About Me pages are on of the most challenging content a writer will ever have to produce.
That's because if you want to do it successfully, you have to tell your readers all about you without constantly referring to I or me.
One way to do this is by describing it dispassionately; in the third person.
That is to say, "Bruce has been writing for most of his life."
Doesn't sound quite right. Does it?
As you read it, you find yourself wondering if he actually wrote the text; and for someone who is offering his services as a writer, you don't want your readers to think that for even a moment.
So with that said, I've decided to use the first person.
On the plus side, it'll sound like we've just met, and I'm telling you about how I came to be a writer.
On the negative side, it will be almost impossible to refer to myself as anything other the me or I.
Now that you know what to expect, we can just get on with it.
As I said in example, I've been writing for most of my life.
It seems to be one of those things that runs in the family, though I'm the only one who has published anything.
The US Air Force and the accidental writer
Like so many things in life, I sort of fell into this craft accidentally.
Government agencies are known for the clarity of their regulations, and the US Air Force is no exception.
While I was serving in that branch of the Armed Forces, I was given what were affectionately known as "additional duties."
Those were other things that needed to be done, but which you didn't sign up for.
You didn't tell the recruiter that you knew that your primary job would be making weather forecasts, but what you really wanted to do was to spend your free time dusting the office.
The thing about additional duties was that you could get into just as much trouble for not doing them as for not doing the job you were being paid to do.
You did the job you were paid to do and anything else they could dream up whenever they told you to do it.
Your hours weren't nine-to-five with an hour for lunch.
In my case, I usually worked a series of eight hour shifts sometime between Monday and Sunday, from 12:00 am to 11:59 pm.
And the shifts were always the same either.
Over the years, I'd had a number of these duties. Some were bigger than others.
On this occasion, I was handed a doozy.
The Unit Supply Program.
This is the job that no one wanted.
That's because it was so hard to manage.
Most people who got stuck with it considered to be a royal pain in the neck.
I shared their sentiments.
How to get supplies
The first thing was figure out how to get the supplies we needed for the weather station where I worked. (I was a weather forecaster.)
Now you have to understand something.
A weather unit has about 20 people in it.
No one else on the base used what we did, apart from pens and paper - that sort of thing.
This was a little while ago.
We used big rolls of facsimile and teletype paper and of course equipment such as barometers, anemometers, runway visibility sensors, and thermometers.
And we were also the only weather detachment in the United Kingdom to have a satellite machine.
It meant that we could print beautiful black and white pictures of the weather systems in our area and over the North Atlantic.
I attended the two-day supply training course offered at the base and came out of it more confused than when I went in.
The terminology was alien.
The training obviously was geared for those who fixed jets.
We didn't, though we got to talk to pilots.
It became apparent right away that I was entirely on my own.
They didn't understand my questions, and I didn't understand their answers.
Air Force manuals
There was nothing that could be done apart from reading the manuals.
Air Force publications are about as stimulating as watching paint dry.
It was obvious that the person who had "written" the publications didn't know how to write.
Nothing - zip, nada, niente - made sense.
And so I ended up doing what so many primary school teachers tell you: "Put it in your own words."
In this case, my own words consisted of a manual about two inches thick.
I explained how to fill out every form we used, who had to sign them, where they were delivered, and what you could expect after the form was distributed.
Everything that should have been in the base training, but wasn't, was in that manual.
The goal was to make it possible for anyone in the weather station to obtain the supplies we needed whether I was there or not.
And it worked.
The Inspector General's team thought so, too.
When they "dropped" in for one of their week-long inspections, they couldn't find anything wrong with the program.
Everything was as it was supposed to be.
I was given a Laudatory Finding - the Air Force's version of, "well done my boy."
Sometime thereafter, I wandered down to the Education Office - my favorite haunt - to see about taking a CLEP test for English.
The scoffing almost blew me out of the door.
"Everyone thinks they can pass this test, and no one ever does!"
I got 600 and had six semester hours of English waived.
Just so they'd have their pound of flesh, however, I was still forced to take one class.
After finishing a Bachelor's degree, a professor suggested that I attend graduate school.
I must admit that I was a bit nervous about doing so, but by then undergraduate classes had become pretty boring.
(I actually fell asleep during the midterm in one of them, woke up in time to finish the test, and got an A in the course.)
Graduate school was fun.
I studied hard and learned a lot, and was commended for the quality of my writing.
And because lectures were rather boring, I decided writing that I'd write a 250-page research paper because it would be more fun.
From there, I went on to write other things - business plans, a series of articles for a newspaper and the cover story for a magazine.
In 2000, I began work on a book called Managing Value-Based Organizations: It's Not What You Think, which was published in 2006.
Sir Cary Cooper, now Pro-Vice Chancellor for External Relations and Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University in the UK was the co-author.
He also supervised the first few years of my PhD.
About 18 months before graduation, we moved to Italy, which put an end to any idea of an academic career.
Then one day, I got an email out of the blue from a management consultant.
Would I be willing to write some articles for her to put on her blog?
Soon thereafter, I picked up another client, and then another.
Along the way, I learned about Internet marketing and and became the No. 2 author of articles on Entrepreneurship at Ezine Articles.
Funny how things happen.
Bruce Hoag, PhD CPsychol AFBPsS