20 signs you work in corporate communications

Which sound familiar? What’s missing? Weigh in now.


Here are 20 signs you work in corporate communications.

1. You send your friends’ emails back to them with the jargon highlighted (and they’re used to it).

2. You have a gray streak in your hair as a result of trying to explain that allowing employees to comment on intranet content will not result in the apocalypse.

3. You have the corporate lawyers on speed dial but you relegate their emails to the (oops!) trash folder.

4. You know that “creative” and “likely to get approved” are mutually exclusive.

5. You spend time surfing iStockphoto yearning for a budget so you don’t have to use horrible photos of wooden people standing in a row in your publications.

6. You understand that “executive communication” is an oxymoron.

7. You regularly interrupt strangers on the bus to correct their grammar.

8. Related: You carry Wite-Out to remove superfluous apostrophes on storefront signs.

9. You become catatonic upon hearing the word “approvals.”

10. You’ve been known to fake a stroke to convince a client group that a flashing red banner on the intranet is a bad idea.

11. You’ve learned the hard way not to suggest something you don’t want to do when asked for ideas on promoting a corporate program.

12. You keep your well-worn copy of communications protocols and turnaround times, even though you know trying to get people to stick to it is futile.

13. You happily trot out website “hits” because it’s easier than trying to explain why that’s not a valid method of measurement.

14. You’ve lied and said your CEO’s latest website idea isn’t technically possible because you think it’s dumb.

15. You’re comfortable doing one last edit on the latest corporate story, because you know that illiterate exec won’t notice you’ve fixed the sentence structure he “corrected.”

16. You include babies and birthdays in the newsletter because the boss wants you to, but you certainly don’t include it on your résumé as part of your regular responsibilities.

17. You know exactly who to go to in the organization when you want the real scoop.

18. You also know who in IT to talk to when you need something done quickly and can’t afford to get bogged down in the Request for Service process.

19. Against your better judgment, you’ve described a social intranet as “Facebook for the enterprise,” because you know it will make sense to tech-challenged higher-ups.

20. You keep a secret “Wall of Shame” folder containing the worst requests (“Can you do me up a brochure?”) and dumbest comments you’ve received (“The birds in the picture on the homepage appear to be having sex and I think that’s highly inappropriate”), along with a horrible PDF of something that should never be formatted as a PDF.*

*All real examples, sadly.

That’s 20, and that’s just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg. What would you add?

[Related: The biggest misconception about communicators? Anyone can do their job]

Robin Farr is the communications manager for WestJet Airlines, one of Canada’s most admired companies and a recent inductee into the Corporate Culture Hall of Fame. She recently moved to Alberta from British Columbia and so far likes shoveling snow better than dodging raindrops. Robin can be reached at robinfarr2012@gmail.com.

This article first appeared on Ragan.com in December 2011.

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