Jon Suggs, Professionally

If you’re looking for a resume, you can find mine on LinkedIn.

A portfolio of my professional writing samples is available here.

This website is the space where I write whatever I want, but I also (usually) have a day job. Of the various jobs I’ve held, nearly all have related in some way back to my ability as a writer, with some related forays using other creative skills.

The basis of my career path was set when I chose to major in English. At the time, Valdosta State University offered an English degree path for professional writers. Unlike a more traditional English degree, where the coursework largely focuses on literature, my degree tract required the study of a diverse set of writing styles, including classic academic writing, journalism, technical writing, and creative writing (fiction and poetry).

Upon graduation I quickly surmised no one was willing to offer me a living wage for stories or poetry. I was not overly fond of technical writing, and academic writing was really only useful to those who wanted to pursue higher degrees, which I … did not.

Left with journalism to pay the bills, I caught on at my hometown daily, the Americus Times-Recorder. I was a general assignment reporter, meaning I covered whatever the town had to throw at me — fires, festivals, elections, education, arrests, politics, etc. After proving myself, I was offered the chance to write as a columnist, and that became my favorite part of the job, being an opportunity to write more or less wherever my mind wandered. (It was a lot like this website, only strictly 500-600 words on a weekly deadline.) I was fortunate to have my column run in the Sunday edition, the most-read paper of the week.

Soon thereafter I joined the staff of the Houston Home Journal, another daily located in nearby Perry. This time, although still a general assignment reporter, my work was more focused on government, military affairs, and health care. A columnist slot was part of the gig, and I lucked out again landing a spot in the Sunday edition.

It hurt me to leave the great friends I’d made at the HHJ, but an opportunity came along that I couldn’t pass up. Seems the ATR was in need of a news editor to handle its layout and design. Since I’d picked up some of those skills, I applied and was accepted back into my old newsroom. Design rather suited me. Partly I loved the puzzle-filling aspect of making the day’s news fit the paper’s space every day, and partly I dug the associated night owl hours. Also? I loved getting to write headlines, and I was only occasionally called to task for outrageous punning.

A funny thing happened during my second stint at the ATR. I met the love of my life. So, when she took a job transfer to Atlanta, I did not hesitate to relocate with her.

Looking around, journalism jobs were disappearing faster than guests at a cash bar wedding reception, so I decided to take a swing from the other side of the plate and enter the realm of public relations.

I was hired by the Georgia Department of Veterans Service, and that’s where I spent the next decade, eventually being promoted to lead the PR/communications team. I am not a veteran, but both my father and older sister served in the U.S. Army. Working at the GDVS made me feel closer to both of them, and helped me feel like I had closed that gap of service in my life.

From there, I spent two years with the Office of Digital Services in the Georgia Technology Authority. That’s the team that hosts and supports 80-something state agency websites. I was hired primarily to write for the GeorgiaGov homepage and associated social media sites, but I also did a lot of general support work for the aforementioned 80-something agency sites.

These days I’m freelance, but I am keeping my eyes open for an opportunity to apply my creative skills working for a company I admire.

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