The President’s Corner

The President’s Corner

Debra Johnson
Debra Johnson

By: Debra Johnson
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC

Well… It finally happened… I had been sensing something for a few months or so… You know, obvious avoidance, no communication, no interest in TechComm or in what I do… it was only a matter of time.

On Wed August 5, 2015 at 9:15am, as I walked into the office and was nearly to my desk, I got a text message from my supervisor… “Are you coming into work today or working from home?”

“I am already in the office,” I responded. She IM’d me back, “Please come down to Interview Room B as soon as you can.”

There it was… the message I had been expecting, but hoping wouldn’t come. As my “Spidey-senses” began to tingle, I knew immediately what was about to happen. I just didn’t think it would go down this way…ambushed… kicked out of the popular kid’s party…

I had hoped maybe they would speak to me about my position being eliminated and allow me to leave with dignity, giving me a send-off acknowledging my contribution…for my six years of service. Boy, was I off…way off!!!
Oh Well, it is what it is…and it was a great run… I am so proud of what I was able to accomplish with literally no leadership, no direction, and no support from my leadership team…

Looking back:
• I was able to establish the TechComm discipline; setting it up the right way to be efficient in every way.
• I was able to implement true Enterprise topic-based authoring in the cloud, set up for expansion.
• I instituted TC workflows for creating/updating/retiring, cataloging, and curating content.
• I established a TC development lifecycle that continually operated at maximum efficiency.
• I hired amazing people who bought in to my vision. They were a daily inspiration to me and critical in making things happen; making it a joy to show up each day.
• I was able to collaborate, mentor, and coach other departments, so they could realize their own footprint in TechComm.
• I made lifelong friends.
• I enjoyed some of the most productive years in my 21-year career.

Within one hour of getting the news, and as I packed my desk under the watchful gaze of my director, my friends within STC were blowing up my phone with best wishes, contacts, suggestions on jobs, notifications that they submitted my name for jobs, and doing whatever they could to support me… Wow.

It meant so much to me. I am so blessed to be a part of this organization!!!!

So what’s next for me…? A Contract position? Permanent? …or maybe a totally new direction. Who knows…???

Stay tuned! I’ll keep you posted.

Oh BTW, STC Orlando Central Florida… thank you for your support and for caring!


One comment

  1. Lori Corbett

    Debra, I feel for you. I was in a similar position last Dec 1, when I was laid off after 12 1/2 years on my first day back from vacation. Remember your STC network is an excellent source. From my personal experience, about a week after that day, we had our holiday get-together up here in Philly-Metro land, where I announced my news and told everyone that my next stop was Disney (a planned vacation in January). Internally, I was a bit concerned as I am the caretaker of my elder husband and really needed a position with benefits. Within a week, one of my STC buddies (Donn Deboard) asked me to apply at his company. I did notice when I shared my news that he had paid special attention to my news. Two interviews later, and after requesting that they wait just a little bit so I could take some advantage of my severance package, I started my new position (which by the way is better in most every way than my old one) on February 16. Worry not my friend…something good will come soon.

    Lori Corbett
    past president, associate fellow, and past STC board member
    current member of Orlando and Philadelphia Metro chapters

    P.S. We will be back in the Orlando area this coming January (3-10).

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