Friday, June 26, 2015
THE BOSS KNOWS BEST?
THE BOSS KNOWS BEST?
Years ago when I worked for a large brokerage firm, my boss, another Joe, was not the brightest bulb in the lamp. That is not entirely fair, he was not stupid, in fact he knew the business pretty well, he just did not always demonstrate a great knowledge of the English language.
Our department was responsible for Trades Processing on the New York Stock Exchange better known as the NYSE. My boss spelled trades t-r-a-i-d-s traids. He was corrected several times and always acted as if it was an oversight, but he always spelled it traids. Fortunately for him, his secretary knew how to spell. I used to joke that he couldn't spell NYSE if you spotted him the N and the Y.
Joe could not spell well enough to even know he could not spell, and he could not write a cohesive paragraph. I have never been a very good speller, but I did know when to use a dictionary, and I did know that trades was spelled t-r-a-d-e-s. I may not be a terrific writer, but I could always make a point in print, and could generally pass as being literate. Still, if I wrote even the simplest memo, Joe demanded to edit it before it was sent out. It was a boss thing.
For several months, I never got a memo or writing of any kind past Joe that he did not make several changes. Generally his changes did not alter the meaning of what I wanted to convey. His changes just reflected what he would have written if it was his to write. I never liked the way his changes sounded. My wording was better. It used to really piss me off.
At some point I realized that no matter what I wrote, Joe would make some changes just to assert his position. He had to show he was the boss, and in his mind he felt, “Thank God I edit everything before it is sent out.”
With that in mind I soon learned to make several obvious grammatical errors with everything I wrote. My boss would happily correct the simple errors, but leave the body of the message unchanged. I got to send out work with my name that reflected my style, and my boss got to feel superior and needed.
All this was years ago, but I would like to take this opportunity to tell my old boss, “It is spelled t-r-a-d-e-s you moron! The name of the department you were in charge of was TRADES Processing, not TRAIDS Processing…and you corrected my writing? You fucking idiot!”
Actually he was a pretty good guy, and he did know his stuff, he just could not write worth shit.