1. I squandered the chance to make my favorite Ides of March joke⁠—that it’s become too commercialized. Ba-dum chhh.

2. It was the first time since the pandemic began in 2020 that I’ve articulated outside of Steyer what I view as the five must-haves to thrive in a remote content role. To me, these qualities are so important that I’ve boarded the bandwagon refusing to call them “soft skills” and lobbying to have them known as “essential skills.” They are:

  • The ability to connect not just with a downstream audience for whom you are producing content but with your team. Are you responsive? Can you convey not just information but also intent and tone? Do you use the full range of tools⁠—text, audio, video, emoji!⁠—not just to plug into workflows but also to build real relationships with people you’ve only rarely if ever met in person?
  • Flexibility. Can you bob and weave as needs and circumstances change? In a stressful situation, are you going to add to the tension⁠—or help resolve it? 
  • An ability⁠—actually a hunger⁠—to learn. We often get asked what tools are most in demand and last night we threw out a few that keep cropping up: Figma for UX designers, GitHub for tech writers, WordPress for web producers. But more valuable than any single tool⁠—because different companies use different things and tools change over time⁠—is the confidence and capacity to dig in and learn any tool. A good (non-fiction!) story of how you rolled up your sleeves and got comfortable with a new platform in three days or three weeks can be the ticket to a cool, new job, even if you don’t know all the tools listed in the JD (job description).
  • Self-management. For the most part, content teams are getting leaner and managers are being asked to do more. If you can PM your own work—setting milestones, resolving blockers, creating order from chaos, getting buy-in, and managing up—the people who hired you will try to hold onto you forever. 
  • Accountability. This one is so simple and yet hard and rare enough to be a powerful differentiator: do you do what you say you’re going to do? On time and on budget?

That’s my list, but what do you think? What have I missed? At Steyer, we do talks like the one we did last night, and we write posts like this one, not to pontificate but to engage–and to learn. As always, I hope to hear from you!

Thanks for reading,
Kate
kwalton@steyer.net

P.S. To those who attended last night’s STC talk: I’m sorry! How disappointing to sign up for a new newsletter only to read the same things you just heard! Let me take your coat and show you around. We keep past issues of Workings here and you might enjoy catching up on our Good Jobs mission, the Great Emoji Debate, or the notion of professional loneliness.

Image credit: Steyer Content