The Gross National Debt

Friday, February 11, 2011

Looking for some one-mile shoes

Typos are the bane of my existence.

But proofreading your own work is an exercise of the Chinese Fire Drill type. A complete waste of time. You read what you intended to write, not what you wrote.

Running a newspaper and seeing typos in it causes me more angst than anything, except one thing which I shall not go into here. I do catch hell for typos. I also make light of ‘em, but they do annoy me to no end.

Other people can’t understand why there are typos in the paper.

They don’t get it ‘cause they don’t know what it takes to put a newspaper out. They don’t sit at my desk and see me attempt to write a news story, deal with someone mad as hell about this week’s editorial, build an ad, talk to someone who just needs someone to listen, refrain from shooting certain people who really need to shot but I can’t because it’s not yet legal to shoot them, wonder about what to cook for supper, deal with lawyers needed tearsheets for legals, checking emails because someone called and HAS to know if I got their announcement and all that happens in 5 minutes.

If a person shadows me on a busy day, they will come away with a renewed sense of what I do and why I routinely say “I turn my brain off on Wednesday.” A lot of people think I turned my brain off years ago and forgot to turn it back on, but that’s another story.

Ya walk a mile in my shoes and in addition to getting a blister or dozen, you’ll have my shoes and be a mile away. Ar har har har. Using the metaphor as intended, you’d have a better understanding of why typos appear in the paper.

As you keep that in mind, I tell you one of the great things about my job is that I get to do everyone else’s job.

Not on a full time basis you understand, but I can tag along with someone as they go about their work and see how the function. I even get paid to do it.

It does not give me a complete understanding of their job, but I get an idea. That idea is often considerably more knowledge of the job than the rest of the world has, unless they have the same or a similar job.

You can say a little knowledge is dangerous thing, which it is. But applied judiciously with the knowledge it is a little knowledge, it becomes a good thing.

This knowledge allows me to come back to my computer and let you live vicariously.

This knowledge also helps me form some extremely unpopular opinions, which is also another story.

More importantly, it gives me a little insight into what other people go through. I see some of their problems and solutions, their successes and failures and other things that go into the things they do.

Factor into this, we all have bad days. Problems in our lives can and do spill over into our workplace. What’s supposed to happen and what does happen do not have to be in sync. Reality has yet to conform to any human’s complete expectations.

So getting to my point, sometimes it ain’t easy being them.

Sometimes it ain’t easy being you, is it?

Lemme ask you this: Ever wish someone who complains about the way you do your job got to DO your job for a while?

Do you think other people wish the same thing?

What about when you complain about the way they do their job?

If you think it’s not fair when they complain about you, is it fair when you complain about them?

As my buddy Trish says in her emails to me - Be kind. Everyone you know is fighting a battle.


  1. Your sister will happily copy edit for you! :)

  2. I can use the help, especially reviewing and copyediting book manuscripts.


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