The way I 'fell' into my communication career
“I sort of fell.”
“Six hundred and thirty feet?”
– Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief
Well, that’s one way to get into Communications.
You’ll probably have heard many people in multiple industries, including Communications, give similar stories, that they unintentionally fell into their career. It wasn’t their original destination, but somehow, they ended up there and decided to stay.
I have a similar tale.
I knew I loved writing; I’d written stories, poetry, and articles since I was a young teenager. What I didn’t know was which career to follow that incorporated writing once I’d grown up.
Should I become a journalist? Be an author? Work in PR?
Well, this is what I did.
First up, journalist internship at Glasgow High Court. Now that was a great experience.
Due to my age (I was a teenager) my mentor wouldn’t permit me into some of the most sensitive cases, but I had an amazing experience covering serious criminal cases including drug smuggling, drug dealing, murder, and manslaughter. It’s not every day you witness someone given a life sentence.
What really made the whole experience special was seeing the efforts of my hard work feature in regional newspapers, I even managed to get a by-line.
I utterly enjoyed this but wanted to try other forms of writing.
This brought me to my next couple of internships in Public Relations.
This was a whole different kettle of fish.
This wasn’t just about writing articles anymore, there was so much more to it. This involved activities, including coaching clients in how to speak to the media and presenting a certain tone, perception, and story to the public.
These experiences gave me a taste of how communication could impact people. How what I wrote could change perspectives and persuade people’s views.
My next move was into a Marketing internship.
This is where my ‘fall’ happened.
I had the opportunity to intern with the Recruitment Marketing team at Accenture. About six months in I received a call from my manager asking me to cover some work in a different department and different team while someone was on annual leave.
My move happened overnight. Suddenly I was out of Marketing and in the Internal Communications team in the Financial Services department at Accenture.
I loved it!
I could learn all about what was happening within the department. Learn about key decisions, understand the department’s direction, learn how to guide people towards meeting the organisations strategic priorities.
It was invigorating.
Internal Communications didn’t just seem to cover writing, it was bigger than that. It was much more than writing a newsletter. I learned skills relating to coaching and training, change management, project management, and HR. There was so much packed into this role.
This is what I wanted to do. I could write, I could listen, I could advise, I could engage and advocate. I could learn.
Knowing my place
Once I’d entered the world of Internal Communications, I knew I wanted to stay. It’s a powerful experience, knowing you can shape a culture, change perceptions, guide people through transformation, persuade people to try something new and get people to sign up to something.
Not everyone is lucky enough to find something they love to do and can do it as their career. I guess I got lucky.
Well, that’s my story. That’s how I entered Communications. It’s been a roller coaster with hopefully a lot more twists and turns to come.
I could tell you about how I started my own communication consultancy, but that’s another story.
What’s your story? Did you choose Internal Communications? How did you start your career?
Did you ‘fall’ or was it planned?