Make your work visible

And put it into the world

This week, we’ve been enjoying our completed fence. Shakes has become familiar again with digging holes in the yard at his leisure and getting mud caked under his nails after the recent rain. It’s a habit he doesn’t care to quit, but in true fashion, he becomes mopey and stubborn and stiff when I wipe his paws down before he can go inside.

Either way, I’m happy the sunshine feels like a treat for both of us, especially when balancing the ups and downs each day has brought. It’s been a crazy week of internet cancellations, friendships, discussions about race, ignorance, and weariness with my AAPI friends, but when I climb into bed, I’m grateful for another day.

My tip this week to make your work visible so the right people can find it.

It feels like since the Zoom era exploded, online talks have circled around themes of career growth and empowerment.

One talk I tuned into recently had a very odd but insightful takeaway for me: that often times, women believe that doing hard work is enough, and that our work will speak for itself. Sometimes, however, in order to get credit for your work or to get the right eyes on it, you’ll need to work hard not only on the work but its distribution: making sure it’s documented, making the messaging memorable and simple, and focusing on showing the right people its value.

I’ve been in roles before where I feel like I’ve worked very hard with very little to show for the process. I also feel like I’ve struggled with showing that I’m doing equal, if not more work, and left feeling exploited in comparison to white male coworkers. Over time, I’ve become highly conscious of leaving breadcrumbs so that I can make sure I have evidence and proof of my work, but sometimes, the right opportunities and visibility are built on how (or if) you document what you’ve done.

So if appropriate, I suggest to write down your process, make notes of all the decisions you’ve made, keep note of every draft, document every failed idea, take all of the evidence of your hard work, tab and know all of your evidence, and keep in your back pocket the opportunity to make it into a narrative that you tell with integrity. You never know when a piece of it will come in handy, even for yourself over time as our short-term memory fades.

It’s very possible you’ll be able to reuse, adapt, or reinvent parts of your work toward new ideas or build on top for what’s next… and you never know who will end up seeing it.