Stupid tasks, flip side

Subject: Stupid tasks, flip side
From: "Alex Silbajoris" <alsilba -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 12:45:18

While sometimes I have been asked to do something out of my job's scope, I also find people wandering into activities I am best qualified to handle. For example, yesterday my manager showed me some overheads he had prepared in Word, representing on-screen information on some handheld units we use. They looked nice. A few minutes ago I opened the document in Word, and out of curiosity, I clicked the show/hide button. Shreik of horror. I haven't seen so many little tabs since ... since the scripts from the QA group, which have a tab set on every hash mark on the ruler. (Change a sentence and see what happens to the indent...)

While coffee-making is seen as menial by some, others see "wordsmithing" as something anyone can do. The results can be equally palatable. Thinking that a document is set up well because it looks good on paper is like thinking the coffee is made well because it's dark. Some people in this outfit place equal importance on the two.

That's when I want to step in and say, let _me_ set those menial little tabs and do it right. Mind your own tasks.

As for the coffee, I make it sometimes. I'm also the one who carries the burnt carafes (with the Black Donut of Death inside) to the dishwasher, the only one who bothers to clean the inside of the machine, and the only one to notice and remove the spatters five feet up on the wall from when the carafes boil dry overnight. I'm not asked to do these things, I do them silently and invisibly because I'm the only one who cares.

- A

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