Stay in Your Lane: A Workplace Mantra
By: Jess Moore
‘Stay in your lane’ - most commonly associated with minding your own business. When I entered my first internship at an advertising agency last summer, I did not expect I would encounter this phrase. Yet, it was the phrase that lifted me up on my bad days, encouraged me on my good days and most importantly - helped me understand where I belonged in the workplace.
Not everyone received the same pep-talk upon entering the agency as I did. My mentor was a one-of-a-kind guy who had a widened view of how the agency, Bernstein-Rein, operated. He was once in my position a few years prior, and saw everyone’s positions as individual, yet interconnected. He explained to me that as the digital content creator intern, my job was to be the specialist for all things digital. In this position I wasn’t a writer - although I loved to write - and I wasn’t the creative director - even though I loved to come up with concepts.
“But - why? If I have good skills and knowledge in the area, why can’t I help with those things?” I asked.
“You may be good,” he said, “But you’re not the best. Our copywriter - he’s the best. And we hired you for digital content creation because you’re the best at videography and photography.”
Was my confidence about being an amazing writer shot? It was for a moment, but then a calmness came over me; I realized my purpose. My lane for the summer was doing digital content creation. If I stayed in it while collaborating with the other interns, I would be able to make strides in my skills.
To lift me up: Stay in your lane. The lane you’re in is special. Only you have the power to focus on it and advance along this path.
To encourage me: Stay in your lane. You’re killing it! Keep trying new things and proving people wrong.
To keep me grounded: Stay in your lane. It’s not your time to shine now. Let the other interns expand upon an idea and do what they were hired to do.
I learned a lot of technical skills last summer, but what I learned about myself in the workplace exceeded that. Now, as a multimedia team member of Jacht, I often find myself giving the same spiel to my co-Jachters that I was given. It’s not always easy figuring out what your role is and how it functions within the workplace, but once you do, you will be amazed at what you are capable of accomplishing.