Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Part of my job is helping others communicate. Sometimes it's editing what they've written, and sometimes it's writing for them. Because I've worked for the organization for a very long time, I know a lot of personalities and have learned to anticipate reactions and identify sensitivities. When I write or edit for someone, I offer more than words and catch errors that go beyond grammar. I explain my reasoning, often it terms of a broader picture. I know that at the end of the day my suggestions are no more than that. Those I write for decide the approach to take. I don't have a problem with them revising what I've done or asking for something different altogether. It's part of the job, and whatever my faults, ego is not among them.

Last week I wrote something and received an email back thanking me and praising what I had done. Then nothing more. It's unusual that the first draft is the last. This morning the person I wrote it for had to tell me he had scrapped what I had done and rewrote it completely. I say "had to tell me" in the sense that he behaved as if he hadn't wanted me to know. He gave me a copy of what he had written. When I got back to my office I read it then compared it to what I had prepared. He didn't offer an explanation for why he started over, and I wasn't able to figure it out by comparing the two documents.

For the rest of the day I was bothered by the whole thing and couldn't pinpoint why.

Late in the day another person sent me something to edit. I went through it, added notes, questioned wording and offered alternatives, provided my reasoning. The very thing I always do. Not long after I sent it back I received a phone call from the person. "I wanted to thank you for turning that around so quickly and doing an excellent job. I'm making most of your changes. There are a few I'm not going to follow." And he went on to explain his reasoning for each one.

The difference between the two incidents was in the expression of trust and respect. The second person has always trusted me to look out for his interests and represent him well. He's always respected my experience and skill. The first person doesn't trust me as strongly, and I don't feel as respected, whether that's true or not.

While I'll always give my best effort to everyone I work with, there is one person I would try to move mountains for, all because I know he believes I can.

1 comment:

Search This Blog

Powered by Blogger.