Pay It Forward

You just never know when you may impact a person’s life.

The other week I wrote a blog about picking a face for work. Soon after it posted, I received an email from a former colleague, Mary-Hope. I had hired her as an intern, and then was able to hire her full-time. Eventually, we both moved on to new positions. We keep in touch, but not as often as either one of us would like.


Mary-Hope keeps a list of key things to keep in mind when writing.

She had attached two pictures to the email. They depict editorial notes I had provided on her writing that she says she won’t forget.

“I started a little note pad with some of these reminders to help me write when my brain seems to freeze up!” she said. “…[These] will stay with me as long as I’m writing, or typing!”

I admit: It was one of the most rewarding emails I had received. Part of that was because I’ve been trying to pay it forward, as the saying goes.

I have been blessed with amazing teacher and mentors throughout my life. Both my high school journalism and British literature teachers taught me much about the subjects. They also taught me life lessons. The same holds true for my mentors, who continue to help me navigate my career path.

Because of the guidance of these individuals and their impact on my career, I’ve always strived to help others starting out in their careers. I’ve never been concerned about a payback, but I admit, that email made my day.

How do you pay it forward?

One thought on “Pay It Forward

  1. Louise Seals says:

    Please bear with me for a similar story but one a bit longer in the telling: When I was a managing editor from 1994 to 2006, I opened all application letters. We had 4 form letters to respond (which many papers did not bother to do), but occasionally I was moved to send an individual response. One of those involved taking a red editing pen to an error-riddled intern query and telling the obviously bright and talented applicant that such carelessness sank her request with me and showed she needed to rethink whether she cared enough about truth and accuracy to be a journalist. More than a decade later, she found me on Facebook to thank me. She was an editor at the Miami Herald and credited my tough response. I was walking on air for days!

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