Working for ThinkUp over the past 10 months has been such a joy. ThinkUp is a fun app that adds a little more meaning to your time online. The company, founded by Gina Trapani and Anil Dash, runs on ethical business practices and true respect for customers. Seriously, ThinkUp respects its users and everyone who works on ThinkUp tries every day to make it even better for them.
But building a sustainable business is an uphill battle, even with all the good qualities that ThinkUp has. It’s a battle filled with challenges and hard choices. ThinkUp has just reckoned with some of those hard choices and myself and some of my very cool colleagues have been…let go? Laid off? Set adrift? There are really no nice ways of saying “the company has to cut costs so you don’t have a job anymore even though we still love you and you still love us” but that’s the situation.
Outside of building Menu and Hours, being part of ThinkUp has been the best work experience of my life. My job at ThinkUp didn’t have an official title other than “Helping ThinkUp members*” so I handled support requests, wrote documentation, had conversations on Twitter, wrote blog posts, did product testing/QA, lobbied for new features and generally represented the interests of our community of users. I was given the freedom to do whatever I could to make ThinkUp users happier, including giving lots of opinions on how the product should grow and change. For someone who loves technology and really enjoys helping people that’s pretty much a dream job. Add to that, the fact that my knowledge, experience and ideas were all shown the utmost respect and well, you can understand why I’m sad to no longer be on the ThinkUp team.
(*though Anil and I did agree on “Community Manager” as shorthand)
I don’t know what’s next. I’ve been really lucky that over the past decade or so all of my jobs, freelance gigs and various projects have come to me through networking, recommendations, people experiencing my work or by my own hustle. So when someone asked me for a resume this week I kind of froze. I haven’t written a resume in years. My work has spoken for itself or people I’ve worked with have spoken for it. I feel like as a general web and communications geek I’m singularly ill-fitted to condense my work into a resume. Unless of course someone asks me to present a resume written primarily in emjoi. That would make sense.
While putting off even attempting to write a resume I’ve been responding to friends on Twitter and email who have asked what it is exactly I do and what kind of work situation I’m looking for.
My friend Tiffany asked if I’d like to get back into technical writing (the work I first did a million years ago). I said I’d definitely be cool with that and “ I *think* I’m pretty good at writing documentation & writing explanations for tech things in ways that muggles can understand.” My now ex-boss Anil confirmed that I am in fact pretty good at writing documentation & explanations for tech things in ways that everyone, not just advanced users, can understand.
@michellej @webinista that is correct!
— Anil Dash (@anildash) December 2, 2014
I told my friend Kevin that I’m a “web technologist who will be the best advocate for your users and nicest point person for your community, all while writing the most clear and helpful documentation your product has ever had.”
Back in 2011 I drew a venn diagram of the kind of work I wanted to do and it’s still accurate:
I am open to part time and short term gigs. I am open to freelance situations. I am open to opportunities both at startups and “more established” companies. What I’m looking for most though is to be proud of the work I’m doing and who I’m doing it for. I want to work on products that I’d use myself or be happy recommending to friends and loved ones. I want to work for a company that doesn’t exist just to make money. I want to work for a company that strives to add a little delight and usefulness to the world through those products.
I’m based in Louisville and relocation isn’t an option so remote gigs are aces.
If you have leads on projects or jobs I’d be right for I’d really appreciate hearing about them. Drop me an email (mj AT michellejones.net) or let me know what’s up on Twitter (@michellej).
Earnest, Cheesy Section of Our Program
I’m an internet nobody in Louisville, Kentucky and I just spent the better part of a year working for two of my internet heroes on a very cool app. That’s the power of the web and I’m so lucky to be part of it. When I first put Gina’s personal blog into Bloglines (yes, I have been on the internet that long) or when my blog first appeared on Movable Type’s list of recently updated sites, I couldn’t have imagined getting to work with Gina and Anil. Thanks for the opportunity y’all, it was awesome.
And Music to End On
I totally chose the title for this post just so I could share my favorite Bob Seger song.