|This is my Christmas decoration outside my cubicle. Yes, the Wreath of Khan.|
What's awesome is my coworkers get it.
Sorry this blog is late, but I've been busy! On Nov 25, I blogged about how we live up to 7 different "lives" in our lifetime, and as you know if you read it, I am entering a new life this year, that of a staff writer for a reviews website.
November 25th, in fact, was my first day at work writing for TopTenREVIEWS.com. Yep, if you want to know what the best products on the market are and why, you might actually be reading my work. It's a cool job. We are given a type of product (like e-readers or toasters or business websites) and we find the most popular products, study them and test them when we can, then review them on the website. Along with that, we tell you our criteria for evaluating the product and write some educational articles that apply to the products. It's a useful site and quite a moneymaker, too. We also go back and refresh the reviews periodically to add more products, re-evaluate, make sure the information is up-to-date. Companies let us know if they've improved products, too.
It's interesting to learn about different products, even if they're portable air conditioners (my first assignment.) There are lots of people with more experience with the products, plus a cadre of experts in the company I can call on, too. In addition, I'm learning some tricks to help me in my writing career. For example, did you know that while briefer is better, too brief a blog hurts your SEO? 350 is a good minimum word count. For maximum, the rule of thumb is "Don't make them scroll down more than once." I'm also getting lots of practice using the SEO words and phrases while still making the flow conversational. As I learn other general SEO tips, I'll share.
The people are a lot of fun to work with. We're divided into what I call "cubicle farms" of 4-6 people per farm. I got in the quiet farm, but I'm by the hall across from the chatty group. The first day, they discussed Lost; the next day featured a demo on how Riker gets in and out of his chair. They've got a long conversation going on top celebrities, complete with charts. It's great, because I can lean my chair back and kibitz, but when I lean toward the computer again, I've got that barrier and can concentrate.Another nice thing: as long as the work gets done, fun is encouraged.
I'm even getting into the little things about work: dressing up, putting on jewelry...all the stuff I never cared about when I was working before I had kids. (Of course, I was in the Air Force, and it was a different environment. I'm really in my element here.) The thing I like most, though, is knowing I'm employable. After 20 years out of the workforce, I seriously thought my only options were freelancing or waitressing. It's nice, too, that Rob can have some breathing space to find a job he'll really enjoy (or stay home, take care of the kids and continue the consulting work he's doing now.) He took such good care of us for 25 years, I like giving him that. (And I like leaving the kids and house to him. He's better at it than I am in several areas.)
I'm still writing books and stories. I have an article and a reprint of "Christmas Spirits" coming in Voluted Tales this month, and a DragonEye novella coming in January in Midnight Diner. I also write for SaintConnection.com. More on them later, when they launch their site. In the meantime, I'm enjoying clocking in, doing what I love--writing and researching--and clocking out to come home to my family.