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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A Very Monday-like Monday

This morning started out great.

When my feet hit the floor, there were no fleas biting at my ankles. Victory! Better yet, I got out the door on time, found a great parking spot and even caught the elevator door in the parking garage just before it closed. It’s the little things in life that truly set the tone for the day.

Unfortunately, when I stepped into the elevator, it was full of eight men and one woman, the latter of whom immediately started hissing at me. I quickly glanced at her, startled, and heard her say something about my blouse.

It’s actually one of my mom’s old blouses from the ’80s, and I love it – maroon with tiny cream pinstripes and peasant sleeves. I never had a sister to share clothes with, so it’s been fun going through my mom’s old professional wardrobe and picking out pieces that are coming back into fashion.

“Thanks,” I said, smiling over at the elevator lady, thinking she’d complimented me on my “new” blouse. Instead of smiling back at me, her eyes grew wide and frenzied. She hissed at me some more, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying. It sounded like she was going hoarse or had laryngitis. She kept prattling on about my blouse.

“Yes, it kind of matches your scarf,”  I spoke slowly and gently to this obviously unstable, socially awkward woman as I took a step backward, away from her crazed look and incessant hissing. Suddenly she spoke in a normal voice, and I realized she had been trying to whisper at me. “Your blouse is undone.” Oh. I glanced down and, sure enough, a rather importantly-located button was unclasped with the beautiful blouse gaping open and displaying some rather lovely lace (and more) for all to see.

I buttoned up (literally and figuratively) as the elevator doors opened, and I hurried to my cubicle. As I plopped down in my swivel chair, I realized that I had forgotten to apply deodorant this morning. Fortunately, I keep a spare stick in my desk drawer for just such an occasion, so I got it out, proud of myself for salvaging the day. But when I pulled off the cap, two things happened simultaneously: 1. an attractive coworker, Kyle, stepped into my cubicle, and 2. the stick of deodorant flew out of the tube and landed with a thump at Kyle’s feet.

Awesomely awkwardKyle and I are no strangers to joint awkwardness-coupled-with-hilarity. A couple of years ago, we traveled together to New Orleans on a business trip, and the hotel fire alarm went off at 2:00 a.m. As per fire safety instructions, we each evacuated our separate rooms and made our way to the hotel lobby. Unfortunately for Kyle, he was so disoriented when he woke up that he forgot to grab his room key. Or, you know, put on any pants. So I walked into the hotel lobby to find my very single, very muscular coworker standing barefoot and shirtless in little black boxer briefs. Some people were irritated to have been woken up at 2:00 a.m. for nothing. I can’t say I was among those who were complaining.

So when I unintentionally assaulted Kyle with my flying deodorant this morning, he looked down at the white mass at his feet; then looked up at me and said simply, “So it’s going to be one of those days, huh?”

And we laughed.

Authentically Aurora