Job Title: Managing Editor For A Strategy/Management Consulting Company
Type of Company: My strategy consulting firm helps large organizations in the public and private sectors find ways to make their organizations more competitive, efficient, innovative.
Education: BA, English, Tufts University Masters, Public Administration, Harvard University
Previous Experience: I spent 20 years in journalism, as an editor and reporter for daily newspapers, technology grade newspapers, magazines and websites.
Job Tasks: I write and edit white papers, op-ed essays, marketing materials and website information. That means that I receive written materials and have to assess their style and content and contrast them with the goals of the piece. It's one thing to sound impressive when you are talking. The written essay is more challenging for many busy business people to master. So I use my experience as a writer and editor to help them.
I work with colleagues in offices around the world to update their local versions of our websites. That means understanding work cultures in Asia, Europe and Africa and adapting to the working styles of people in foreign countries who, though they share an employer, have different ways of going about their work. Some countries have more collegial and democratic ways of doing things, others are more reliant on authority figures for approval.
Also: I contribute ideas for new papers and essays. I research ideas and information to support the efforts of top experts at the firm. That means keeping up with the news, scanning headlines and articles from around the globe and around the web. I have to be conversant in current events and business news so I can help very busy people think about what's already been reported and communicated by others, so our ideas can be fresh and interesting.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts: * working with very smart people who teach me about business as I teach them about communications. * a good working environment with clear expectations and supportive colleagues.
The worst part: * navigating the highways and byways of a partnership organization is different than working in a corporation. In a corporation you know who has final say, where the buck stops. In a partnership it is not always clear.
1. Read the New York Times and Wall Street Journal religiously, so you know what's going on in the business world. Supplement these with 3 or 4 other periodicals of your choice and inclination and interest and business needs.
2. Read The New Yorker so you can understand what the best prose writing today looks like.
3. Write every day in a place where you get feedback. I spent my formative years doing this as a newspaper reporter and have been making a career off my experience ever since.
4. Be open to new forms of communication online. When I started out, you needed to own or be able to pay for a printing press to do anything important. Now you can start something for free. You need to learn how to communicate not only in words, but in pictures, sound, video and data. Data visualization is going to grow in importance over time.
Additional Thoughts: What has surprised me most about my career change, switching from journalism to business consulting, is that I feel like I can make a difference even though I am no longer working in the media day-to-day. I felt for a long time that the media business, when done well, was a form of public service. It is. But it is not the only way to make a difference. I can do good work now, and instead of informing public policy debates, I can help create new jobs or encourage the people who make decisions to make better ones by giving them insights they might not have had.
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