My current job, which, I think, maybe, on the whole, I’m going to eventually grow to like, possibly, once I truly come to terms with the fact that I don’t actually make anything anymore so much as enable other people to make thing, involves a lot of business-speak for something that’s nominally in the world of information technology.
As most of you know, I’ve been employed in the public sector for nigh on twenty years (and that’s as specific as I’ll get on the topic), and while I’ve spent most of that time engaging with private sector contractors, the last couple of months has been new in the sense that I’m actually in charge of directing the work they do, rather than just working side-by-side with them. I’ll be honest, it’s probably closer to management than I’m actually comfortable with, but it’s mostly managing stuff that I have some familiarity with, and the folks who do the actual work know what they’re doing and mostly make me look competent.
Occasionally, though, I run into interactions that leave me baffled. One individual I deal with regularly somehow manages, in response to what I’m relatively sure is clear, concise, and unambiguous correspondence, to answer in what feels less like cogent language and more like a textbook from a low-rent MBA program went on a two-week bender with an 80s valley girl, and after getting far too enthusiastic with drink, emptied the contents of their collective insides into my inbox.
To protect the guilty, I’m not going to quote any of it here, but, it’s all short, clipped, incomplete sentences with lots of “paradigm shifting” and “actionable intelligence” and “project statusing” and such, with every paragraph ended with a single word sentence like “Cool?” or “Awesome.”, serving more as punctuation and performance art than adding any value*.
It often takes reading-over several times, and then checking in with a colleague to figure out what this person is actually trying to say. Not the kind of thing I ever look forward to first thing in the morning; it’s baffling and exhausting.
This has been your occasional window into my work life. I promise, I’ll keep this stuff to a minimum, because it’s really the last thing I want to think about; I’ll get back to the more interesting stuff I do that feels creative and pays me (almost) nothing soon.
* – my language here is, sadly, approaching mba-speak. I promise you that it’s just a survial mechanism, or perhaps a manifestation of Stockholm Syndrome. I haven’t joined up with the enemy.