Signing up for #NaBloPoMo made me realize that I really need a name for this space. This blog is currently just my name. There is no tagline and no name for the blog.
As I wrote this post, it actually evolved into the prompted post about unofficial CVs for #digiwrimo …
In some ways this relates back to my previous post. What I am an expert in? How do I wish to identify myself in this space?
I don’t want my “name” to cause doors to close. I had originally called this space “RJ Hogue Consulting”, which was my formal business name when I was operating as a sole proprietor in Canada. It doesn’t really say anything about the types of services that I was providing. It was pretty generic, which allowed me to use it for everything from eLearning design, to technical writing, to keelboat sail training, to webpage & eBook programming. Education of some form or another has always been part of what I do, but not always directly what I do.
One of the challenges that I face in this identification is that I’m very technically literate in the education space, but not necessarily as technically savvy in the IT/Computer Science space.
If asked what is my favourite course to teach, I would easily say “Emerging Technologies”. I’ve always been someone that loves to teach people how to use new technologies. I love evaluating technologies, using them, writing up bug reports when they don’t work as expected. In some ways, my first career out of college wasn’t a bad fit. I was a software quality analyst. I worked in the network group, and my job was to setup the network lab, and then validate that our product worked in that context. I jumped on new technologies. I became an expert in Signalling System 7 (SS7) – this was back before Voice over IP, when all voice traffic used the packet switching network. I especially loved the doing customer demonstrations of our product. I loved doing customer acceptance testing – where I would go to customer site, finish up the configuration of our product (there was an install team that did most of the setup), then run through tests with the customer – teaching them how to use the product while validating that it was setup and working correctly. I loved that job. Unfortunately, I was a young women playing in a very much a mans world. It didn’t take long before I hit the glass ceiling. By the time I was “afforded the opportunity to seek employment elsewhere” (aka laid off with an awesome severance package), I was done with trying to climb the corporate latter as a software tester/product manager.
I used that opportunity to change my career. I shifted into being self-employed. I worked from home. I reflected and realized that no matter what job I did through my career (in my seven year career I held the positions of: quality analysis, quality team leader, technology trial manager, and product manager), I was drawn to the aspect of the job that involved teaching others how to use technology. I also realized that I enjoyed teaching through writing. I emerged from this reflection with a new “title” – Instructional Designer.
I’ve described myself as an instructional designer for many years, but it doesn’t adequately describe what I do. I’ve also described myself as a technical writer. I now sometimes use the term eBook Producer and eLearning programmer – in part because producing eBooks pays more than any of the other jobs that I do. But it doesn’t really define what I do.
More recently I’ve begun to describe myself as an ePatient blogger. As I write this I realize that my descriptions of myself are all about context. In different contexts I give myself different labels … and now I find myself wanting to visually describe myself in a Venn Diagram – sort of like how I understand learning theories and knowledge – where no one blob describes me, where some of the blobs overlap, where there are white spaces that cannot be described at all. So I guess I’m saying that I’m me agnostic!