An anal retentive writes:

Apologies for yesterday’s primal scream. There are certain aspects of my job that made me spend the last two hours of the working day emailing or instant messaging almost exclusively in capital letters and virtually burst a blood vessel, and the people who would understand – my fellow writers, editors and grammar fascists – are either in Toronto or somewhere in the English countryside.

I should probably explain a bit about what I do; people generally don’t understand it anyway so it’s about time I did. I work with the internet, on public websites, but I’m not the technology geek who understands about servers, IP addresses and javascript. I’m the person who works on what you actually read. Got something you want to say? OK, tell me about it and I’ll write it for you. Already written it? Give it to me anyway and I’ll edit it and make it coherent and correct your spelling and grammar. Don’t know where to put it? Come here and I’ll show you all the different pages and tell you where it will get most attention. What’s that? You want me to put it on the website? Fine, I’ll code up the HTML. And source some images? Getting a bit cheeky, aren’t we? No, no, I can do that. Doing a big project and want something a bit showy on the site? No problem, I’ll draw up some plans for a few special pages and build it for you. But it would help if you gave me more than two days’ notice next time… and before you ask, no, it is not physically possible to recode those 750 pages by next month.

So there’s this big project, right? For once, I have a team of people doing the writing and building the pages to help me. Or rather, “help” me. Because what I’m experiencing is Inconsistent Punctuation. Now, I can handle different pages in different sections of the site having different quirks of layout or punctuation. That’s fine. Probably written by different people with differing interpretations of the style guide. I can fix that. It’s no problem. Even different pages within the same section are acceptable; sometimes you forget what you did two pages ago. It happens. But different punctuation on different sections of the SAME PAGE? Created by the same person within the same hour? How does that even happen? And why the hell did I spend two weeks writing a style guide at the behest of the project manager if I then have to send an email reiterating every single point of layout, after I receive the content? Glad that was time well spent.

Oh, my head’s started to hurt again…

Doesn’t help that I’m hitting the bottom of a ‘down’ cycle today, either… about once every six months there’ll be a day when the anti-depressants don’t work like they should. Today was that day and I’ve felt flat and miserable and grey. Thankfully the rest of the team were working from home so I could be as antisocial as I liked. They sent me pictures of kittens.

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