From parallel parking to proofreading – 44’s Editorial Assistant Katie Grace on why internal comms and driving have more than a little in common…
This past year’s included a lot of firsts for me. Two of the most exciting have been getting my first post-grad, adult job and then, just a few weeks ago, passing my driving test.
They were both big achievements to tick off the list and, very soon after passing my test, I realised there were lessons I could take from behind the wheel and into the office.
These three words were my gospel at any and every junction. I almost had them tattooed to my eyelids so I wouldn’t forget.
Why are they so important? Firstly, because it cuts the odds of someone going into the back of you, and secondly, because mirror, signal, manoeuvre is a process that works. And process is the key, whether you’re parallel parking or proofreading.
My job means I’m often juggling lots of tasks at once, from copy clearances to arranging photoshoots, writing briefs to editing copy. But process governs it all so everything we produce is the best it can be.
Communication is really important on the road – good or bad. Not indicating before you swap lanes could cause a crash. And if another driver has their full beams on by accident, a quick flash of your lights can give them the heads-up.
Think about this – if your colleague was struggling to meet a print deadline, or found new software that could improve ways of working – you’d want them to speak up. We apply this externally too, with regular, detailed client updates.
This was one of my favourite phrases when I first got behind the wheel, as for the first few weeks seeing the speedo flicker over 25mph gave me cold sweats.
When you’re driving, paying attention to the speed limit is obviously vital. If you speed down a residential road at 40mph, you can’t react fast enough to someone stepping out. We’ve all had days where we want to fly through our to-do list, but it’s important to give yourself time to do things properly.
And for those speed-lovers amongst you, I’d add that unduly slow progress can be just as dangerous. So if you’re aiming for efficiency, stick to those speed signs!
As the saying goes: “Experience is the most brutal of teachers but you learn, my God, do you learn.” Amen to that!
Driving lessons are like further education – they give you the basic skills to get behind the wheel, but the real learning comes after you’ve passed.
Having been in internal communications for a year, I know there’s no substitute for experience. There are parts of any job that you can only learn as you go. It might feel daunting at times, but your first solo drive or getting your hands on the first magazine you helped produce makes it all worthwhile.