Professional Panties in a Twist

dilbert-buzzword-bingoWorking for a large company has taught me to expect all corporate communication to go something like this: “Blah, blah, blah… [jargon]…. [buzzword]… blah, blah, blah.”

So when I was recently tasked with heading up departmental communication (apparently I have a way with words or something), I decided to take a big risk and completely revamp our corporate communication style.

Our previous monthly email out to internal staff was the typical multi-paragraphed mumbo-jumbo of fluff talk that no one bothers to read:

Corporate Messaging

So this month, I added a bunch of visuals. Not just visuals, but departmental memes. Because I am young. And hip. And hilarious. And awesome.

We have a system called SQS that was recently rolled out and is now mandatory for all staff. Instead of just saying that (because… #snoozefest), I utilized the infamous LOTR meme:

Game of Thrones meme

And for the roll out of our new SharePoint site (internal document sharing site), I called in Willy Wonka:

Willy Wonka meme

I also used both the Morpheus meme and Keep Calm meme for other portions of the staff communication. Of course, I included all of the typical buzzwords and departmental jargon, but my hope was that people might actually laugh, enjoy reading the monthly email or, at worst, be momentarily broken out of their desktop daze and the mesmerism of monotony.

As expected, I took major heat for going off the beaten path and doing something new, unique, fun and different. Heaven forbid we use visuals – or color – or humor! in our internal staff communications! How unprofessional!

Actual comments I got back:

“I like the icons but perhaps too many humorous ones for the first publication… but may be a generational thing.” I like the all black, completely visuals-free snore of a monthly newsletter we usually send out – oh wait. No I don’t. Must be a generational thing.

“I personally don’t understand pic.” I personally don’t understand your failure to appropriately use articles in your sentences. 

“Are we in fifth grade?” No, but some of us believe in embracing our inner child and actually trying to have some semblance of fun at work. Since, you know, we spend a third of our lives here.

Fortunately, a few people appreciated my efforts:

“It actually made me read the note, which is a huge plus.”

“That’s awesome. I’d read any staff communication with ‘Matrix’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ references!”

“Good note!” — This from our new General Manager. Score!

“Departmental Memes… love it!”

Kyle, of the fire alarm story, comforted me with this when I got my feelings hurt about never fitting the mold at this company: “It was a good try. It’s always tough to make modern changes with an oil company. Don’t let it discourage you. You made at least one coworker laugh!”

Thanks, Kyle. At least someone appreciates my creativity and sense of humor here!

Authentically Aurora

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10 thoughts on “Professional Panties in a Twist

  1. This is fantastic! I’m giving a training this Friday on internal processes. I am SO going to bust out some memes. Thankfully, one of our Corporate values is actually having a playful spirit, so I may actually get more positive than negative feedback. Thanks for the idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If I were ever to train anyone on anything, this is the way I would hope to do it. The stats geeks (like you, even though you millions of creative abilities) would be upset that the content wasn’t enough for them, but who cares, especially when your boss liked it. I remember in college when we were asked to present as a group some really boring material to our class, I decided that our group should present it as a newscast and most of them didn’t want to do it, but I insisted and we did and it was the best presentation of the class as no one else did anything different but spit out facts to the class. I remember even putting my resume as a newsletter once, because I was trying to sell myself to an ad agency and I just got so tired of the same old resume. Anyways, rambling. Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Process Training Twist | semper fidelis

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