Sunday, October 26, 2008

Garbage in, garbage out

Newer and/or more patient readers of my blog may be interested in finding out what I do for a living.

Sometimes all goes well, and sometimes it doesn't.

A few years ago, I was asking to edit several documents being sent to some outside organizations. I had to correct almost all the punctuation on one document, and correct numerous omissions on another. A word to the wise: Don't use abbreviations in official documents being sent to persons whom you don't know, as you can't assume that everyone knows what the abbreviations mean. Also, those from the New York City metropolitan area would do well to remember that, since New York is, ya know, a state, not just a city, it's hardly sufficient to type "New York" as the only words indicating a location.

The document that I completed today takes some kind of a prize for the most poorly edited document on which I've ever had the extremely dubious privilege of working. We found out almost by accident, while seeking other information, that some of the information we'd been given hadn't been valid for several months. Getting updated and correct information out of the person in charge of this particular affiliate was like pulling teeth--I don't think I've ever heard my boss and the project director spend so much time on a conference call trying to get one individual to answer a few simple questions that could have been answered in mere minutes. And, to top it off, the affiliate's head honcho complained, after I'd e-mailed the completed document, that the document still contained errors, even though the information we used came from documents sent by the affiliate just last week! Zeesh, they couldn't be bothered making the effort to check their own facts? I hate to break it to our affiliates, but if you're gonna put garbage into your document(s) without bothering to tell anyone that it's there, you're gonna get garbage out.

The completed document that we sent back to the affiliate was a vast improvement over the version that they'd sent to us, mostly because some of my colleagues are experts at taking whatever we're given and making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. But doing something the right way without cooperation is a major pain in the butt.


Blogger Shira Salamone said...

This post was actually published Wednesday, November 26, 2008--I try to "hide" any posts that might compromise what's left of my anonymity.

Thu Nov 27, 12:43:00 AM 2008  

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