This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to join BYU’s STET: The Editor’s Network club on a tour of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media. We got to talk to their acquisitions editors, designers, copyeditors, digital marketers, salespeople – even walk through the warehouse! It was powerful hands-on experience. I love being in classrooms, and I love my office at the library, but the exposure to a company in my field of study was priceless.
In addition to being the workplace of extremely kind and dedicated employees, Cedar Fort is the largest independent LDS publisher. They bring LDS children’s books, scripture study aids, and more to people around the world. As the church expands worldwide, the need for LDS literature grows with it – and Cedar Fort is on the front lines.
This entire experience, from interacting with my amazing fellow editing students to walking through the publishing process, made me reflect on the amount of good we do with what we do. Much of the world would have us believe that the value of our existence depends upon how much money we make, how high we rise in the ranks of a company or organization – even how famous we become. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with making money, climbing the ladder, or being well-known in society – but that isn’t what defines us. At least, it isn’t what should define us.
What we have – education, money, prospects, promotions – isn’t nearly as important as what we do with it. The judgments of the world today rely too heavily on what and not enough on how. We are quick to ask “What kind of job could I get?” when considering degrees, but rarely consider “What could I do with this to make the world a better place?” It isn’t just a question of resourcefulness, though working with what you’re given often proves invaluable. It’s about finding the area of this world where you will be able to contribute the best you have to offer: your niche. Every niche has its benefits and its drawbacks, its highs and its lows; but every one of us has a niche (sometimes even two or more) and we operate better inside of it than out.
I feel very lucky that my niche is editing, and I feel even luckier to have Spanish, Hindi, web development, and digital marketing as my “sub-niches,” so to speak. The value of surrounding yourself with people just as passionate as you are about your niche is understated. Cedar Fort was an example to me of what happens when people with a common niche and “sub-niches” work together: unstoppable, powerful, beautiful good.