Hey guys! Sorry today’s post is a little later than usual. The spotty internet we had on Monday disappeared on Tuesday, so all the things I’d planned on doing online last night (like preparing this post!) didn’t get done. So now I’m using my lunch break to get today’s When I Grow Up post up because I love y’all so much :)
Today’s post features Caitlin Anderson (formerly Muir, she married last year!), a communications manager for a large corporation. I’ve never met Caitlin in real life, but we’ve connected online through Twitter, though I can’t even remember how! You can find Caitlin on Twitter and Instagram. Now, let’s find out more about Caitlin’s career!
As a child, I wanted to be a ______ when I grew up. A writer. I grew up on a steady diet of Jo March, Nancy Drew, and Anne Shirley. I wanted to investigate things, meet fascinating people, travel, and write books and articles that people would read on the subway to look intelligent. I also wanted to be a traveling nurse.
How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? I am a professional writer. I use my words to inform and connect people. I'm not a novelist or a famous writer, but I do get paid to write - and that's something not a lot of people can say.
What is your official job title? Communications Manager
Ok, now what does that really mean? I keep 600+ people within a division of a large corporation on the same page regarding goals, strategy, and internal knowledge. I work with people who are far more intelligent than I am and distill their messages to the essentials.
What is a typical day like? It's of emails, curiosity, and creativity. I have an office that I go into and my own little cube. Sometimes, I travel to different offices around the country (and hopefully world!) to meet with our employees and learn how I can better craft stories that give them the information they need to do their job better. I host webinars, shoot and edit videos, attend conferences so I can live-blog them, and create infographics. I work the typical 8-5 but I have the freedom and flexibility to work from home if I need to.
How did you end up in this career? It was definitely a God-thing. I bounced around quite a bit after college - working as a barista, working on documentaries, I even had a stint where I trained to be a stock broker! Through it all, I was constantly writing. I had a blog that opened up radio interviews, job offers, and a lot of friendships. I took a chance and moved across the country to take a job as a PR manager. That grew my skills and led me to becoming a professional blogger and social media strategist and manager. Then I made the switch to internal communications.
What kind of education or training did you complete for this career? I have my degree in Journalism. I'm constantly learning new skills to keep me sharp - everything from video editing, on-camera interviewing, and now, public speaking.
What advice would you give to someone who wants a similar career? Stay zesty. Tell a good story, and do it in a way that resonates with your audience, but always let your personality shine! If you can boil down lots of information into a cohesive, and concise, story, you'll be able to help people solve problems. And that's what employers value. Think of other people. What's the important nugget of information that will help your audience? And how can you make that fun? No one likes jargon. Be real. Be human. Spice things up!
Do you have any other career dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up? Of course! I have a small notebook of business ideas that I'm constantly adding to. I have dreams of opening a coworking space, a retreat center, a nonprofit, and half a dozen other things.
I also do side work as a business coach for women starting their own businesses - I help them tell their story, think through their offerings, and act as an "instant brain storm." I do a bit of marketing consulting and writing for businesses still. I'm going to be rebooting my blog.
But let's be honest - I can't do everything. I can do anything, but not everything. There are ages and stages for everything. I'm a newlywed and right now, I'm laying the foundation for my marriage. The time will come to start (another) side business and I'll know when that time is.
In the end, I don't want to be known for my job title. I learned that the hard way a job or two ago. I want to love Jesus, love people, and be kickass at whatever I do.
Any last thoughts or encouragement for others trying to decide what they want to do “when they grow up”? In the words of Miss Frizzle, "Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" This is life. That's how we learn. And have fun!
And with those of words of wisdom, it’s time to say thanks to Caitlin, for taking the time to be a part of this series! Anyone have any questions for her?