Back in February, we invited you to meet a few of our content screeners, the folks who keep the wheels turning around here as they review thousands of Guest Book entries every day. Today we’d like to introduce a few more of our dozens of content screeners. We interviewed Kirk, Angela and Crystal, and we’re sharing their thoughts with you today.
How long have you worked at Legacy.com?
Kirk F.: Just a little over five years.
Angela T.: I started in February 2008. So, it has been just over three and a half years. Time certainly does fly.
Crystal M.: I started in May 2011.
What are your memories of your first week or two on the job? What was it like? How did you feel about Guest Book screening?
Angela: I felt overwhelmed. I remember staring at the words as if they were a foreign language. I read each word with such care and detail. I then reread each sentence before I approved the message. I did not want to make a mistake and allow someone to post an entry that might make someone upset. I was extremely concerned that someone may write something that seemed innocent but could have been very upsetting to the family. I was also concerned that I would get extremely upset by reading entries from parents to their deceased children.
Kirk: Well, as a veteran of the Operations team I started when you used to have to come in for a while and work in the Evanston office before you could start working from home. So all I remember is a lot of food, pizza, doughnuts and cookies. No, really, it was pretty interesting, since you would meet the other screeners, and even though everyone was working hard you were able to chit chat a bit, which broke up the day a little. Also, if you had a question – which you certainly did the first weeks – you were able to go walk up to a supervisor and bother them with your inquiries, but they were cool about helping out. The screening did take getting used to, as it can be depressing at first, but you do adjust and do your best not to think too much about the subject, and you realize that the guest books help people out who are grieving.
How has that changed in the months/years since?
Crystal: I am now much more relaxed when I log on for work. During my first few shifts, I had expected to flag a much higher quantity of entries, but was (pleasantly) surprised to learn that a majority of entries are just fine – it is the rare post that is truly evil or offensive. I have also found that I handle the content quite well. There is the occasional post that touches me on a personal level, and when that happens, I try to take a quick break to regroup. I try to see the difficult entries as pieces of a puzzle, rather than trying to envision the entire life story behind them.
Angela: I find that when I read entries I am not second-guessing the meaning behind messages. I have read many not-so-nice entries since the first year of screening and found that when people are hurt they will come right out and say it. Many entries are straightforward and not sneaky or backhanded as I had feared. The majority of the messages are kind, loving and positive. Even though I continue to be careful while reviewing messages, I find I am more at ease and not so apprehensive.
What’s your favorite thing about working for Legacy.com?
Kirk: Definitely free pizza and doughnuts if you are at the office. Really, they treat part-time employees very well and make you feel like you are a valuable part of the company, which is appreciated.
Crystal: Two things stand out as reasons for why I enjoy working for Legacy. The first is the schedule – I am a mother to a feisty two-year-old, and I love that when I finish my work day, I’m already home! I can spend precious time with her instead of dealing with traffic. I’m also currently in graduate school, and my work schedule coordinates very nicely with my coursework. Secondly, I like feeling that I am playing a small part in helping others through the grieving process. By making sure that no hurtful content ends up on loved ones’ guest books, I am ensuring that losing a family member or friend does not need to be any more painful than it already is. I myself lost my mother several years ago, and can sympathize with the large range of emotions that come with death. I know how it felt to have others reach out to me during that dark time, and though I will never meet most guest book readers, I like knowing I’m helping to provide an extra layer of comfort.
What has surprised you about the job?
Angela: Two things… First, it has changed my perception on living. I have found that I don’t stress out about the little things. Life is way too short to be worried or upset about the little things. I try to live each moment to the best of my ability. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” has a more profound meaning now than before my job at Legacy.com. Second, I love reading books. I am amazed at how quickly I can read books now. You would think that after working and reading entries for hours, reading would be the last thing I want to do. But I read more now than I ever did.
Kirk: You learn about a lot of interesting people that you would never otherwise know anything about, especially while working with newspaper or funeral home obituaries. It’s hard not to read a few of them quickly as you work. I remember there was a female pilot who died not long ago in her nineties. She was one of the first female aviators in the country, around the same time as Amelia Earhart. She was flying all over the world and was still flying planes well into her eighties. So learning about people like that is very educational. Also people who did brave things in World War II and in other similar arenas.
If you could tell a brand-new Guest Book content screener one thing before they start working here, what would it be?
Crystal: Relax! The inappropriate entries are rare, and the touching stories are frequent.
Angela: You do have to have a little bit of a thick skin. You will read some very sad entries. I have cried reading entries. However, not all entries are discussing the profound sadness of the loss but rather the happiness that each person brought to another person’s life. I have found myself laughing at many stories as if I were there to have witnessed them first hand. At the end of the day, you will read a lot of very fun and loving messages that leave you with more smiles than tears.