Sunday, March 18, 2012

16593--You Can't Do This Job If You're Stupid

During my time in the world of the workers, I've been at the entry level, whatever comes between that and supervisor, supervisory level and managerial.  I suppose if I count my own small business ventures, I've been an owner, too.  Though I found the above to be true at each level, it was something I found I waited to share with people until I was at least a supervisor.

As a supervisor, I was responsible for orientation of the people who were brought into the company for me to supervise.  Sadly, there were stupid people doing some of the jobs I was responsible for overseeing, so I had begun telling the new ones that they couldn't do the work if they were stupid after the first one I told left.  We were in the midst of orientation, he said he was going to get a drink or a snack and never came back.  It wasn't my intention to run him off, rather to emphasize the importance of using his brain.  The inherent beauty of that being that it would keep from adding to my daily aggravation levels and protect him from me conceiving creative things to do to his car.

Did I think it odd and a little rude for him to quit on the sly?  Yes, even cowardly, but I decided it had been the better decision for both of us in the long-term scheme of things.  I'm sure he spared me a great deal of disappointment by leaving before he actually got his hands on any company or client property.

As a manager, I was interviewing the people who I would hire to become sources of aggravation.  That gave me the opportunity to get involved in the process even earlier, heading off those bad choices before they even got into the company.  That's about the best you can do in business, but as a writer you can go even further.

When you're writing, you have both the power and the responsibility to protect your audience from not only stupid characters, but from characters doing stupid things. The readers are trusting you to take good care of them, having entrusted you with their time and maybe even some money.

As a writer, it's your job to bring your best to the meeting of minds.  The audience comes ready to receive whatever you have to offer.  No writer has any right to ask for any more than that.  Every writer should bring no less than a work that has been well thought out, thoroughly edited and presented in a compelling package.

That's the basic gist of the writer/reader social contract.  A writer who feels it's too much of a bother to learn to spell, how to use the grammatical rules of whatever language the writing is in, to re-check the "finished" product that one last obsessive time and to put a pretty bow on the whole thing before sliding it over to the public for consumption doesn't deserve the attention of readers.  I don't feel that those basics are asking too much.

Those basics are simple mechanics that anyone can learn, so there's no excuse for not doing that much.  If you've gone to all the effort to do the writing, it's just lazy not to do the last bits.  The writing itself is without question the hardest part.  Some say writing well is one of the hardest jobs in the world.  Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn't.  If you're going to do it well, I know you can't be stupid.  You just can't fix stupid.


  1. I agree. I take offense when people ask me to read writing riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes. It shows that they don't value my time enough to take the time to polish their work for an audience.


    1. Ah-ha! So it's not just me then. I know someone who'll be very disappointed to hear that.

      Thanks, Erin.