Linguistics Misunderstood

I often talk about how we linguists expect misunderstanding, and I think this is especially true when it comes to what we can expect people to know about our field.

When we can approach the question “what’s linguistics?” as an opportunity to explain, the result can be something wonderful – as this excellent blog post that I just came across, written by Elise N. an MIT linguist!

I welcome your thoughts!!

Being more effective at work

Face-to-face conversations are vital for providing strong leadership, working in teams, and managing workplace conflicts. But navigating critical conversations effectively is a skill that must be learned and developed through practice and experience.

Join us on Saturday, September 28th for a fun and interactive workshop at Stanford Continuing Studies

In this workshop, we will begin by discussing the Second Science Project—a collaborative effort between the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and The Second City to discover how the principles of improvisation can enhance workplace conversations, collaborations, and performance. We will also discuss research-based insights into communication, such as why face-to-face requests are thirty-four times more successful than email, why perspective-taking is a more effective tool for managing conflict than avoidance or even accommodation, and how to initiate what researchers call “repair” when conversations break down—e.g., when a joke backfires. Students will learn tips for applying these and other research-based insights to common workplace situations where strong conversational skills are essential, such as team meetings, prospecting, networking, and negotiations.

We will focus on “learning by doing” in a safe and supportive environment, joining in a mix of games and activities designed to help us internalize conversational best practices, strengthen collaboration and active-listening skills, and improve our ability to remain authentic, engaged, and assertive even in the midst of challenging conversations.

No improv or performance experience is required.

Criscillia Benford, Narrative Architect, Criscillia Benford Architecture

Criscillia’s company trains people to find, design, and tell stories that resonate with self and others. She has also taught literature and humanities courses at the University of Chicago, Duke, and Stanford. She received a PhD from Stanford.

Anna Marie Trester, Founder, Career Linguist

Anna Marie has performed onstage as an improviser and storyteller, and has taught courses in improvisation at Washington Improv Theater, storytelling at Better Said Than Done, and linguistics at Georgetown, Howard, and SF State. She is the author of Bringing Linguistics to Work and co-editor with Deborah Tannen of Discourse 2.0: Language and New Media. She received a PhD from Georgetown.

Career Camp is starting in Sept

Career Camp is five weeks of focused activities and structured feedback on the stories used in career interactions. Weekly activities focus on bringing a linguistic lens to the stories which comprise the texts and interactions surrounding the job search so that you have a resume that blows their SOQs off, cover letters that speak to why THEY need you, and pocket examples that show you @ work!

Break down the process of career exploration into small, manageable pieces and make progress as part of a community by bringing linguistic ways of listening to stories and what they do in career contexts.

To sign up put Career Camp into your basket on my booking page here

Want to know more? Read all about it on Career Linguist

Questions? Contact Career Linguist

Attend a Career Camp Information Session

Interested in a career in program evaluation?

Join us over on the CL Mighty Network for a conversation with Julie Solomon, Founder and Principal of J. Solomon Consulting, LLC,

Monday, August 12th 1-2pm PDT / 4-5 EDT

Julie Solomon

You must be a member of the Mighty to attend, but you can join the Mighty for a month for free at any time at:

To read more about Julie’s work, check out the profile we did about Julie right here on Career Linguist just a few years ago in the professional paths for linguists series.

Her work involves mixed-method (quantitative/qualitative) program evaluation and applied research as well as program planning and evaluation consultation and training services to non-profit organizations, government agencies, coalitions, and grantmakers. Her principal topical areas of focus have included youth sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and development of the health care workforce. She works both in the U.S. and internationally, and has conducted evaluation study fieldwork in Belize, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and Panama in the past several years.

job: Trust & Community Manager @ Next Door (San Francisco)

Product Manager, Trust & Community

Note “curiosity for sociology, anthropology, and psychology and deep empathy for our community”


Nextdoor empowers neighbors to build stronger communities. We bring neighbors, businesses, and other community members closer together across the globe.

The team is looking for a Product Manager to lead Community Health who is passionate about bringing neighborhoods online and deepening Nextdoor’s impact within communities. You will lead a team across engineering, design, operations, data science, and marketing to envision and execute on strategies to strengthen the bonds within communities.

Robert Putnam’s “Bowling Alone” warned us of the trend of Americans becoming isolated from one another. He writes about how social institutions in our communities, such as the PTA or church, have been devastated. Today, one-third of people say they don’t know any of their neighbors by name. The Community team will be responsible for bringing the best of neighborhoods online, including setting the vision for identity, social roles and norms, and online and offline member engagement.

This role requires a high degree of entrepreneurial spirit and an ability to get things done. The ideal candidate will couple deep intellectual capacity and analytical rigor with a curiosity for sociology, anthropology, and psychology and deep empathy for our community. We’re looking for neighbors who are passionate about advocating on behalf of members, demonstrate a high degree of product ownership, and looking to join a team with a clear mission and purpose.


  • Lead the design, launch, and ongoing ownership of new products and features.
  • Create an inspiring vision for Nextdoor communities and drive alignment around priorities.
  • Define the right metrics to inform the success and direction of product development.
  • Advocate for members by integrating qualitative field research in the US and abroad alongside quantitative analysis into the product roadmap.
  • Challenge all members of cross-functional team and then funnel that energy into the product roadmap and execution.
  • Evangelize the Nextdoor mission of using technology to build stronger, safer neighborhoods, and effectively release world-class products that grow and improve the Nextdoor platform.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience delivering several successful and innovative products.
  • Customer obsession. Ability to connect deeply with many different socio-economic, geographic, and community groups, as well as drive clarity and consensus across complex problems by putting the customer first. Deep passion for building communities, both online or offline.
  • Excellent communicator. Can lead from the front or from behind when motivating a team.
  • Structured, systems-level thinker. Superpower around processing and synthesizing large amounts of information in order to get to the right solution. Demonstrated ability to think at a systems level and capacity to strike a balance between short-term optimizations vs. long-term product vision.
  • Intellectual horsepower and analytical rigor. Find how to get the data you need and create actionable insights. Equally comfortable with qualitative studies and quantitative analysis.
  • Bias for action. Can to juggle multiple priorities and create a sense of urgency.
  • Previous experience in the social networking space or developing social products/technologies/platforms is a plus.


  • 100% company-paid health insurance premiums (medical, dental, and vision) for you and your dependents
  • Paid vacation and company holidays
  • Free catered dinners Monday through Thursday and catered lunch on Wednesdays
  • Monthly gym stipend
  • One time cell phone & headphone stipend
  • Annual learning and development stipend
  • Two paid volunteer days off
  • Pre-tax commuter benefits
  • Fully stocked kitchen with drinks, snacks and candy
  • La Marzocco espresso machine with Blue Bottle coffee
  • Health FSA
  • 401K plan

young professional researchers – apply for this grant to attend QRCA

The Young Professional Grant (YPG) celebrates the next great generation of young quallies!

This program was created in 2014 to help advance young qualitative researchers’ careers via access to networking and educational sessions at the QRCA’s Annual Conference. Since 2014, we have awarded 68 ambitious qualitative researchers that are making a difference in the world this valuable opportunity.

Grants cover all conference registration fees, a USD $1,300 value, plus a one-year QRCA membership, a USD $175 value, and are awarded to up-and-coming young adults aged 35 years and younger.

In case you don’t know us yet, the QRCA is a not-for-profit association of researchers involved in designing and implementing qualitative research, consisting of moderators, ethnographers, consumer experience specialists, online qualitative professionals, social media experts, branding and strategy authorities and more.

Every year, the QRCA convenes at an exciting location to hear the latest and greatest in qualitative innovation, while meeting others and forming invaluable partnerships. We like to think of the qualitative world as one big yet small happy family – the connections coming out of these conferences are unparalleled.

QRCA’s 2020 Conference will be held in Austin, TX from January 29-31.



job: user experience research – Comcast

2019 User Experience Researcher, Contract


Position:                      User Researcher

Comcast Technology, Product & Experience


Location:                     Philadelphia, PA; Comcast Technology Center


Reports to:                  Sr. Manager, User Research



Comcast is looking for an enthusiastic User (UX) Researcher to support our highly respected internal user research practice. This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a well-respected and collaborative in-house User Research team, translating insights to highly engaged and motivated stakeholders within a major corporation while working on products and services that impact millions of customers.


The User Research team employs a variety of techniques including concept and usability testing in our in-house labs, field research in customers’ homes, remote testing, surveys, industry research reviews and more to gather data and develop insights critical to improving our customers’ experience with our products. We work closely with experience design, product, business and engineering teams to identify opportunities for research. Our work touches multiple platforms including digital interfaces (online, mobile and TV), print artifacts, industrial design, packaging and service design initiatives.




User Research Facilitation and Synthesis (90%)

  • Collaborate in the design of research studies that span the product lifecycle from discovery to usability; draft and present research plans.
  • Lead and/or participate in primary research studies with customers including:
    • Discussion guide development, participant recruitment, and preparation of testing materials and prototypes by other teams.
    • Moderate and observe studies in our in-house user research labs and in the field to gain first-hand knowledge of user behaviors.
    • Analyze findings and synthesize findings with past relevant research, market research and other secondary sources to strengthen and reinforce the output of studies.
    • Translate research insights into actionable recommendations and direction.
  • Perform activities such as heuristic reviews, industry and market research summaries and competitive reviews.
  • Deliver data and insights from all activities and studies in presentations and readouts.
  • Contribute to development of UX models and frameworks based on direct user evidence.
  • Encourage members of design, business, and product teams to be involved as partners in studies to gain first-hand knowledge of user behaviors, mental models and needs.


Research Practice Development (10%)

  • Contribute to a team toolkit of research methods, techniques and publications that showcase subject matter expertise.
  • Assist in continuous development and optimization of research team processes, materials and equipment.
  • Maintain currency with the UX research field; share industry knowledge and best practices.
  • Ensure a positive, collaborative cross-functional team atmosphere.



  • Degree in Psychology, Anthropology, Human-Computer Interaction, Interaction Design, Digital Media, Human Factors, Cognitive Science related discipline or equivalent experience. Masters degree a plus.
  • 1–3 years experience planning, conducting, analyzing and reporting on user studies for discovery and evaluation; comfortable facilitating interviews.
  • Familiarity with a range of user research methods used to gather qualitative and quantitative data (contextual interviews, formative and summative usability testing, focus groups, diary studies, card sorting, survey development, secondary research analysis, competitive analysis, etc.)
  • Experience using remote usability tools such as or UserZoom is a plus.
  • Familiarity testing with prototypes (rough drafts and sketches, paper prototypes, working prototypes) and live builds. Experience with rapid, iterative prototype testing is a plus.
  • Deep understanding of heuristics for user interfaces and experience conducting heuristic evaluations.
  • Analytical problem-solving skills, outstanding writing and presentation skills; comfortable presenting to a group.
  • Experience with MORAE, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office; experience with rendering and editing video a plus.
  • Ability to organize and prioritize while working on multiple, simultaneous projects of varied size and complexity.
  • Desire to continually stay current with technology, trends, tools and industry standards in UX, usability and user research.
  • Experience in Information Architecture a plus.
  • Experience in customer-facing digital media projects a plus.
  • Experience and/or passion for smart home, IoT a plus.



Some travel will be required for field research as needed.


This is a contract position.

job: Consultant, Customer Strategy and Experience – CSpace

Job description

Are you driven to help the biggest brands in the world become more customer-centric? Are you looking for a way to blend your passion for data analysis, research, and innovation? Do you want to hone your skills and experience by tackling cross-functional business challenges within Fortune 500 client organizations? If you answered yes to these questions, then you might be who we’re looking for. The Customer Strategy and Experience team at C Space is looking for someone who is passionate about solving business problems from the customer perspective, and who thrives in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial setting.

The Customer Strategy and Experience team at C Space is dedicated to helping solve business challenges and improving customer experiences by building the customer perspective into the way brands function. Members of our team have all different backgrounds: strategists, innovation experts, digital experience designers, analysts, ethnographers, and more.

What You’ll Do

  • Support strategy consulting projects by:
    • Conducting qualitative and quantitative customer research and data analysis
    • Contributing to a variety of cross-disciplinary methods, including experience mapping, innovation workshops, in-depth customer ethnographies, and more
    • Blending customer insights, category trends, and a client’s business strategy to drive results
  • Assist with sales and solution development, including pricing, for strategy engagements
  • Contribute to the development of best practices, pushing the limits not just in what we do, but how we do it
  • Mentor and inspire junior team members