With the ergonomically-designed chair swaddling my ass, and the Herman Miller walls protecting me from intruders, I know a professional environment doesn’t get any better (or look better) than this. That is, until I hear the sing-song tone of my boss over the partition. She wants something. I can feel it. No. I know
-ven?" the two syllables stretch as if they’re made of Lycra. She comes around the corner and stands near the edge of my desk.
"Yes?" I drop my pittance of duties - whatever the hell they are - turn my chair around and cringe internally. What does she want?
"I was wondering if you could do something for me."
"Sure," I smile. "That's my job." I'm nothing if not an ass-kisser.
"Well, C has been working on this newsletter for quite some time, and he needs a fresh pair of eyes to go over it." C is smart by not asking me directly and lets the boss do his dirty work. "Ask him for a copy of it when you have the chance..." She continues her tour of the office and her voice drifts off around another corner.
Since I have nothing real to do at the moment, I roll my chair to the next cubicle, which happens to be C’s.
"You heard the conversation, right? So, could you pass me a copy of the newsletter?"
"Oh yeah, just go over it to see if I missed anything," he says this as his index finger hovers over a couple of bullet points. "You know, like a bold or a highlight. Ok?" Although his words mean one thing, his thoughts scream, Don't you touch a fucking word
. He barely lets the paper go of his hands. No one messes with his Proustian work of literature.
"Uh huh." My open palm waits for him to pass the paper. Grudgingly, he lays it on my palm.
Rolling over to my desk, and clicking some lead out my pencil (not as cutting as a red pen, but still leaves gaping wounds), I begin.
Pardon my improper grammar, but it ain't good. As my eyes glance over the paper, I begin to worry. A lot
. But, instead of letting someone's insipidness of get a hold of my copy-editing skills, I decide to do what any intelligent person would do: make them
Large swipes of carbon sweep the page from left to right, up and down. Sentences are too long. Sentences make no sense. Misuse of semi-colons. No commas. No hyphens. Wrong choices of words. Lack of structure and flow... Should I even bother to go on? It's painful to read it, let alone write about it.
Who the fuck writes like this? You're not six. Hell, you're not even 16. You should know how to write a real sentence, by now. Christ. Aren't you pushing, like, 30
After I finish fighting one war, I begin another battle. He did ask for my help (and maybe knowledge), but he didn't expect the destruction and the bloodshed.
"Do you want to go over the newsletter?"
"Well, before I start, I have to ask you something…” I wait for his reaction. He seems worried. Perfect. “Do you want me to be nice, or honest?"
"I guess honest
?" Now he looks fearful.
"Ok. Just so you know, you asked for it..." This is going to be fun.
Placing the masterpiece - which looks like Picasso's Guernica
- on his desk, we take the next 20 minutes going through, line by line, the corrections. Since he's a nice guy, he takes it all in stride. But I know inside, he wishes he never handed me his work. Well, that, and he's plotting my violent demise.
“Do you have any questions? You know you can completely disregard everything I wrote down. Sometimes I get a little carried away.” No shit.
“Uh, yeah. Sure. I’ll take it into consideration.” Deep inside he knows he made mistakes. Fuck, they’re on the page in black and white (not to mention swirls of grey).
He must really hate me. Oh well.
The diagnosis of truth is that noboby likes a smart-ass. Especially one who is never wrong. Never
Never outsmart anyone you work with. Sure, some may be dumb as posts, others as useless as old people, but you still have to work with them. And no one, and I mean no one
, wants to work with someone who makes them feel inferior when they're near an impeccably and impossibly perfect person.