Humorless Professional Writing (aka Business Writing)

Are there classes that teach humorless professional writing?

Because apparently if you spend too many years with the freedom to entertain yourself in your emails, you lose the ability to craft actual professional writing.

I’ve had a couple of people. Not many. But just not even a handful of people. Ask me why I haven’t blogged much lately.

More importantly. I’ve been trying to figure that out for myself.

(Not more importantly. We all know that outside approval is more important to me than my own internal satisfaction. But sometimes I like to pretend I’m an emotionally healthy woman.)

Anyway, I figured it out.

And then the next day, GBFF…WHTBS sent me this.

Business Writing

#5 and #2. Those are my issues.

So, when I worked in public education, I used humor. A lot.

Like, I would craft emails designed not just to inform, but to entertain. And I could write them fairly quickly. With very few unintentional errors.

Every now and then, Confections Queen would let me write the names on the call out board. Where I could use my creative freedoms utilizing borderline not quite totally inappropriate humor.

I enjoyed it. Some of my co-workers said they enjoyed it. A few people asked me to do it more.

It was nice.

But now I work for a publicly-traded international technology company.

I work for the Chief of Staff. Which…sounds all West Wing-y and shit. Like, super important. And professional.

I craft communications on behalf of the COO.

I have to be “professional.

When I screw something up. Which I do…a lot…because publicly traded international technology companies are complex. I’m not allowed to call myself out. I can’t be funny about it.

My self-deprecating humor. My greatest strength. Has been taken from me.

So, I sit there every Monday. When I’m required to forward an email from Marketing to the heads of my org’s departments. An email that starts with “Hello everyone.” I sit there every Monday morning trying to create a better salutation than “Hello everyone.”

And every Monday, the best I can come up with is…”Hello everyone.”

If I were in public education still, I’d start with “Hey y’all!” or “My dearest people” or “It’s Monday. Time for me to forward the same exact email I forward every Monday. And I can’t think of anything better than Hello everyone, so here. Just read it.”

Now the best I can do is, “Hello everyone.”

I don’t even use a closer anymore. Just let my signature block speak for itself.

And the proofreading from the sent box? Yeah. That is when I do my best proofreading now. After emails are sent. Newsletters are published. Websites are live.

The problem is, I’ve always thought I was a good writer.

Until now. Until I was forced back into professional writing. Humorless professional writing.

I used to be able to professional write.

And then my boss at the insurance company I worked for a lot of years ago let me write the team meeting notes to send out to everyone. And…I was suddenly no longer able to assemble an intelligent thought that didn’t contain some level of humor. That was almost 20 years ago.

So now that I have to switch back to humorless professional writing, I no longer remember how.

And my brain is so scrambled from digging through boxes trying to find this skill that I once had that now I’ve lost my ability to even write with humor. I’ve lost my humorful writing.

Now that shit is just buried underneath all of the boxes my brain has thrown around. And it still hasn’t found the humorless writing. And…

So, I guess I have to recreate that skill all over again. Start practicing my humorless professional writing.

And about the time I manage to do that. My brain will probably have found the box the original skill was buried in.

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