something already written on the topic, and 3), whether or not something that’s in the available list of keywords. If it is, great. And if it’s not, and it’s something that is of value, we can proceed with it. But if it isn’t, one of the changes I’ll be able to make is determining whether or not we want to pursue certain blogs at certain times—-more time-sensitive content that’s either relevant to a product launch, an event, something relevant in the tech world, news-related, those are more high priority as opposed to something that’s evergreen or can be published at any time and still be relevant. We’ll have to make that determination depending on the topic as they come in.
Thank you for that description. I feel like the world of tech writing is one that, once you’re inside it, a lot of that language becomes probably more familiar to you. So thank you for that. I also like to know, how did you get here from undergrad? Like, what was your path into this field? And, knowing you as I do, I don’t think you were primarily someone who was a software developer or anything like that. But what brought you here?
Yeah, so that is a very good question. I know the last time you and I spoke had to be somewhere in spring of 2016 when I graduated, so it’s been a long time in terms of a lot of changes to get to this point. So after undergrad, I immediately went to grad school and I also studied English lit in grad school. I went to DePaul and finished in 2018. So it’s a two-year program. And I wanted to do them back-to-back, I wanted to get grad school on the way. At the time, pretty much from the time that I started undergrad, I’m very fortunate in the sense that I knew from my junior year of high school, I wanted to study English, and that did not change. I know a lot of people have that kind of identity crisis where it’s like yeah, I want to study X thing and then I’ve been doing it for a year and I absolutely hate it. I did not have that happen; I’m very fortunate for that. So by the time I was in my junior year of undergrad, and I wanted to pursue grad school, my ideal path was either I was going to teach college-level English or I was going to be a writer or editor. And those were my two set career paths. It wasn’t like, Oh, I’m just gonna, you know, go for it and see what comes at me. It was like, Nope, I’m doing one of these two sets of things.
And so, during grad school, there were a couple of certification programs that you could take along with your degree and the one that I chose to pursue was “Teaching at the community college level,” and so I had the opportunity to be an intern at the Chicago City Colleges for an English 102 course which was basically the highest level of English at the community college level before you graduated out of the system. And the class that I worked with was Great Books. And so we focused on, like, Shakespearean texts. And it was very out of my element actually, because I hadn’t previously studied any Shakespeare to any degree, despite being you know, an English major and undergrad and at that point in grad school, I never touched anything Shakespeare so I was learning as I was teaching, it was really funny.
So after that, I think I had another like six months to go, the final half of the year in my second year of grad school, and I was applying for some teaching positions, and I got a couple of interviews. I worked at the DePaul’s Writing Center, when I went there as well. And so one of the things that I had grow an interest in was being an assistant or associate director of a writing center, like that was something at the time I wanted to pursue. And so I actually was in the running for an Assistant Director position at North Park University’s Writing Center right when I was getting ready to graduate in 2018. And while I didn’t get the position, they did offer me to teach a course. And this was going to be right after I was graduating. So it was perfect timing and obviously I jumped at the opportunity. And so I took on teaching one class in freshman composition. And my focus area was Native American literature so that was really cool; I got to pick a topic. And that was at North Park University for the fall semester of 2018. And because I had really good connections, and I did well in my internship, I was able to also land two roles, teaching at Wright Community College, one of the City of Chicago Colleges. I taught English 90 for those, and that was basically the precursor to English 101. So that was for students who needed a little bit extra assistance, who didn’t quite place them to the 100-level English. All freshmen undergraduate.
And so I taught those three classes that semester fall 2018, as well as working at the Writing Center at Wright. So that’s what I did right out of grad school. So I had like maybe about a month off with no work once I graduated, but knowing that I was going to be diving into these four opportunities at once. So I adjunct, and while I really love and still do though I haven’t done it for a while, you know, working with students one-to-one or in small groups, like three to five people, I realized about a month or so into teaching that I didn’t have the same passion for working with a group of 20 plus students at the same time. It was very draining on me mentally and I didn’t feel that I could give enough proper attention to everyone who needed it. You know, I have students really utilize my office hours, which was great, but I felt kind of pulled in all directions. And at the time, I was overwhelmed with student debt and I was like, “this is not sustainable.” You know, it wasn’t full time work. You only get paid so much adjuncting, and I’m sure you’re well aware of that. And I was like I don’t want to be stuck here looking back 10, 20 years down the line, like, why didn’t I do something else?
So it was only about October of 2018 so that we’re about halfway through the semester that I was like, I don’t think I want to do this anymore. And it was a really harsh, shocking realization for me because I was like, I was certain that I wanted to be an English professor. Like, for years. I was like, This is what I want to do. And so this was the only time in my life that it came to a point where I was like, Well, we said you wanted to try this. You tried it. You don’t like it. Try the other thing that you said you wanted to do.
So I started looking for jobs that were like proofreading and editing and writing. And even though it wasn’t that long ago, it’s only three calendar years ago at this point, looking on LinkedIn, looking on Monster, looking on CareerBuilder you could find such limited options for writing and editing jobs. Like nothing was out there. And it’s like, How do you get to write for website blog? Like, how do you get to do that? I’ve always wanted to do that.
I had been fortunate enough at the time to have written for the college publication The Odyssey and I was like, I liked doing this. I didn’t really understand it. It was like Yeah, they said you know, come up with some topics and write a blog. They were all like listicles like you would find a Buzzfeed. And so I was like, Is this what I’ll do? And so I applied to place after place. I got a couple interviews and most didn’t pan out to anything past the first or second round.
But then I was going through my email at one point, and I saw an email from G2. And how I even know about them was back in the day, they would have like Facebook ads, where it would say “Review software and earn a $10 Starbucks gift card.” So I was like, okay, cool. And so obviously I reviewed a couple of pieces of software that I had used throughout college and grad school, got a couple of gift cards, and so I was on their mailing list. And so I was just like one day I was like, I doubt it, but let me go check and see if they’re hiring. So I clicked over to their Careers page and I saw that they were hiring for a Content Marketing Associate, a Content Marketing Specialist, and a Content Senior Specialist. And I was reading the requirements and I’m like, Well, they’re looking for someone who knows how to write, who’s a good researcher, who could edit their own writing, who’s a good collaborator, and I’m like, I can do all this. And then there were like some scary words like “has a knowledge of SEO” and I’m like, I have no idea what that is. And then a couple of other things like it’s “familiar with web analytics,” and I’m just like, I don’t know what this is. I’m gonna give it a shot. Let’s see if it happens.
So I applied online, and I heard back pretty quickly. And I had started the interview process, I think in the beginning or middle of November of 2018. And because of the holidays and everything, stuff took a while. So people were out for Thanksgiving and then you know, I had a couple of interviews I think. . . I’m trying to think. . .we had set up like the first phone interview sometime in December and then I didn’t hear anything for a bit because we had scheduled in person interviews going to be January 3rd. It’s like okay, cool. So I didn’t worry about it. I was like, holidays are done. And as you know, from adjuncting, you don’t have any guarantee of classes for the next semester.
So at the time, I had no classes. So right then it was panic mode because I didn’t have any work. You know, once the fall semester was done, I didn’t have a full time job lined up. I didn’t have any adjuncting lined up. And the only thing that I had had was working at the Writing Center and that was sporadic at best, because they can only allocate so many hours to each tutor. So I was doing a little bit of work with the Writing Center at Wright, and I was doing some, you know, freelance tutoring and editing on the side. And then I had my in-person interview and then I got some feedback, and then I didn’t hear anything for about a week or two. But the director of content was like, Oh, you know you did really well, all this stuff. So now we’re coming toward the end of January. I would say it was probably like, a week and a half before the end of the month. And we talked and I was like, Look, I need to know whether or not I got this job because I had just gotten an offer for teaching another course that started February 4. It was one of those partial semester courses that only had 10 weeks instead of 16. So I got the offer. It was like, Hey, do you want to work this class? And it’s like, well, if I don’t have a job lined up, absolutely. And we finally had verbal confirmation that yes, you got the job. So in very late February, literally the week before I was going to start teaching another course, I got confirmation that I was going to be hired on as a Content Associate.
And what that translates into for the layman is basically an online blog writer for a tech company. And I was super, super excited. Definitely coming from a place of no knowledge at all. Like writing essays is nothing like writing blogs optimized for the web. And I didn’t know any better, you know, at the start. So it was just like I know how to write; I know what I’m doing; I know how to research; it’ll be fine. And so I started February 4 2019 at G2. And I started off as a Content Associate and it was great. Like, we were assigned basically different personas to write in and mine was the AI persona. So I would write AI technical content. So I had to do a lot of online researching and reading, like what AI was, so I would be able to regurgitate it in comprehensible language for people reading the blog. So I had to kind of learn fast about these topics to be able to write about them for other people. And at this point, I’d say about six weeks in, I noticed on one of the product management software tools were using that there was this group of blogs called “Guest blogs” that nobody was touching. And at the time, the person who was overseeing those blogs, I asked them, Do you need any help here? Can I edit these blogs? And my manager said, If you get your writing done, if you want to take on more work, you know, go for it. And like I think I implied earlier, I’d always wanted to edit. So I was like, This is a perfect opportunity. They didn’t have any editors on the team. We just kind of worked off a peer review process, which was great, depending on how you look at it. So I had the opportunity to start editing as well. So I was editing these external blogs for people who did not work for the company while I was continuing to write the content that I was assigned to.
So I kind of did these two things half and half for six months until they pulled me off of writing completely to just have me edit blogs. So I basically hacked my own way into editing. This career path did not exist at my former company. And by the first promotions period, the following February, when I had been there a year, February 2020, I was promoted to Content Editor. So I had literally had them create a new career path for editors because it didn’t exist. And as time went on in 2020, you know, I stayed with the company, we underwent a couple of rounds of layoffs with COVID and everything which was really unfortunate, but I was fortunate enough to keep my job. And as time progressed during 2020, I was able to take on more management and I ended up running the Guest Post Program for the last year and a half basically.
And I was able to create guidelines and create really formalized and structured processes for people writing for our blog. So a lot of ownership there. Basically it was a combination of editing, product management, and I also got to train and onboard our junior editor based out of Bangalore. And so it’s just a lot of good opportunities to move into a really senior leadership role. And the only reason I left was strictly money.
You know, you got to do what’s best for you and your career. And like I said, I moved into a lateral job. Definitely love my last company. There’s no hard feelings there. I’d go back in a heartbeat if they were willing to match pay, you know what I mean? But really happy where I’m at now. You know, it’s very new, I’m very green, but I’m coming in from a much more senior level of experience, as opposed to coming in fresh, not knowing anything about the industry. So it was a really lucky time for me, when I got into the path that I chose. You know, like I said, it was really, really hard to find writing and editing jobs when I was looking originally. But now like anyone these days,you can’t even say that there aren’t jobs. Every company needs a writer, every company needs an editor. There’s jobs galore. And there could not be a better time to, you know, finish with an English degree at this point in life.
That is so heartening to hear. Why do you think it’s just happened in the last couple of years? Do you think it’s other people like you who spearheaded this and said, why don’t you have editors at your company? And are these positions called “editor” and “writer” or do they have different names that we might not recognize as those jobs?
So you will almost certainly find those words in the job description. So some places hire for editor/writer. I hate that, and I would advise anyone you know who reads this little blurb to not seek out those jobs unless they’re at the very beginning of their career only because you don’t want to be doing two jobs. Those are two completely different responsibilities and roles. And it’s not fair for somebody to have to juggle and balance those two responsibilities.Unless you want to, unless you’re being paid exceptionally well. But most people will try to hire on somebody as a writer/editor for like $40,000 and think that that’s like, you know, acceptable and feasible and, you know, maybe 15 years ago, sure. But nowadays that’s not something that I would encourage anybody to aim for, unless like I said, you’re still in college or you’re fresh out of college or something like that.
But jobs that you’ll see online are like Content Editor, Blog Editor, Content Writer, Content Associate. And if you go higher up: Senior editor, Senior Content Editor, Senior Blog Editor, Managing Editor, Web editor. All of these things are interrelated jobs, and for anybody who wants to utilize their English degree in a way that directly impacts what they studied, I would strongly recommend trying to find a job in tech.
And the reason I say tech is because all of these tech companies especially the smaller startup ones, because they really cater to youth. Like I said, I started off in a startup and I could not be more grateful for that. We had really great demographic breakdowns of who worked at my last company, G2. And the demographic breakdown of the 500 global employees was that the median age was 28 years old. So yes, it skews very young.
You definitely have people who are older in leadership positions, like much higher level C-suite and VP level positions. But across the board, like my entire content team, I say the oldest person that ever was on our team was in their mid to late 30s. And it’s a really good opportunity for people who are fresh out of college or even out of grad school with English or maybe even communications— I’d say English more so than communication—but like English degrees, journalism degrees, to go look for these types of opportunities. The only thing that you’ll have to basically learn how to do is change your writing voice from academic to business. And it’s not super easy to do for some people; I had to learn, like I said, really quickly where, it’s like, okay, I’m being too formal. I can use contractions, I can start sentences with conjunctions, you know, I can end with prepositions, like yeah, because that’s how people talk. And in, you know, unless you’re doing a really jargon heavy white paper or PDF mated asset, something like that. If you’re doing online web blogs for a tech company, they want you to use your normal voice. Like, would I speak this out loud? if the answer’s no, then it’s too complex. And so it’s kind of refreshing. You basically have to relearn how to write but in a way that’s so much easier to understand tham, you know, our weirdly highbrow academic language barriers that we have, you know, at the college level.
It’s somewhat ironic too, because a lot of us hear constantly throughout college, “This is the language of all professionals. The arbiter of whether you’ll succeed in your profession is that you need to master this formal written voice.” And you’re saying, actually people prefer it to sound a lot more like speech. At least in the tech world.
You said it’s a great place to work. How would you characterize the culture of your office? What are your favorite parts, any challenges? And if you’re comfortable answering this, for people right out of college, what should they expect as a reasonable pay grade for a writer or editor in a tech company with just a B.A. in English?
I’ll talk about company culture first. What’s great about working for tech companies is that they skew young. They’re motivated to attract a younger employee base. And the reason this is good for anyone reading, like “how do I get into tech,” is you’re going to be among peers. A lot of us were trained like, oh, you know, you have to wear business casual, a skirt and a button down shirt and heels and you have to come into an office and you’ll have a cubicle and you’ll never associate with your colleagues or anything like that. I can say from working at the Writing Center at UIC and, you know, a startup and then another tech company after that, you have that kind of family community vibe. And you want that, or at least I wanted that. And I think a lot of people, if you’ve worked in a writing center, you do want that. Like I’m super introverted. I’m not like I’m not going to go up to somebody new and try to be friends with them. No, God no, I don’t want to talk to new people. But if you have the opportunity, where it’s like, hey, this person’s around my age, I realize they also have a cat and their favorite show is The Bachelor as well—we’ve already got a couple of things in common in addition to the work we’re doing. So it’s just nice to have people that you don’t feel like I can’t speak to you about things that make sense to you. Like it would be uncomfortable for me, for instance, to try to be best friends with my manager who’s a 50 year old male with a wife and three kids. You know what I mean? You just cannot relate to them. And while you can be cordial and friendly and have a nice working relationship with somebody, I think what Millennials and Gen Z really look for in a workspace is: can I be social with these people? Can I be myself? Can I bring my true authentic self to work? And in these kind of companies, you absolutely can.
They’re really focused on diversity and inclusion, making sure that there are Employee Resource Groups, which is super important, and it’s like— I can’t speak to what the business world looked like 10-plus years ago. I can only speak to what it’s looked like over the last three to five years. But it’s something that has sprung up as an absolutely necessary thing. Companies need to have Employee Resource Groups. So what’s one that I’m a part of? I was a part of the Latino resource group at G2. I’m a part of the Latino resource group at Salesforce. And the fact that there are resource groups for you know, the LGBTQ community, for parents, for people with disabilities, for Black, for Asian, for Latino Americans—it’s so important to have those kind of groups where it’s like, you know that your culture and your background and who and what you are is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s nothing that you have to hide. And that’s one really good thing about getting into tech.
You either have to go to—and I know this is like two ends of the spectrum—but you either have to go to like, a start-up that’s really punchy and, you know, wants to move quickly, or you have to go to an enterprise company that’s already got these things down pat. If you go to one of the in-between companies where they’re bigger than a startup, but not quite as big as an enterprise, you probably are not going to find it. I can’t say that that’s true across the board. But typically, startups like to draw you in with like—for instance, I had unlimited PTO at my last job. I also have unlimited PTO at this job. And a lot of people, especially if you’re still in college at this point, you’re gonna be like, What do you mean unlimited PTO? Like, you mean you don’t have to like, you know, put in time and you only have 14 days to take off? Nope. I can take off as much time as I want or need, so long as I get my work done, and so long as my manager approves it. And we don’t have to use a timecard, to check in and check out, or some kind of digital clocking tool or anything like that. There’s just a lot more flexibility to live your life.
Many of these jobs also allow for remote work or flexible work. So my current role is fully remote. However, we do have two offices in Chicago where you could go in and work if you wish, but you’re not required to, and I think that’s something that most younger people are looking for. They need flexibility where it’s like, Hey, I’ve got a dog at home, he needs to go out and walk, you know, at 1pm. Do I have the opportunity and availability to do that? Absolutely. Hey, I need a mental health day, I’m feeling overwhelmed. I don’t feel like working today because I know I’m not going to be my best self. You have the option to take time off because: you have it. And I would say that this is becoming the new way of work as opposed to like—these aren’t just nice-to-have perks. Like, people coming into the workforce, especially in tech, they need these things. It’s not like a company [has] the upper hand and they’re like, Oh, yeah, we’ll give you one day, a week right to work from home. It’s like, yeah, maybe five years ago, that would work. But now it’s like: Nope. I need the option where I can either come in or I can stay home and it’s fine. We have distributed teams. At G2, half of our team was in the U.S. and half of them were in Bangalore, India. So we had a really diverse and international team. And here my team is distributed all across the U.S.. So most of my team members are based in California. I’m the only one based in the Midwest.
And so the way tech has grown to be so accommodating to the newer generation of the workforce is absolutely why I would encourage anybody with an English degree to pursue something that they’re passionate about. You might not be most passionate about tech—-like, I had no previous experience writing about AI. Was the thing I was most passionate about in the world? No. Was it something that I grew to love a lot? Absolutely. You’re probably not going to land a perfect job with the topic you want to write about most the world. And you know, high tech probably isn’t something that excites most people. But the benefits of working for a tech company and being really well-versed in the language and the terminology of the industry is going to take you so far. Like I would never have been able to move to this current opportunity without my previous one.
Speaking of that, I know you said that when you applied for that first tech job, you were a little scared off because they were looking SEO knowledge. Do you think employers now understand that English majors can learn those things they don’t already know? Or are they really thinking, we also want you to be conversant in tech language? What’s their expectation about how much you already know about these things?
Yeah, I did not forget the other part that you mentioned, either, the salary expectations—I will get there too. Let’s say somebody is coming, you know, fresh out of college. We’re gonna exclude the grad school part because I know a lot of people just do undergrad and then dive into the workforce. A lot of companies will take that chance, because they know that what they’re looking for is a good writer. A good writer, somebody who’s willing to put in the work, somebody who can research and somebody who understands how to make things sound good, even if they’re not like an editor. SEO and marketing terminology and content marketing in general can be taught as long as you’re willing to learn. Like as long as you’re willing to unlearn the academic end the things and dive into what business tech looks like, you’ll be fine. I would recommend though, if there’s anybody who’s like, how can I upskill myself? There are so many free resources online. Like you can literally just look up “learn SEO” on Google and so many free resources will pop up. What I was doing during my interview process is I read a bunch of stuff online, just so I would have the basics down. So that way, it’s like if anything came up, where it’s like, what’s your experience? I’d be like, Look, I don’t know a bunch, but I do know X, Y and Z and I’m willing to learn more.
Basically, being really honest and doing as much as you possibly can to show them that you’re willing to put the work in is going to get you really far.
Unfortunately, I’m not gonna lie—if you start just with a bachelor’s degree and come in to be a content writer, you will probably be low-balled to get 40, 45K or if you’re lucky, 50,000. And for a lot of people, that’s great. If you are more advanced or you’ve done internships where you’ve done blog writing and know SEO and stuff like that, you should absolutely ask for more. You know, whatever you think you want, ask for 5000 more than that. And I know that’s gonna be really hard for people where it’s like, Hey, I make you know, $12 an hour, you know, at Target or something like that, where it’s like, How the hell am I suppose to ask for this kind of money at a salary job? It’s not easy. It’s something that I had to learn to, you know, at my promotions periods. I was like, Look, this is the money that I want. And I have the skills I do this work. I know what I deserve, and it’s going to take time. I was absolutely not competent, like I am now, you know, three years, but I could never have done what I do now like negotiate pay. That was not even something in my, you know, vocabulary. But if it’s something that I can implore to people to do, now, it’s, you know: look up, what do content writers in Chicago make? What’s the median salary? What’s on glassdoor.salary.com? There are resources out there where you need to know what the pay grade is for the job that you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a mid level or senior level position, like say you have the ability to do so, know what that pay grade is too. Don’t accept a lowball offer—or be ready to negotiate. Some places are going to say no, we’re not gonna negotiate with you. And if you have options, then you can tell them, That’s fine. And walk away. If you don’t have options, you can always take the job, right, at that point, you know, work with whatever salary you get and continue upskilling. You’re going to learn skills on the job and you can learn skills on the site as well. And you know, once you’ve got six months to a year under your belt, you can look for another job and get paid more.
So just keep your eyes open, do your research while you’re applying for jobs and don’t let people offer you less than you’re worth. I remember that I had applied to some content writing job and it was, like, in the suburbs, let alone, and they were offering like 35,000 a year. And I was like, this is not something that I am willing to accept with a master’s degree. It’s like: I know what I’m doing. While I would be new to this industry, I knew that this is too little for me to accept. So while it’s definitely difficult to be able to navigate negotiating pay, knowing how to do it is going to serve you so much better in the long run if you learn it as early as possible.
What’s striking to me, Rebecca, as someone who is an adjunct too, when you talk about things like unlimited personal days or or you know, that it’s reasonable to expect to start with a BA at 40k or something. . . I think we’ve been so acculturated as adjuncts to think that we’re worth so little, you know, that it sounds almost like we have to undo the conditioning. Because I remember getting I think 16k, and I have friends with Master’s degrees who make $3000 per class and then have to work at Trader Joe’s on the weekends, you know? And it’s just so disheartening, but you also get told all the time that you’re disposable labor, we can get someone else if you don’t want this. It feels like there’s zero negotiating power in the adjunct world without unions at least. So it seems like a really, idyllic prospect of, Wait a minute. There’s a place that actually values skill in writing?
Yeah, no, I completely agree with you. And that was something where it was like. . . and I still have student loans, don’t get me wrong. I have student loans out in my parents’ name that they took out for me, but that I am going to be paying back. But I was able, with my job— and I was making more than you make in the academic world, absolutely, but I was not making anywhere near what some other people were—and for full disclosure, I’ve been living at home and then I did get sick, so that kind of shifted things as well, so I didn’t have to pay rent or anything like that. So I want to put that in parentheses, where it’s like, this situation can’t apply to everyone. But (at G2) I was able to pay off almost $63,000 in loans over the course of two and a half years. And I would never have been able to do that had I continued adjuncting. And you know, like you said, so I made $700 per class for the two classes I taught at Wright. And then $1100 for the class that I taught at North Park. And it’s just like, I was putting in so much work. I mean, I know you know, I’m preaching to the choir here, but you are working evenings ’til midnight, past midnight. You’re creating lesson plans, you’re creating slides, you’re printing out documents, you’re going to Kinko’s or FedEx to make copies. . .
And you know, you don’t have free time and if you’re sick, you have to find somebody to back you up and you have to have a lesson plan for that day, there’s no flexibility, you can’t take a mental health day. Those things don’t exist in academia. And I know a lot of people who go for a Master’s degree then for a PhD. who really have the motivation. (Because I really wanted to get a PhD until I was in the midst of my Master’s program. The Master’s program was fine. It’s just, it really burnt me out and I was like, I don’t think I want to get a PhD., at least not right now. That was a better choice for me.) I know a lot of people who stick with academia and have these really high hopes that, you know, I’m going to become a tenured professor—and you might. But it could take 50 years. And, you know, more power to you if you’re able to do that. But I think for a lot of people, especially with how expensive school is these days. . . and you know, I didn’t have great grades in high school so I didn’t get money for college. And I came from a lower income background, I was first generation. You have a lot of people especially from UIC who have a very similar background. And it’s like, you can’t afford to have these dreams of something that you want to do that you probably can’t achieve or won’t be able to achieve for 30, 40, 50 years. You have to say: How can I go and make money now? And maybe you know, ten years down the road if you’re still really motivated to dive back into academia, do it. Once you’ve got money, do it. But getting yourself in mounds and mounds of debt that you’re struggling to crawl out of because, you know, you really want to pursue your passion. . . like, I always want people to pursue their passion. I never want to be like, Oh, throw it away. But sometimes you have to make a choice that benefits you economically for the time being.
And you know, I truly love working in tech. Like there are so many perks and benefits to just being a human in the tech. You know, like the things that I mentioned: we have volunteer time off. We have team outings. Back when I worked at G2, we had a game room, we had lunch catered, and we had snacks in the office and stuff like that. So there are so many additional perks on top of a stable salary that make working as a writer or editor in tech so alluring that, for the life of me, I would strongly push anyone toward that. At least give it a try. If you hate it, you can always leave. That’s the thing. You’re never beholden to any company. You’re never forced to stay in any career path that you’re not happy with. But I think once you get the taste. . . I had the taste of what I thought I wanted and then realized it was draining the life out of me and got to move to a place where it’s like: Wow, I can make friends here. I can have flexibility. I get perks just for being me. I have a 401k match from my employer. I have health benefits. Those types of things matter, you know?
I don’t know if you’re comfortable talking about it, Rebecca, but you also mentioned that you got sick. And it sounds like this was a much more humane place to take care of yourself through that?
I’m super happy to share any information. So, I’ll give you a little bit of background and then explain how my company approached my sickness.
So I was diagnosed with Stage Two breast cancer in March of this year. And at this time, I had been working for G2 for two years and a month. So, you know, I was a tenured employee at this point. And the people on my team, like my managers and stuff—I was really good, close friends with these people outside of work as well, just for context, but even if we weren’t, they were very understanding. Any time that I needed to take off, like if I needed to miss team meetings: who cares, your health is more important. You know, when I was at the very beginning stages, I had appointments to see whether or not this actually was cancer. They were like, take the time you need. If I needed just today off to process—they didn’t care. When I got diagnosed, they were like, just let us know when your appointments are and we’ll make it work. And then when I got heavier into treatment, once we knew I had to undergo chemotherapy, we proactively made plans together, where it was like, Okay, who will take over if you’re out for X amount of days. And since I was only ever out for three days at a time, that wasn’t something where it was like, Okay, we need to back up for you. I was out three days a month while undergoing chemotherapy treatments because they were essentially once monthly. And they were like, if we don’t publish a couple of blogs this week, that’s fine. You can do them next week. It’s not a big deal. Any time that I needed off, they granted. Any time that I needed to log off early, they were like, go for it. Or needed to log on late, go for it. When I started losing my hair at you know, the front of my head, and I didn’t feel comfortable going on camera, they said, That’s fine. Keep your camera off for meetings. And so they were just super accommodating with any time off that I needed. Whether it was for, Hey, I feel awful because of treatment or, I have like four appointments to go to today, or, I just am not feeling up to it because I’m overwhelmed—it didn’t matter. They let me take off any time I needed. And while I was interviewing with Salesforce, they were well aware that I was undergoing treatment for cancer. Still am. You know, I just had an infusion yesterday of, not chemo, but one of my other medications and they’re fine with it. They’re like, you take off what time you need. And that’s one really great thing about working with these companies that have unlimited PTO. And you can’t know unless like you’re in the companies, I’m not gonna pretend every company you work for is gonna have as kind and generous people—but I was really fortunate that my last company had those kinds of people and my current company does as well, where they’re very empathetic and very understanding that health comes first. And you know, this is not something that you’re choosing to do. This is something that you need to do to be healthy, to be well.
So it’s just really great, if you’re able to get into a company that prioritizes having unlimited PTO or flexible PTO, you might hear those two phrases, either of those generally mean the same thing. I don’t know what I would have done had I worked for a company where, you know, I had two weeks time off or something like that. I really can’t speak to that. But I had the opportunity to take long term medical leave and I also have the opportunity to at my current job. I didn’t want to have to do that. And fortunately I didn’t have to. But I know that that would possibly be the requirement at any other job. And so that’s why I’m saying, if you can find a company that not only has all these great other additional benefits but also has the option of unlimited or flexible PTO, I would strongly recommend applying to those places exclusively. It makes all the difference. If it’s your personal health or say your cat or your dog gets sick, and they need to go to the vet, you don’t have to beg for time off to go take them. Or you need time off to go get your COVID shot or your booster, you can do that. Having those opportunities was really helpful for me. And my team was very kind. They knew when I had appointments coming up and stuff like that and depending on where I was or what stage it was within my treatment, they sent me various gifts. Like the company sent me a wellness package. Like I said, I started with my new job on November 15. And that was also the final day of radiation treatment and G2, my last company, actually sent me an edible arrangement that arrived at my house on the 15th. I wasn’t their employee anymore, but they sent me that, to be like, Congratulations. Yeah, it’s amazing to be able to work for people that are so kind.
I have to say, it’s really helpful to hear this because, a generation ago, I think what we understood a tech company to look like might have been quite different. You know that it would have been a lot of white men who are not particularly sensitive to the needs of people, that aren’t going to be accommodating of family or health or disability. But it sounds like it’s really changed and they understand now that to value their employees, they need to allow them to be human and take care of their health, among other things.
I would strongly agree with you. I’m not gonna pretend tech is perfect. You still got a lot of that white bro culture, and it happens a lot in like, sales teams in tech. And you know, oftentimes you’ll have developer teams that are exclusively male or primarily male. Maybe not necessarily just white, but not a lot of Black and Latino representation. That’s still true. And I’m not going to pretend it isn’t. And within the companies that I’ve worked for, like my last team, besides half of our team that worked in Bangalore, you know that were Asian Pacific, I think almost everyone on my team was white, except for me, and I’m half white. So I’m not going to pretend that it’s perfect. But there is a lot of improvement. And there are a lot of companies that have diversity-focused hiring, where the primary goal is to make sure that underrepresented groups are being prioritized. Yes, you never want to turn somebody away based on you know, their color, their gender, their ethnicity, but making sure that Black and Latino applicants who also have the same skills and background as a White candidate —making sure that they’re acknowledged and put to the forefront, as opposed to, Okay, your name doesn’t sound what we’re expecting, so we’re not even gonna look at the application. I’d say more often than not, that is something that most companies are trying to be mindful of.
And like I said, like, I feel like my last name is very obviously Hispanic. So, you know, I have that, I guess, as a “negative” against me, where it’s like, Okay, this person, you know, doesn’t have an American last name. But I’ll say what I can speak to is having a disability. So cancer is a disability as in terms of the ADA. And I did not know that until I started applying for jobs. And so I checked off that box and I kind of did it as a test. I was like, I’m gonna apply to a handful of jobs and see if I get a response and one of those jobs that I applied to was at Salesforce. They contacted me within 36 hours of my application. So knowing that I had a disability, they didn’t exclude me for that. Because there are companies that, you know, they see these things come up and whether they have an automated system that automatically rejects or people in HR who are told to weed out people that check off certain boxes. I knew right away for them to pursue my application knowing that, Hey, this is a Latino woman with a disability and they still went forward with me? That’s exactly what you want in a company, where it doesn’t matter if you’re disabled. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black or Hispanic or a woman or older, you know, having the opportunity to work at a company that has a wide range of people working for them is just something that’s so great. And like you said, it was absolutely not the picture of tech even 10 years ago.
When you mentioned that one of the things that you did, kind of as a test, was check off that disability box and see who responded—were you at that time doing a targeted search for Salesforce because you already knew something about that company? Or were you sending your resume out to lots of enterprise companies that had the pay scale you wanted and then you found out after the fact that Salesforce was a place that really was accommodating? I don’t know how transparent it is for people trying to get a sense of which company they even want to work for. You know, if you go to their website, they’re all going to talk themselves up. So how did you get the inside scoop that Salesforce would be a good place to work for? Or did you just find that out after they interviewed you?
Mostly I knew beforehand. So, being in tech—I’m trying to think about how I can explain this. Have you ever heard of “FAANG” companies? I hadn’t heard of this acronym until this year. Apparently it means, like: Facebook Apple Amazon Netflix Google. I don’t know why Netflix is in there. Top. top tech companies anyone would want to work for. Who doesn’t want to work for Google? Other companies you’d see on the list of top-of-the-top companies are Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce. Salesforce is one of those enterprise tech companies that if you’re already working in tech and you get to move to that company, it’s like: Oh, that’s the big leagues. Especially if you’re jumping from either a mid-size, small, or start-up company. Everybody in the tech space knows these companies, because they work with their tools, or they’re a competitor, or they aspire to be like them. So I already had that background info. I used Salesforce as a tool at my last company and my mom used it at her company. A lot of familiarity with the company name and background.
And [I looked at] their web site and social media. That’s another thing—you definitely want to check out a company’s social media. First off, it’s an indicator if they have people who work in social media, something you want, because that shows they care about engaging with their audience. And they usually share their DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) initiatives, their positive outcomes from volunteer initiatives, money donated to different groups. Most companies who actually make this a priority have a page of “who we are” or “values,” separate from their career page. On the career page is fine. But if a company really cares, they will have an entire page dedicated to what are their values. And not only that, this is what we encourage our prospective employees to have. You want a company that has values listed out.
Here, I’m going to pull up the page, so can show you instead of just telling you::
Even better when they gave employee stories in videos.
- “Representation matters.”
- “Well-being is a priority.”
- A lot of transparency about benefits
- Hiring processes—do they care about racial equity?
- At G2, 47.4% is underrepresented groups.
What’s a day in your current life like?
So you’re going to be fielding emails, checking them to see hey, is this pitch something that is going to be valuable for us? And you’ll do research on your own website to make sure the topic [being] pitched isn’t something that has already been written about. You’ll do keyword research, which is obviously something you learn once you learn SEO. So use some keyword research tools to determine, What’s the search volume? Are people actually looking this term up? And if yes, great, we want you to write about it. If no, then maybe we’re going to pass on this opportunity.
And actually editing content. So editing would just be taking, if you have a Google Doc or Word doc.– I would use just exclusively G Suite. So using Google Docs to edit documents, just straight edits, not leaving comments or anything like that. Comments and feedback would be exclusively for our internal team, because we’d want our internal writers to make those changes. But the external writers, as long as the content is well-written, we can just go in and make grammatical changes, line edits, structural formatting, you know, the whole shebang. If it’s something where it’s like, hey, this sense of this paragraph absolutely makes no sense, or you’re missing an entire page worth of information, then obviously, you’d send it back to the original author, because you don’t want to be the one rewriting the blog, then they’re no longer the owner of it and you’re wasting too much tim,e because your job is not to rewrite something, your job is to edit something and they can rewrite sections.
So just going through editing blogs, and then getting them staged. So using the CMS or whatever the web program is, let’s say, WordPress is something very familiar to a lot of people to run a website. And that’s what we use here at Salesforce—I used a tool called HubSpot at G2—and uploading the blog and formatting it with the proper HTML. That’s something that we have some like pre created codes for it’s not something where it’s like, oh, I had to learn how to code or anything like that. So definitely, it could be an asset or a side thing that you learned, it’s not something that’s a must-have, you know, HTML, CSS are nice-to-have, not a must-have, you can learn things on the job. But yeah, putting things into our fonts . . . inserting links to other blogs, and basically, optimizing is something that again, if you’re a web editor, you’ll learn what SEO is. Unpaid SEO is, basically, how to optimize content so that it’s better to find online. When I search the term, you know, “best dog groomer,” the ones that are going to pop up are the ones that have the best SEO or have paid for a spot on page one, but if you don’t see that, that just means that they’ve optimized their websites so well that they have the correct keywords, and they hit the mark for “best dog groomer.”
And again, this is something that you learn with time and with practice and there are so many free resources online that I would encourage anyone—I can’t speak to this because I’ve been out at UIC for five years now, but if such a class doesn’t already exist, I wish that it would be created because teaching SEO basics to an English major, it’s just going to help so much. And God I mean, like I said, you can do it on your own, but like I know a lot of people benefit from being taught in the classroom. I sure do. So is that something that could ever be created, I think that’s definitely an area of opportunity there.
But yeah, so editing, staging, and publishing blogs, sending them over to the people who’ve written them, taking on meetings, whether their team meetings to talk about like weekly goals and metrics, any external meetings where it’s a customer who wants to discuss blogs that they want to write for the website. Maybe a meeting with anybody that reports to you, if applicable (I managed our junior editor() or anybody that you’re collaborating with, having meetings with them to kind of check in, how are things going, how can you support them, how can they support you? Having one on ones, with your manager, things like that. So meetings, emails, editing, staging, publishing, and you know, internal and external communication we use Slack. So you know, being able to just share, like quick updates with people as opposed to hopping on meetings is always really valuable, too.
But yeah, that’s what a typical day look like. Right now. I’m in the midst of I’d say about like five to six meetings a day. Hopefully that slows down. I know, I’m at really primary stages in this role, but eventually I’ll be fielding those blog requests, determining whether or not they’re a good fit, doing keyword research to see the ranking value of those keywords in terms of what we need for our website, editing the blog, staging them and getting them ready to publish. So again, very similar work from the previous role.
Thank you. That’s really helpful, very specific. Do you want to speak a little bit to writer versus editor, if there’re undergraduate tutors who are thinking, I’m an English major, but I don’t quite know which would be a better fit. . .
So I think, and this is just me speaking more from personal experience, I cannot speak to everyone, but I have always had a natural penchant for editing. I wrote because I was an English major and you’re required to write, and I am a really good writer. And I know it’s hard to brag on yourself but I’ve developed really good writing skills over the years. I know how to write in various voices from various industries, and different styles of writing. But I’m not passionate about it. And I think you learn that pretty quickly on.
I would say it’s a really good idea for anyone who wants to dive into editing to start off as a writer only because, you know the mistakes that you make and the mistakes that others make—it gives you an opportunity to see it from the writer’s eyes, as opposed to just diving directly into editing. I just realized after that first six months—I still do some freelance writing on the side, I’m just not passionate about it. Whereas editing is, like, mindless to me. And I mean that in the best way possible way. It’s like so easy. It’s so seamless. I love doing it. I love making these changes, optimizing content.
Writing is so draining. It’s like, I have to think so much, I have to do so much research. There’s so much work involved with writing. Some people are not gonna feel this way. But if you feel that writing is draining and editing is energizing, that’s how you know which one you’re supposed to do. And like I said, I would strongly encourage anyone coming straight out of undergrad to start off as a writer and within that first six months, you’re gonna know. If you’re always the one that your peers are coming to you for grammar checks, or you’re naturally finding errors in blogs that you’re reading or signs that you see on the side of the road or Internet content and books and stuff like that, and you’re like, I can’t stop seeing errors and I need to fix them? There you go. That’s how you know. That’s how I feel all the time. It’s like, I need to fix these errors, but God please do not ask me to write another blog
That’s such a clarifying way of putting it back. I think that’s going to be a very helpful little diagnostic for people. That’s awesome. I want to be mindful of your time. Do you have time for one more question?
How does your past experience as a writing center tutor come into play in your current role? What are the skills that you see transfer?
Yeah, I mean, honestly, Honestly, I owe everything to UIC in that sense I finally had hands-on opportunity to work with people to fix their writing, to learn how to collaborate with people, to learn how to listen to people, to work with people who are writing things that I knew absolutely nothing about. I’ve worked with so many people who were, you know, pursuing medical degrees or in business school, or writing some kind of science paper. . . and just getting the opportunity to edit content that comes from a wide variety of people with varying skills of writing ability really gives you so much advantage.
Some people who used the Writing Center were very masterful writers that just needed some small tweaks or needed a little bit of a confidence boost, like hey, I think this is okay, but I need your help to determine whether or not it is. Versus you’d have people come in: I absolutely hate English, writing is horrible, this is my number one fear. And having the opportunity to work with a wide range of people from different backgrounds, with different disciplines, with different writing skill levels, with different mastery of the English language. We worked with a lot of the international students at the other writing centers I worked at as well and the same has been true as an editor. At G2, not only was half of our team based out of India, but I worked a lot customers whose first language is not English. And so being able to navigate like, Yep, I know exactly why they said this or wrote it this way, as opposed to be like, Oh, this doesn’t make sense. As somebody who’s worked at Writing Center, I’ve learned to understand that this is a trait of non-native English speakers, I know how to help fix it, and how to explain why I’m making this change. And being able to give really good written feedback has suited me so well as an editor. It’s something that if you can take with you and translate it, not just in written feedback, but in verbal feedback, it’s going to make you a better communicator as well. And if your goal is ever to be a people manager, having the skills to confidently tell somebody, “Hey, I noticed this pattern. Let’s work on this pattern. Let’s fix it and improve it so it doesn’t happen again”—is a good skill to have. Whether you’re doing solo editing work, or whether you’re working in a collaborative setting, all of those skills translate over very well into the professional world.
Which is really good news for our tutors! . I’m going to encourage people to look on these websites for jobs and know that, with a Bachelor’s degree, they might be eligible for an entry level position. I don’t know how often they hire at these companies, but they should take a look.
Yeah, absolutely. I know that there are positions open at Salesforce, for sure. And if you’re not ready or if you’re mulling over maybe going to grad school, or even if you’re in grad school, or still an undergrad and looking for internships—Salesforce has a lot of internship opportunities. We’re actually going to be hiring for a social media intern within the next month, and that’s not somebody that I’ll be working with directly but our social media specialist will and that’s a really good opportunity too. That’s like a nice side opportunity. Like if you want to get into social media or maybe PR? Those are good like secondary options, but writing and editing would be my primary go to for anyone with a base-level English degree.
Awesome. If and when you guys post for an internship, would you like me to post that on our alumni page to see if you get tutors who are interested?
Yeah, absolutely. I am more than happy to share and I know that my team specifically is going to be hiring for some full time roles probably in the second half of next year. So when that happens, I’m more than happy to share that information because I want to make sure that our newer set of tutors has the same kind of opportunities that I have. So any leads that I have workwise, I’m more than happy to share.
That would be great. Do you want to share any advice to tutors in general about how to survive the post grad transition, that uncertain period that everyone goes through in trying to find their footing in the working world? Is there anything you’d want to say to people—here’s what I wish I’d known?
Yeah, totally. I’m not gonna lie— transitioning out from undergrad, even though I knew I was going into grad school, was very hard. I am not somebody who’s super fond of change anyway, even if I know that it’s coming. So I would say, keep yourself busy. And I know that that’s really cliche, but it’s something that helps me. Keep yourself busy. Have things lined up whether it’s a fun activity, whether it’s you know, you’re taking some kind of, you know, knitting class or a swimming class or something where you still can mentally stimulate yourself. Unless you’re content with like, stewing in your own thoughts, I would strongly recommend having some kind of outlet whether it’s creative, whether it’s social, just keep busy. Volunteer, you know? Go for walks in the park, go to any animal shelter and spend time there, just something where you’re not focusing on like, Okay, I feel like the world is ending; what’s coming next; I don’t know.
And do that concurrently with trying to find your next opportunity. That way you’re taking off the really hard pressure of just like, okay, I spent eight hours looking for jobs online and I feel super burnt out. You’re going to. Absolutely. So spend those next hours outside doing something fun, find something enjoyable. Don’t just let yourself, like I said, stew.
What is your outlet these days? And I want to say also that I hope that your health continues to improve. I hope you’re feeling good. And I wonder what is bringing you joy these days?
Thank you. This time of year I’m really excited because it’s the holidays and I have a lot of holiday lights shows lined up to go see, and obviously we had a little bit more flexibility this year with vaccines, so that you’re able to go back and do some things in person. Last year during the height of COVID, my boyfriend and I would go on regular hikes, especially in the summer and spring and early fall. But yeah, social activities, even if it’s just with one other person, whatever feels comfortable for you just getting out, trying to do things within regulation and safety, things that you’re comfortable with. But yeah, for me right now it’s holiday lights. I’m looking forward to going to the Lincoln Park Zoo lights tomorrow. What’s better than that, you know?
Am I right that you’re a sports fan? I seem to recall a hockey jersey.
You’re absolutely right. I do go to quite a few Hawks games. I’m a partial season ticket holder. So yeah, anything that brings you joy, but sports definitely bring me joy. I know that’s not true for everyone. But if it is true for some of the people who are reading this, you know, struggling to get the courage to get up to a game—seats are pretty cheap right now because they’re not doing super well. So yeah, get out while you can, right?