Five Minute Friday: SEARCH

Five Minute Friday Search

Five Minute Friday: SEARCH

One of the my first tasks when I began freelancing at SmartBrief involved searching for stories for various topics. Some subjects required more creativity than others to find things that other people would be likely to want to read.

My responsibilities now are different from what they were then, and searching for stories to share isn’t the main thing I do, but …

… it is easier to help other people learn how to search, having done it myself. 

This principle, of course, applies to many things we have to teach others to do in life. To take a small aside, I worked for Healthy Kids for a very long time. At first, the program was only in one county in Florida (Volusia), and our call center was in a different county. Over time, the program became a model for the federally funded State Child Health Insurance Program, and was available to families statewide.

***end of five minutes ***

For a few years, our contact center was in Illinois. Eventually, the contract was changed to stipulate that the contact center had to be in Florida.

Why does that matter to this story?

It matters because I was sitting there in the Florida contact center one day, observing a representative. She was talking to a family and demonstrating exceptional empathy. When she hung up, she said, “my kids were on this program, so I understand exactly what types of questions the callers have.”

I realize that’s a little bit of a leap from “it’s easier to teach someone to look for stories about crop insurance because I did it too” to “it’s better for someone at a contact center to have personal experience with the many challenges underinsured parents in Florida have en route to getting their child affordable health care.”

It is, though, a bit similar. If you’ve been there yourself, the search to have it all make sense is a bit less daunting.

Five Minute Friday Just

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

FMF31 2018 Day 18: SEARCH

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: SEARCH

One of my duties as a freelancer at SmartBrief was searching for stories to be included in our newsletters. Searching was one of my favorite things to do, for a variety of reasons. For the six months or so before I transitioned to being a full-time employee, my searching duties came after a few hours of intense concentration while editing. The searching gave me a chance to switch my brain to a different mode, relax a little bit, and discover what was going on in the world.

Besides my daily searching (which had to do with legal content), I also searched every weekend for agriculture-related stories. As with any industry, I discovered what a vast array of writing exists about extremely niche things. (I also discovered lots of very good writing about these niche things (and plenty of not-so-skillful writing)).

I had a list of sites I visited routinely. One site I visited stayed on the list, not because it had anything I could use for the newsletter and its narrowly-targeted topic, but because I just liked it!

The site is The Farmer’s Daughter USA. Amanda, the author, grew up farming, has definite opinions about many things policy-related, including agriculture legislation and GMO foods. But she is also a practicing attorney and has managed something I haven’t: creating a catchy design for the blog itself! (She also has a fun Twitter stream at @farmdaughterusa.)

I don’t do the in-depth searches anymore, but I get the opportunity to support other people as they learn to do them. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did, and discover the principle that applies as much to searching for news stories as it does to life in general: take a look at the things that don’t initially seem to be a fit, because you may find something even more personally satisfying!

Five Minute Friday Comfort