The meeting started normally. Everyone signed in. Beep, beep, beep. There’s a quick “Hi, how are you?” Then something feels different. It becomes quiet.

The new leader joins the call and takes over…talking, talking, talking. Barely a breath in between thoughts. A few awkward looks are exchanged. More talking. After an hour, eyes are glazed over.

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Illustration courtesy of

“So what do you all think?” says the new leader, followed by a long hesitant pause. Finally, an opening! But it’s too late. The tone has been set. The team looks at each other and nods, “sure.”

Apathy creeps in, then silence. It’s the sound of the death of a team.

— — Prior to this call —…

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Instructional designers are superheroes. A typical day on the job can involve HTML code, wrangling content, negotiating with subject matter experts, and making user experience decisions. It’s a true embodiment of the phrase “wear many hats.”

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This year I decided to commit to a practice called Working Out Loud (WOL). You may be thinking, really? That sounds like senseless business jargon to me. I promise there’s more — keep reading for the good stuff. WOL is a way to tell your story through an intentional narrative; a narrative that explains the work you do and why you do it.

Some consider WOL a form of networking or schmoozing. I see the practice differently. By the way, I am a big fan of networking. I landed my first full-time job through a web of people I met…

It’s an age old story. I have a job that does not relate to my degree. In fact that degree is gathering dust in a file cabinet. For the sake of suspense, I will leave the major of that degree a mystery until the end of this article. No peeking.

My job is strange because it blends a variety of disciplines. Disciplines that don’t normally intersect. Things like negotiation, writing, video production, project management, teaching, and user experience, as well as technical skills such as HTML, prototyping, and troubleshooting.

I am an instructional designer and I build online courses. Courses…

Alecia Ohm

Learning Program Leader // Community Builder // Design Thinker

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