Do you currently manage a community?
I’m a brand new community manager - I’ve been following the crash course model over the past nine months, and we’re launching the first phase of our community now. I’m a rookie, but hoping to learn and develop quickly.
I’m currently developing and managing a community for our organization, and slowly bringing in other organizations over the next twelve months once we work out some of the kinks.
What career path brought you to where you are now?
My career path doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it all made sense at the time. I started off going to school to study Psychology (I wanted to be a therapist). At school I fell in love with Philosophy, Law, and Justice. I took a few shortcuts and went to law school, only to leave halfway through to pursue work in the charity sector as a researcher. That’s how I landed this job, which is a cool mixture of research and project development. The CM piece is one of the projects I’m overseeing, and the one I’m most excited for. I don’t know what the typical path of a CM is, but I imagine many people have strange paths like mine.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
For me, the biggest challenge is that I don’t have an IT background. There are certain aspects of the job that require technical or coding skills (customization, development), and I feel like that has been a limiting factor for me. Luckily I have a good IT team in the organization, and we’re working on a great platform that does most of what we want out of the box.
Another challenging part is that the idea of a community is fairly new to our org. It has been a really exciting challenge to shape our vision of what a community actually does and what it looks like. This includes all of the classic pitfalls - including the big launch. Feverbee has been a huge resource to help this part of the job.
What’s the best job you ever had that wasn’t in community management and does it inform your CM work in any way?
I’ve had a lot of jobs in research, including in law and social services. Those jobs were great because you have a huge amount of leeway and freedom to accomplish your goals, and you get to really follow interesting threads towards a larger goal. I feel that those jobs have helped me dive into the complicated (and sometimes frustratingly subjective) world of CM, and write persuasive policy pieces to outline what we need to do, and how to grow something that will last.
At the end of the day, this is a job that is stretching me. I’m very thankful for the huge amount of support offered here and by other CMs.