Each month, we will interview one employee to get their opinions on the publishing industry, hear what it’s like to work at Technica, and learn a little bit about them. This month we are interviewing Chloe Tuck, a managing editor at Technica. When she’s not at work, she’s either performing improv comedy or working on a screenplay.
This is your first job in the publishing industry. What have you learned about publishing since working at Technica?
I only had a vague concept of how the publishing industry worked before starting here, kind of like how everyone thinks that archaeology equals Indiana Jones. I have learned a lot about how multifaceted it is and how there are so many moving parts. I have also learned how to correspond with people at different parts of the process, be they editors or reviewers or authors. People don’t always see the big picture of the process and I’m learning to see that big picture. I’m still always learning. There are so many different areas of publishing, and I feel like I’m getting familiar with scholarly publishing, but there are still so many different kinds that I’m not yet familiar with.
What is your favorite thing about working at Technica?
The people here is a big thing. I really like Jack and Arlene, they are fun and really good at what they do, and I feel like they have cultivated a good group of people. (You can listen to an interview with our bosses Jack and Arlene at http://technicaeditorial.com/technicast-with-jack-nestor-and-arlene-furman/.) Some people here are introverted and some are extroverted, but there are still commonalities between all of us. We are all quirky people, and sometimes I feel like we could have our own TV show! I also love the nature of the work. I got to edit the Technica video (which you can watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP2EnN44vcs), so if you are passionate about a particular topic or area, this is a good place to work because you can invest time in what you like. There are also a lot of different kinds of projects, so it’s a good place to work and learn. It’s not one of those companies where you have to dress a certain way, it’s not strict. It’s a fun atmosphere.
Speaking of projects, you manage a lot of them here at Technica. What is the most difficult thing about juggling lots of things at work, and what have you learned to make it easier?
I’m still learning for sure, but while it’s tough to juggle multiple projects, you can make it easier by being clear about when deadlines are and what your priorities are. When I come in on a Monday, I know it’s going to be busy, but I have clear ideas about what projects need to be prioritized on a given day or in a given week. I definitely pick areas of focus and I’m always prioritizing. Also, one thing I learned that I didn’t know when I started is the extent to which you need to have projects set up before bringing people on board. When you are working with a large team of people, having things like best practices documentation established is crucial. I feel like the more I have helped get projects off the ground, the more I learn about what needs to be set up at the beginning. Also, when you do manage people, the best way to help them is to make sure that they know what they should be doing so they can do their work themselves. So learning to step back, make sure you have best practices documentation set up and available, and make sure everyone is in the loop is crucial.
You have also presented on various topics at conferences, and just presented at the SSP conference! (https://www.sspnet.org/events/annual-meeting-2017/2017-schedule/seminar-5-editors-managing-transitions-conflict-ethics/) What have you learned from doing that? What are interesting things that you have seen and presented on?
I like presenting, I like being on stage. Sometimes I get nervous though, I think everyone does before they present. It’s different because I normally perform comedy, so I’m used to looking out into the audience and gauging how well things are going based on the laugh-o-meter, so it’s hard knowing that I’m not looking for people to laugh at my presentation. What I enjoy most is when I feel like I’m connecting with the crowd and people are nodding and asking questions. Even more importantly, I love when people throw out their own advice or feedback for how they do something in their journals or on their own projects. I recently did a presentation on special issues, and that one was nice because it felt like a conversation and people were excited by the points we hit, and then they took the opportunity to share what they do in their own journals. It felt like more of a discussion. I also learn a lot from watching other people present. It’s interesting to see what people connect to and what you learn, and you slowly assemble the big picture. So presenting helps instill confidence and changes how you work with others in a positive way.
So you mentioned that you do comedy. How has that helped you at work and in general, and what else do you like doing when you aren’t at work?
I do improv, and I also write comedy (and sometimes not comedy) scripts. What I love about improv is that it’s so in the moment. You really have to think of something right then. It’s always shocking and surprising what happens, it kind of makes you think, “Why did I say that, where did it come from?” I feel like that is a good skill. It gets you more comfortable with people. It helps with problem-solving, being able to come up with solutions quickly and being able to creatively think on your feet. Writing definitely translates to work — it’s always helpful to write, and it feeds into even just writing emails. Email etiquette is important, mastering the nuance of being nice and polite while also expressing that something needs to get done on deadline.
What inspires you?
I don’t have a lot of heroes that I’m looking to for inspiration all the time — I think it’s more the little things, a lot of little moments throughout the day that make me stop and think, “Hey, that’s really cool.” Maybe it’s doing improv that gives me such attention to detail. I’m also inspired by my parents, who are both really creative people. They are both teachers. My dad is always working on a project. He has written some poetry manuscripts recently. My mom has been working on a book with a friend for years. They are both creative, lifelong learners who have taught me so much about how to love reading and going to art museums. That really inspires me.
If you could only recommend one book, movie, TV show, or album to someone, what would it be and why?
I would definitely have to recommend Lost in Translation. I think that is hands down my favorite movie. It’s so quietly funny. There’s a lot of silence in the movie, and it’s a lot of Bill Murray, he’s not too much or over the top. And it’s about travel, and being at this point in your life where you are trying to figure things out. I feel like that’s where comedy comes from, people aren’t happy all the time, it’s hard to be immersed in a new culture, all these challenges. It’s a good movie where nothing giant happens, so it’s a lot like everyday life, and I think there is a lot of comedy there. I also love traveling and I have seen firsthand the differences between cultures, even living on the east coast or Boston and being from Texas.