I’m pleased to announce that I have joined Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas as a senior technical writer.
I loved my time as a freelance writer working on independent projects, including my book. But it was time for a change and the next challenge. In the last five years, I have experienced tremendous growth as a professional writer and as a person, and I couldn’t be prouder of this time.
Now I’m ready for the future. At Applied Research Labs, I’ll be using my skills to support scientists and researchers working in the fields of acoustics and sonar, electromagnetics, and information sciences. The labs were established at the end of World War II, and the work is Defense Department affiliated. I’m genuinely excited to have been accepted by a group of such bright and talented people doing important work that benefits our country.
On a lifestyle related note, ARL has a nice old-style campus and is located just 10 minutes from my house! And I know I’ll enjoy being part of an academic atmosphere.
I’m also looking forward to opening up my blog to a wider range of topics that hopefully will make you smile or give you something to think about. And wherever this new role takes me, I’m excited about continuing to learn, grow, and serve.
How many of you remember the great movie A League of Their Own, starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis? The movie concerned a group of women who became baseball players during World War II, a time when the male players were serving in the military. Tom Hanks plays Jimmy Dugan, the washed-up manager who finds his love of the game again through these unlikely champions.
I was thinking the other day about what I’ve learned since I started working with my freelance clients and how I could expand my offerings. Right now, my best clients already have pretty great baseball teams with experienced players. In my case, this means they have writing projects with specific goals, and resources lined up with the information they want to communicate. In that case, I’m the Geena Davis character—the pro who knows how to execute.
But what about clients at the level of the rest of the Rockford Peaches? These farm girls are pretty great players, too. But they’ve never done anything like this before, and they’re not quite ready to put it all together. There’s some behind-the-scenes spadework that needs to be done. This summer, I’ll be putting on my coach hat and working on some more effective ways to do that (i.e., packages) that make sense for me and for potential clients looking to take it to the next level.
What I love about A League of Their Own is that Jimmy Dugan doesn’t start out as a great coach. He isn’t really much of a leader at all. As the story unfolds, he grows into the role. He accepts his situation and begins to believe in the abilities of his players. He begins to offer them the positive feedback and constructive criticism they actually need, instead of just screaming at them. He tunes into their values instead of his own. Working together, he and the players find a way to work together and make their dreams come true.
In the end, it all comes down to the improved results on the baseball diamond. But the scoreboard is only a crude measure of success. The real story is the humility, compassion, and communication that develops between the coach and the players.