RE: I had to say it because I was afraid no one else would

Subject: RE: I had to say it because I was afraid no one else would
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2009 22:29:43 +1100

>
> About twenty years ago, I worked for a commercial baker (you know those
> grocery store white boxes) as a secretary and had been asked to type a
> memo for a marketing manager because his own secretary was out that day.
> It was five pages written in long hand of the most liberty I've ever
> seen taken with our language. Terms like "incentivize" and "grow the
> business" abounded. So used to editing my own bosses' mutilated grammar,
> I blithely edited as I typed. To my astonishment, he came out of his
> office with the typed copy, red as a beet, demanding to know what right
> I had to mutilate his words.

As he should have. I hope in the intervening twenty years you've learned to
do what your boss asks instead of taking it upon yourself to save the
language. You were asked to type--not to rewrite. The business-school jargon
the marketing manager used was quite likely appropriate to his audience and
his purposes, and even if it wasn't, you had no business recasting his memo
into language that you personally preferred without his leave.

Tech writers have a public image problem that is not helped by smart-asses
who assume, without asking, that they know more about their bosses' jobs
than their bosses know.

Anyone who can write "five pages written in long hand of the most liberty
I've ever seen taken." is in no position to be correcting others.

--
Mike West

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