Updated: Apr 29, 2019
Working in the corporate sector may be a challenging adjustment for a writer, designer or creative, but embracing your company’s culture isn’t as hard as you think. Instead of worrying about stuffy dress codes and competitive co-workers, look inward and figure out what you can do to be a good corporate citizen while still retaining your individuality and staying inspired. Despite the stereotypes, you do not, in fact, have to drink the Kool-Aid — but you should strive to exercise intelligence, positivity and professionalism.
Familiarize Yourself with the Landscape
Learn the origin story and history of your company. What are its roots, how did it evolve, what were the goals of its founders and what is its vision today? For a writer, this will certainly help you shape narratives and better understand the business on a more intrinsic level.
Don't stop at the past history. What's shaping the company now are the leaders and their politics. It’s also wise to learn as much as you can about the current leadership team. This will not only give you a leg up in meetings and at the watercooler, but it’s just good practice to know who the people are that are contributing to the company now and its future.
Babel Fish Baby
That's right, as a creative in a tech world you are now responsible for translating creative ideas to structured tech brains AND translating tech concepts into creative ideas that regular folk (like your customers) can understand and relate to.
Right & Left Brain
In order to survive in a tech environment you will have to engage both your left and right brain.
Your right brain is your pay check. It's what you were hired to do.
But your left brain is what is going to keep your job. Adapting some left brain habits will save your bacon. Find some online tools to manage your tasks, your time and your process. Your desk may be a hot mess but if you show up on time and deliver great stuff on time your work life won't be a hot mess too.
Tip from Jennifer Flaa, CEO of Vettanna (musician, author and engineer):
"It helps me to group structured tasks and do them first (or on their own day). For example, I just can't play music and then go read a contract or review corporate reports or financials. I've got to do the dry, boring stuff first, take a break and then do the "fun" stuff."
Happy Hour, Anyone?
Make it a point to connect and build good relationships with colleagues in your department, and in other departments that relate to your field of work. These are the people that you can go to for help when you need it, and feel comfortable doing so — and vice versa.
Creating a solid network of office buddies makes your daily routine more fun and affords you more opportunity for collaboration, advancement and team building. You’ll also find that as a creative, you’ll be a source of fun curiosity for the more corporately-inclined — embrace your inner unicorn!
Healthy, happy work relationships help both companies and careers thrive.
Keep Your Writing Crystal Clear
To avoid passive aggressive (or just plain aggressive) incidents in the workplace, it’s usually as simple as preventing miscommunications before they start.
When tasked with a project, don’t be afraid to assertively gather all the information you need, even if it means pressing your supervisor a bit.
Techies and executives may need some thoughtful prompting to get what you need, so keep asking questions if you need to — your work will definitely be better for it.
Additionally, be sure to read all digital communications with your full focus, then read them again to make sure you’re completely clear on the task.
Your co-workers will thank you when your first draft hits the mark — and you’ll avoid any condescending “per my last e-mail” exchanges.
Nurturing The Soul of Your Creativity
Sitting at a desk under fluorescent lighting while getting screen burn can suck the life out of your creativity.
There are a few simple things you can do:
Take a walk
Find an empty conference room and get a little alone time/quiet time
Use your favorite images as desktop backgrounds and screen savers
Keep your favorite things on your desk. (Check out Penelope from the TV show Criminal Minds).
Beauty, art and music often feed the creatives soul. Bring it!
What are the things that get your creative juices flowing?
Creative Images purchased from Shutterstock.com
Collaborating image courtesy of: By коворкинг-пространство Зона действия (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons