Where Environment, Business, and Journalism Meet

By Holly Hirst

Joan Miller say that lifestyle and work will cooperate with and complement each other when you’ve found the right job.

© 2018 Holly Hirst

Joan Miller is a sales representative who works at Waste Research & Reclamation (WRR). Joan studied Mass Communication at Winona State University.

I am a liberal studies major and my three main focuses of study are, Environmental Science, Business and Communications/Journalism. I spent 6 hours with Joan at her WRR office and learned that her and I have a lot in common. Joan’s current career intertwines all three aspects of my major.

Joan uses her communications and journalism skills to interview leaders in local businesses and report the facts back to her co-workers. Joan also meets with DNR, and federal representatives and reports highlights and quotes from her meetings. She also uses her pristine writing abilities to write letters, emails and newsletters for the company.

The care and love for the environment that Joan has applies to her job because of the business she works for. According to Joan, WRR takes in hazardous and toxic waste from several factories in the area. They then recycle that hazardous waste and turn it into a product that they can sell back to companies. Not only does this keep hazardous waste out of landfills, it also provides a second life for the products.

Joan’s title is Sales Representative which is a business focused title. Joan reads and assures compliance to state and federal regulations. Her daily tasks include many which are supported by her business experience. She reads, edits and files paperwork, all while setting up appointments with potential customers. Through experience, Joan has learned how to quickly identify codes and abbreviations used in the business and hazardous waste world.

Joan herself didn’t have and internship before her first job but, one of her biggest pieces of advice was to do at least one internship. Joan told me that while she was looking for a job right out of college many employers were looking individuals with some sort of experience or expertise in the field. Joan’s first job was with a big business where she wrote the newsletters for customers and distributors. After that, Joan temporarily retired to raise her children. After all of her birds flew from her nest, Joan began to work for WRR. 9 years later and Joan is still a dedicated employee of WRR.

Joan offered much more advise other than applying to internships. Joan explained to me how choosing a major doesn’t define your career path or future lifestyle. Joan, like me, struggled with choosing one major that leads to a semi-specific career path. Joan told me that whenever I find a job that I like, I should stick with it even if I don’t feel like my degree specifically prepared me for it. She advised me to give any job time, which will foster expertise and experience, before deciding whether it is a job I truly enjoy.