When professional writing alumna Andrea Krebs (’10) graduated with her bachelor’s degree from PCC, she felt ready to enter the writing world, despite how competitive it can be. That same year, God provided Andrea with a solid writing job at a well-known corporation—Hewlett Packard—in the very city where her brother and sister-in-law were living. Now Andrea gets to do daily what she loves: communicate through the written word.
Hewlett Packard does much more than simply sell computers and printers; as an information technology company, it also acts as the fiscal agent for several states. Andrea’s main responsibility for HP is writing publications concerning Wisconsin Medicaid’s billing and policy information.
When Andrea works on a publication, she starts by spending hours researching the topic, often getting her information from communications meetings with policy analysts. Then she drafts the content of her publication, but writing it is just the first step. “I rewrite and edit to address situational needs as the publication develops,” Andrea said. “Each publication goes through about six stages of review and at various stages can be sent to upwards of forty people at a time.” It usually takes approximately two to three months for Andrea to get a publication from the research stage to the publishing stage.
Andrea’s job keeps her busy. From working on five to seven publications at a time to overseeing online billing and policy information, Andrea has several tasks to manage. She is thankful for how PCC helped prepare her for the multitasking she does every day. “Balancing multiple classes at PCC with multiple deadline-driven projects helped me learn to prioritize both my time and my projects,” she said. “My job today requires me to do the same, whether I’m revising 25 user guides in three months or writing seven publications in two.”
Andrea appreciates the variety she has in her many responsibilities, yet she does occasionally feel that writing and editing can get tedious. She explained, “To be honest, writing isn’t very glamorous. It’s just you and your computer; and, at times, you can have tunnel vision,” Yet, even when her work requires self-discipline to stay focused, Andrea continues to seek excellence in her own writing.
Andrea learned to appreciate excellence during her undergrad years. “My professors expected a high standard of excellence from me, requiring me to pay attention to even the smallest of details,” Andrea said. “I apply that same level of detail in my job, whether it’s following an established style or standard or ensuring every reviewer’s feedback has been properly incorporated.”
For many writers, accepting feedback can be discouraging. Andrea said, “Just when I think I have a word that fits just right, someone axes it, and I have to start all over again.” Learning from the feedback she has received and not taking any comments personally have helped her keep doing what she loves without becoming discouraged.
When she’s been working at her computer too long or has to completely rewrite something, Andrea takes a few moments to make her coworkers laugh. “I tend to be a bit of a prankster,” she said. Incorporating moments of spontaneous fun with the diligence needed to produce excellent work has made Andrea really enjoy her almost five years at Hewlett Packard.
“I love constantly learning about new things. It stretches me as a person and as a writer,” Andrea said.