Edition Twelve: Here we are, standing in the muck

I was going to write this week about the precarious situation of recommendations, but then my brain got on a different tangent.

You see, last week I had one of those weeks where I direly missed writing stories and working on things that moved much, much faster than culture change or new strategy building.

This week is better, not because I realize that those things take time (of course they do), but because I sat down and did some dirty work.

My biggest fear is becoming the kind of person who is known for talking, not doing. Doing is not just the kind of doing that got many of us into these jobs: the coding, the activism, the story writing. Doing sometimes moving a story forward, making that Gantt chart, creating that deck, having that awkward conversation. It’s certainly not the glamorous kind of doing, though.

But look at the people who don’t do the unglamorous dirty work. They’re the type that aren’t always appreciated by their peers. A long time ago, a friend at the Seattle Times told me that David Boardman, the top editor at the time, literally sat down and started writing/transcribing/what he could do during one breaking news scenario.

People appreciate working for folks who do the dirty work that goes unseen. Part of culture change and moving people ahead is showing them the way, so how can we foster new leaders that take on all the challenges if we’re not willing to do it ourselves?

So congratulations to you, because I’m sure all of you did one thing that was unglamorous, dirty and probably (generally) unappreciated. It makes you a better leader.


A tiny request

I would hope that you like this young newsletter enough to share it with a friend, maybe? Share the love and send people to themiddl.es so they can see what this is all about.


Speaking of Powerpoint/Google slides decks, here’s a secret: Most of mine were not designed by me.

I use a wonderful site that has really great templates that align with my principles of good slide making: SlidesCarnival.

Great things I’ve read lately
It’s not just bees, all sorts of insects have drastically fewer populations lately. (Where have all the insects gone?) The rise of noncompete agreements. I highly recommend actually reading your employment contract, and negotiating it (NYTimes) This is the story that will probably make you cry this weekend (WaPo). “My fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of what if. What if I never tried at all?” – Will Ferrell.

Jobs jobs jobs 
Digital Innovation manager, BASF in San Francisco. Policy Editor for FiveThirtyEight in NYC. Communications Manager at my favorite journalism org, ONA (I’m biased). Product manager at Quartz. Director of Marketing and Communications at Run for Something.