JRN 493 Week 4: Mentors in the Workplace

No matter where you work; it’s great to have a workplace mentor; someone you can go to when you need advice. The documentation department I work with is full of candidates because I’m still fairly new to Allscripts and technical writing work in general. But I do have one such guru.

The application I work on at Allscripts, Sunrise Patient Financials (PFM), was previously handled by another writer who is still a part of the documentation team: Myrtle. So when I have trouble figuring out how to document something or deciding what my next move for me and my team should be, I talk to her. She’s become an invaluable resource for me because she’s knowledgeable about the product, along with being knowledgeable about the people that make up the PFM team.

I’m not sure if I explained this previously, but the PFM team works entirely remotely from me (split between Boston and India, with me in North Carolina). This means a lot of meetings on WebEx and Microsoft Lync meetings for me discussing documentation planning or explaining what’s already been done.

Luckily, Myrtle works in Boston, and can give me parallel information along the lines of “It’s really snowing badly down here, no one wants to be here, maybe we can speed this meeting up,” or “Some of the development team have been handling incidents this morning, they’re tired, maybe less jargon this meeting.” This is inside information I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t there in person (which shows you some of the limits of remote work) and helps me address the application team in a more constructive way.

Myrtle and I also have our own meeting every Friday to discuss how the week went and what we can do next week. This is also the meeting where she helps me understand the PFM application better through short explanations of processes within the application.

Finding a mentor like Myrtle in a workplace setting, whether you’re in journalism or technical writing or editing, is something you need to do. Maybe every mentor won’t be as knowledgeable or nice as Myrtle (she’s really nice, which is a huge bonus) but it’s still such a valuable thing to create for yourself if you’re new to the workplace.

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