I have been having strange, recurring dreams in which I’ve moved into a large Victorian style house. In past dreams, I would venture into different rooms of the house, but there are certain areas that I don’t enter because I somehow know that they are haunted. I think that I had a dream about living in the same house last night, but in it I was mourning Josh’s death as I was going through some of his things that were stored in his room. But, I knew that I wasn’t in our current house, because his room was different, as if it was in an upstairs attic. There was an older analog TV on a stand there. Elijah was there, and I told him that we could replace it with a newer TV. But, we were also in a hurry because Theresa was waiting for us to come downstairs so we could go out to eat.
The room we were in reminded me of the upstairs of my Grandpa Cornell’s house, which was a little like an attic space which had been converted into a bedroom.
Sometimes, Josh is still alive in my dreams, and other times I am aware that I am dreaming of the present day. When he appears in my dreams, I accept that he is still alive, but later when I wake up I will cling to those images.
I have had dreams about moments which turned out to be true. For example, when I was younger I dreamed about sitting down in front of a computer terminal I had never seen, in a room I had never been to. I recognized that room and that type of computer when I used the CM Life computer lab during my first year as a student at CMU. I know that I’ve dreamt about a specific place or moment when I suddenly get a feeling of deja vu, and realize that its happen to me in a dream before. But, it’s too late when I make the connection, because the moment has already passed.
My first job after graduating from Central Michigan University was with an Internet Service Provider called HomeTown Online. The ISP was a subsidiary of the company which owned two local newspapers, HomeTown Newspapers. Our offices were located in the same building as the newsroom for the Livingston County Press, in Howell Michigan.
As a fresh college graduate with a journalism degree, I was totally thrilled to be working just a few doors down from an actual newsroom. It’s true that my job had very little to do with news reporting, but that didn’t dissuade me. I thought I would be there for a long time.
I feel as though I contributed some great new ideas to the company. When I began meeting with clients to discuss their website needs, I developed a standardized form which was designed to streamline the process of gathering information and developing a plan for their online presence. I restructured the design of the Livingston County Press and Brighton Argus website so that it looked a little more like an online publication. I also improved HomeTown Online’s marketing by designing newspaper display ads and produced a booklet which we handed out during a home show in Howell.
One of the biggest ways that I wanted to contribute was by helping the news staff think of innovative ways of packaging their news stories. At the time, the newspaper content I was publishing on the newspaper’s website was nearly identical to the articles which appeared in the print edition. I felt as though there could be ways to leverage the advantages of web publishing and provide online readers with more photos, bar charts, or maybe links to videos. Of course, back then the news content was most likely viewed as a loss leader which attracted potential subscribers, so I am not sure how much effort HomeTown Newspapers would have wanted to put into developing extra material. But, had I been given the chance I think I would have been able to help guide the company into the Internet age, either as a web producer or a digital content strategist.
As a business, I know that the operation had its problems. But, I feel like we were always able to offer the best user support possible, and we were slowly preparing HomeTown Newspapers for the digital age. If it had been given the chance, the staff could have continued to innovate and accomplish some great things.
I gained a lot of experience in the business world during my short time with HomeTown Online. I deepened my knowledge of web development, graphic design, and user support. I was also able to take on roles such as news liaison, and client representative, even before anybody recognized that these were needed. I was also proud of the design work that I contributed. I still have a HTOnline mug with the logo on the front of it.
One of my biggest accomplishments as Web Services Manager for EduGuide was that I was able to establish clear channels of communication with staff, web users, and partners. Internally, I coordinated between staff, web developers, and graphic designers on multiple projects. I managed the organization’s helpdesk and responded swiftly to user’s questions. I also managed a team of volunteer writers and beta testers who helped the organization to make improvements to its website and online knowledgebase. I was often praised for my knowledge of our website and the support I offered to both staff and customers.
Prior to EduGuide, I worked for the Michigan State Medical Society and later Special Olympics Michigan where I streamlined the procedure for collecting and posting updates to the organizations’ websites. As a video conference helpdesk technician for Dow Chemical, I routinely communicated with field technicians on technical issues, and maintained the support team’s internal knowledgebase.
Looking back at my professional career, I can think of a lot of times when my education and training helped me to understand how to clearly communicate with an audience and look at a project from several angles. My experience with nonprofit organizations and smaller companies forced me to be self-reliant, as I was often required to cover multiple aspects of a given project.