As I sat in a crowd of more than 40,000 people waving yellow glow sticks and donning red devil horns, everything seemed surreal.
The lightshow that followed would rival Disneyland's World of Color and only added to that dreamlike sense with a dazzling array of vibrant blues, greens and reds. The fact that I was in China on a business trip with 70 of my co-workers completed the feeling, except the moment was hardly a fantasy.
Alibaba.com, the parent company of the organization I work for, Auctiva, had flown us from California to Eastern China for the 10th anniversary of one of its biggest websites. Alibaba is one of the biggest e-commerce companies in the world, and it was celebrating the way it does most things: Bigger than life.
This wasn't your typical company party. It felt like a rock concert. The CEO even did a karaoke number, and I was thrilled to be there. That celebration took place in May and I remember it fondly.
As a former copy chief editor, news editor and writer for The Orion, I had always envisioned working for a newspaper covering breaking news. One day I hoped to spend time abroad as a foreign correspondent, though I hadn't thought much about exactly where.
I never thought I work for a tech company, but five years later, here I am and I love it.
I love the changing nature of technology. I learn something new every day—one of the things I always loved about reporting.
Today, the topics I learn about as Auctiva's content manager have to do with creating Web pages, site copy, social media posts, interacting with customers, the work that goes into introducing a new product for online sellers—that's the population Auctiva serves—and similar information.
I use the reporting, writing and communication skills I learned at The Orion every day. Those skills help me turn tech jargon into easy-to-understand words we can share with customers, they help our company connect with users, they help me run my team effectively and they help me stay calm in a constantly changing environment.
Even my knowledge of AP style has come into play at Auctiva. We use it on our websites in addition to our in-house style guide.
During my Orion days or time in Tehama Hall, I never thought I would see China as part of a tech company, let alone climb the Great Wall or take a bullet train, but I've done it.
I don't know where my life as part of a tech company will take me next. What I do know is that I'll be prepared. Chico State J&PR made sure of that years ago.