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Climbing Mount Everest

This post was written by Steve Myerscough and first appeared on the Epic blog on 11th October 2013.

mount everestI recently read Bear Grylls’ book on climbing Everest – a good read. As I reflect on my time here at Epic (approaching two years) it occurs to me that being an Instructional Designer at Epic isn’t unlike climbing Everest. (As I’m writing this, I’m not sure how far I can stretch his analogy, but here goes!)

For me, Day 1 at Epic began in the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. Everything was new and busy and I didn’t understand a lot of what was going on. They seemed to speak a different language at times: SFLs and MCQs, Scopes and Solutions, Create and GoMo. But it wasn’t long before I was pointed in the direction of Base Camp and set on my way. In reality, climbing up to Base Camp, in the shadow of Everest, is an achievement in itself (one that a member of our team is hoping to achieve in the next few weeks). For me to reach Epic’s Instructional Design Base Camp I needed to achieve a few basic competencies. Fortunately, I had studied journalism at University and my background in writing and attention to detail helped me on my way.

As an Instructional Designer my first few weeks here were spent reading helpful resources, meeting various members of the Epic team, and sitting in on meetings and photo shoots to get a feel for what goes on. It wasn’t long before I was trusted with a course to script, with support from my ‘buddy’, or Sherpa  if you will. After three months of steady but enjoyable climbing, I reached Base Camp.

There wasn’t too much time to recuperate at 17,500 ft – I was out onto the ice flow again.

You might think that to scale Everest you set off from Base Camp and climb steadily upwards, stopping at each of the numbered camps on your ascent. In fact, as Bear Grylls explains in his book, to climb Everest you have to zig-zag up and down it many times, going higher on each ascent then descending to where you started. Nobody can climb Everest in one go – you must give your body time to acclimatise to the altitude. This is how I’ve climbed my way up my Epic Everest. I’ve been involved with complex projects, important meetings, tight deadlines, challenging clients and all sorts of different tasks. These days of uphill climbing have been interspersed with days of descent and acclimatisation, performing more basic but equally necessary tasks. Days at Base Camp or Camp 1, where once I struggled to cope, now seem far more manageable!

This is one of the things I enjoy about being an Instructional Designer at Epic, the feeling of being stretched and encouraged to go higher. Each day is different and can vary hugely. I might be writing a script, posing in a photoshoot, meeting clients, checking amends to an e-learning course, or doing something completely new.

I have got quite accustomed to this life on the mountain. And where am I now? Well I’m still a long way from the top, but from my vantage point I can give a hand to those down in Base Camp.

Putting the Everest analogy aside (phew), let me tell you a little bit about general life here at Epic. If you were to believe some of my friends, you might think that Epic gives me a free lunch every day and I spend my days lounging on bean bags. While I do my best to convince these friends that Epic is a serious, hard-working company, their impression of life at Epic is not entirely wrong:

Free lunches do happen thanks to Epic’s monthly ‘Epic Breakfast’ (more often than not actually an Epic lunch) and the occasional ‘Lunch and Learn’, where we share new innovations within the teams over tasty sandwiches.

(But we sit on very comfy office chairs, not bean bags.)

Despite explaining this to my friends, I’m still not sure they convinced I have a ‘proper’ job. Occasionally it doesn’t feel like it. Epic is a great place to work, thanks mainly to a great team of people. My time here has been both extremely challenging and rewarding – in two years I have learned so much, been involved in so many different projects and performed many different tasks and travelled the length and breadth of the country visiting clients. It’s been hard work but the climb has certainly been worth it.

Are you looking for a new challenge? Take a look at the opportunities that we are currently recruiting for on our careers page.