Monday by the Magazine Stall…



How’s it going? And welcome to our beginning of the week idle chit-chat thread.

You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve recovered from my Friday spat.

Blame. What is the point of appropriating blame?

Let me explain. My work involves a lot of writing. You know, like marketing material, brochures, whitepapers and stuff like that. Recently I’ve been working on one such document, and that document was circulated to a broader team to review, provide feedback and any other comments, suggested changes etc.

The document was subsequently published for employees to give to clients. All well and good you might say.

Well, last week I received an email from one of the team members declaring how she was “horrified” (her words) to find a number of spelling errors in the document. So naturally I have since corrected these errors and issued a new updated version of the document.

However this morning I receive an email from her boss (quite a senior manager), also expressing his outrage that this has occurred and insisting that I give him an assurance that “it won’t happen again”.

Now, this is the thing that really irks me. Firstly, there were about 4 spelling errors in a 30 page document. Secondly, there have been several drafts of this document. All of the drafts were circulated to the team including the senior manager for review and comment and no one picked up the errors in any earlier version, so they went un-noticed by EVERYONE, but somehow I am to blame?

Anyway, this demand that somehow I should be in a position to give a guarantee that this will never happen again, I think, is a bit over the top.

For one thing. How can anyone give a guarantee that they’ll never make a spelling mistake ever again? It’s just absurd.

Another thing. Why on Earth does someone get “horrified” to find some spelling errors? I find spelling errors in brochures, magazines, newspapers and advertising all the time. You know like “manger” instead on “manager”. That’s a common one. “Easily done” I think to myself, especially seeing as that’s the sort of thing that spell checker won’t pick up. But “horrified?” Isn’t that just a little bit over the top..?

I’d be “horrified” if I woke up one morning and found a six-foot ring worm hangin’ out my ass, but by comparison the odd gramatical error doesn’t phase me.

And then there’s the whole blame thing. Someone has to be accountable, so they figure that’s me.

I mean, let’s put this in perspective.

Which is something that I find that people who are inclined to get easily horrified might find problematic.

It’s a f*cking document, for Christ’s sake! It can be fixed. It has been fixed. Get over it!! Did anyone die from the spelling mistakes??

Which incidentally is my time old way of keeping things in perspective.

So the next time somebody tries to have a go at you for something, just think to yourself (or better still, say it out loud) “has anyone died as a result of this? If the answer is no, then I think the matter in hand is probably relatively trivial.

Anyway, so getting back to the email I received from the senior manager demanding his assurance that it “won’t happen again.”

In response, I reminded him that we all had the opportunity to review and comment about the document, and no one picked up the errors. Also, the purpose of circluating the drafts for review is to pick up these types of errors and that perhaps WE ALL should review them more carefully in the future.

So that is my beginning of the week work-related drama. Personally I couldn’t give a rat’s… But I just find this whole “blame thing” so unneccessary. I mean shit happens doesn’t it?

I feel better now. Thank you, and thank you for listening. Now what was I doing again….