Thursday, December 16, 2004

Foot(notes) in Mouth

As Melissa would say, People are stupid. I had no idea how incredibly stupid until this evening.

A client, for whom I worked pretty hard on a pretty tight deadline, had some complaints about my work. Apparently, there was some glaring errors in my document -- the final version of which was already submitted to the Powers That Be -- which she was "not pleased" with. I offered to edit the document to her satisfaction and send in a "corrected" copy to the PTB if the changes were that material and significant, but she never did talk to me about the errors. They were so horrendous, she needed an appointment with my boss.

Now keep in mind, I take great pride in my work product. I worked hard to create this document on her behalf. I put together a good, logical argument for her, delicately balancing passionate advocacy for the client with calling out her supervisor as an idiot (without explicitly doing so). It was a nine-page single-spaced document. It wasn't an easy job. But I was proud of it. Once she complained that there were problems with it, I read and re-read it, more times than I can count. If there are errors in it, I want to know, dammit! Well, for some strange reason, I could find no significant errors.

The Client was lucky enough to wrangle an appointment with my boss tonight. I sat in my office -- still annoyed with her though not knowing exactly what her damage was -- and waited.

Eventually, my boss emerged from the conference room. He beckoned to me: "Want to know what was wrong with your document?" I walked over to him as he fished the document out of the file.

He flipped open my document and turned to page three. "This," my boss explained, "is one example of where you inexplicably insert text in the middle of a section where it makes no sense whatsoever."

He read out loud the nonsensical portion of my argument: "The quick brown fox jumped one the car was a rental. Two the light was red at the time. [flips the page] over the lazy dogs."

"What?" I asked.

"That made no fuckin' sense whatsoever, did it?" my boss asked. He was starting to grin.

"I have got to believe that I did not write that," I protested.

"Of course you did." He turns the paper around to show me. And indeed, that is exactly what was on the page.

The "one" and "two" were footnotes, with their antecedents somewhere higher up on the page. Somehow, The Client -- who holds herself out to be an "educated, professional" type -- had no idea how to read footnotes. She was trying to read straight down the page, and the footnote text was running headlong into the middle of other sentences.

The entire document contained a total of twelve footnotes. Imagine how completely confused she was every single time one popped up. I can't imagine what she thought those pesky little superscript numbers were scattered throughout the text.

I didn't really like her much for a whole lot of other reasons. This just put the icing on the beeyotch cake.


p.p. said...

What a dumbass! You wonder how people like that function on a daily basis.

Jon said...

Incompetency is becoming a universal phenomenon, sadly. I weep for the future sometimes!

Melissa said...

I rest my case.

Moby said...

OMG! I got such a giggle out of that. And, just wait till she finally figures it out. OH the anguish!