Summer is slowly slipping away. I try to capture and savour every last sip of it. The air is less humid. The evening air has a note of fall crispness. I already saw one yellow leaf fall off the fig tree in my backyard. I’ll miss swimming in the ocean, staying on the beach until 9 p.m., and the seemingly endless hours of playing outside with my three kids aged six, four and two.
The good thing about fall is getting back onto a schedule and setting goals for the school and the STC year. However, with goals comes the risk of overcommitting yourself and overworking yourself. It’s important to still make time for play. I find if I make time for play, I am more motivated and efficient at all my jobs: mother, wife, technical writer, STC President.
My manager recently implemented coffee chats at my workplace. Since most of our team works remotely, it gives us a chance to connect on a personal, non-work related level. Talking about work at these meetings is strictly taboo, so instead we enjoy having political debates or learning about a coworker’s recent vacation or other interests. These meetings have been a great way to get to know my coworkers better. I think they have also made us more efficient workers because we are making time to have fun.
STC also offers monthly coffee chats through the Tech Comm Café (TCC) in Vancouver and the Vancouver Island TCC which is social supper quarterly event. Our chapter has 60 members and we’re located all over British Columbia. We’re a small chapter and it can be geographically challenging to attend meetings in person. Therefore, to help us all connect and feel part of the same chapter, we’ll be having our first online Tech Comm Café on Wednesday, Sept 13, 2017 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time (RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org). This will be a great opportunity for writers all over British Columbia to connect with each other (including non-members). Perhaps you’re too shy to attend an in person meeting or aren’t up for the commute. Whatever the case, the Tech Comm Café is a great way to connect with other like-minded individuals.
One of our chapter goals for the year is to add value for existing members by establishing an online presence. Therefore, members all over British Columbia can attend events via virtual Tech Comm Café (TCC) meetings, and online monthly chapter meetings, webinars, and classes. This gives all chapter members the opportunity to participate and gain a return on their membership investment.
We all live busy lives these days, but we have the power to choose how we spend our time. Make the time to enjoy the last of warm summer nights. We can scale back to make more time for play and ensure there is a work life balance. Any amount of time spent volunteering can make a huge difference. Whether you are writing or editing an article for our website, presenting a webinar, or signing up to be the Vice-President of our chapter, you can make a difference in our technical communication community.
Serena Beck has been a technical writer for 13 years and currently writes about blood and plasma hardware and software. She is the president of the STC Canada West Coast chapter.