As You Graduate: Wisdom from a Web Editor

by Alison Lueders

Web editing embodies many of the habits of mind you need to succeed in almost any profession – they are pretty universal. Pardon if you’ve heard this “wisdom” before, but at the ripe old age of (never mind), here are my top 3 tips for following your dreams after graduation.

Keep Learning

As Cathy Hodson noted in an earlier post this month, the Web did not exist when I graduated, and yet here I happily am as a web editor. The dreams you have today may morph into something else in years to come, and that’s OK.

Recognize that the constant creation of new knowledge – in fields from farming to rocket science to those as yet unnamed –  is a huge, ongoing opportunity. If you make learning a habit, you will have more choices for work and happiness than those who believe their learning days are over.

So “surf the knowledge wave” in whatever way suits you. As a web editor, I explicitly allot a certain number of hours each week to learning – whether it’s a new software tool, a subject area or a skill. I invest in learning so that I can bring the best “me” possible to my clients – and that “me” is not static.

Help Others Succeed

This is not about being “soft” or squishy. The fact is, “Life is difficult,” as M. Scott Peck says in “The Road Less Traveled“. If you haven’t found this out yet, you will. Be one of the people who eases the way for others. Help solve their problems, share information they need, or just brighten their day with a smile. That helpfulness comes back to you in unexpected ways. It’s also totally within your control, so practice it daily!

What’s this got to do with web editing? I see web editing as service to others – whether saving a client from a potentially embarrassing error or emailing a spot-on article with facts they can use in their next speaking engagement. When my clients succeed, I succeed. Create your own “virtuous circle” in whatever endeavor you pursue.

Stick with It

Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Most anything worthwhile takes time – often far more time than you’d ever imagine. If you want to accomplish something important – getting a degree, finding a job, finding a spouse – don’t give up.

We live in a time of instant gratification. As a web editor, I LOVE having the world at my fingertips 24 hours a day. But this capability can distort your expectations in other facets of life. Chances are, you will NOT get offered the job after one interview, you will NOT marry the person after the first date, and you will NOT be accepted into every program to which you apply.

It may be hard to see now, but when you look back, you will realize that all those “No’s” were good and necessary steps on the road to your later success. Keep going.

As a web editor (and small business owner), there are days I cringe at having to learn one more thing or complete one more task. But rather than throw up my hands and quit, I take a walk or call a friend. Success is neither easy nor fast, but I know that it will come – if I just stick with it.

In closing, congratulations on your achievement! Graduation is one of the “biggies”. Opportunity awaits, and there are endless ways you can contribute to making a better world. I wish you well in finding YOUR way to make that happen.

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