The new gig is as a staff writer for the University of Hawaii Foundation.
The foundation is a private non-profit contracted by the university to raise funds. It handles scholarships, research grants, donations to the athletic program, alumni relations, endowed professorships, and even some property acquisition.
I’m still figuring out my job, but it’s a lot of profiles so far, of donors and other benefactors, that will go on our website and in our many print publications. There are probably going to be other kinds of writing too, but that’s what I’ve been working on so far in these early days. I have six profiles in various stages of doneness, mostly in the 300 to 500 word range, and this load is almost surely to increase, as I’ve discovered that a ton of my job is just waiting, waiting, waiting for people to get back to me.
I work on the Manoa campus with far more people than you’d probably imagine, and our people have offices in several locations on this campus and the other campuses. My desk is in a portable, in the annual giving office. My department, communications, doesn’t have its own space as several other departments do, but the person whose desk is closest to me is in my department, and in fact had my position before she moved into her new role.
I’m right by the copier, and the largest section of our office is the call center, where current students call alumni and other donors (I think) and solicit gifts.
Everyone — and I mean everyone — has been super welcoming, friendly, and helpful.
So far, the best I’ve felt doing my new job is when I was finished interviewing people I had to speak with, finished talking to my boss about the audience and intent. I grabbed my laptop, found a study carrel in the air-conditioned part of Sinclair Library, put in my earbuds, hit play on one of my Spotify playlists, and just wrote. I’d spent so much time thinking about the piece that it mostly came together right away, although I had to sorta wade through my interview notes and stitch together the last good quote I needed.
It felt good to finally produce something. It needed some tweaking once I submitted it, but now I’m waiting (again with the waiting) for one key person’s approval before I’m done. It was the one time (so far) where I felt fully present and competent. I guess that could have been predicted.
I’m still doing my side work, but it’s been a struggle to keep up with it all. More on that later. I’m finding a way to get it all done; I just don’t have time right now for anything else, and that’s unhealthy.
This feels right for now. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got, because of all the things I pursued, it was this organization that responded positively, wanted me, and saw something valuable in me. I’m not turning away from that anytime soon.