Goin to the Office, and I’m Happily Married

workwifeAs a romantic, I am not required to take my marriage vows to the extreme. I do, though. Call it going the extra mile. Sadly, I am only obligated to meet the bare minimum, like any other married person.

In sickness and in health, for most balanced people, means that I am not to annul my marriage if my husband’s appendix bursts or he catches the plague. I take it to mean that when I get an ingrown toenail, he has to listen to me whine about it for as many days as it takes that nastiness to heal, without placing an ad on craigslist for “Wife: Free to a good home. No references required.”

Until death do us part, for all practical purposes, means that if he dies, I can simply replace him. In fact, he prefers to believe that I would find someone to keep me company, as opposed to what I have in mind. Moving on is so boring. Devoting the rest of my days to mourning is much more my style. I find the idea of wearing a black veil and a bit of his hair in a locket to have a more dramatic flair.

To love and cherish, too vague. Too many people love their real spouses while simultaneously cherishing work spouses. Perfectly acceptable for the general population, but not for one obsessive, hopeless romantic such as myself. Even though I spend twice as many waking hours with coworkers as I do with my husband, and some might call it cute to have a special connection with some lucky fellow at work, I find the thought quite depressing.

Naturally, I would make quite a spectacular work wife, since I wear makeup to the office at least three days of the week and always leave bed head at home. But I don’t want the thrice-divorced guy from the warehouse complaining about his newest wife, all the while telling me how amazing I am because I am not her. Nor do I want the overtly happily married man, who reminds me that his trophy homemaker of a bride is the one who designated me his work wife. And under no circumstance do I want that young, single guy who winks at all the ladies, even the ones who don’t wear makeup three days a week. Despite their performances, any one of them would only be filling some emptiness that had nothing to do with me, and the only way for me to find any value in the relationship would be to do the same.

Problem is, my home life is not the source of unhappiness. And frankly, if I can’t put the effort into wearing makeup all five days of the week or trimming my toenails properly so they don’t become ingrown, I don’t have what it takes to be a successful bigamist. Sorry, fellas.

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Bad Writing: the Ultimate Office Torture

Cat_editing_email

Cool cats proofread their business documents.

The right interrogator could get me to confess to anything. First, fingernails on a chalkboard.

“Alright, I took 62 minutes for lunch!”

Next, bring in a woman to talk nonstop about her husband’s shortcomings, using the phrase “Bless his heart” over and over until I want to stick a pencil in each ear. “Yes, I surfed the Internet on company time!”

Finally, make me read the following:

Employee’s, We had a great physical year even better then last year, you should be proud. Choosing Employee of The Year has been a difficult task for Carl and I because their was so many accomplishments  from all of you making it hard to choose from,  little on name just one. Your all valuable employee’s, myself and Carl takes this award seriously.

“Stop! I confess to whatever you want. Just take that poorly written memo away from me!”

Not everyone feels this way. Most people do not critique menus and plumbers’ truck decals. They don’t have fond memories of learning to diagram a sentence in grade school.

Attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling is a skill that often has no real value in the office. When was the last time you missed a promotion because you could not properly conjugate a verb? Can you remember your company suffering a terrible quarter because the CEO used too many dangling participles?  The worst grammar offenders can be the most business-savvy, intelligent leaders of the company.

So, why bother proofreading your interoffice emails? Because even though 99 percent of your coworkers may not notice your bad grammar, there’s always one nerd in the office who cares. It may not be fair, but some of us can’t help but lose a little professional respect for someone who cannot compose a correct sentence. And maybe, just maybe, a customer cares. What if that new client just can’t justify paying thousands of dollars to someone whose emails make him sound like he slept through elementary school? Good writing is not pretentious and snooty. It’s efficient and it communicates your message without confusion, while poor writing is actually much more difficult to decipher.

If you want to work on your written communication but can’t remember the name of a single English teacher you ever had, it’s ok. Look around your office. There’s always someone. Maybe it’s that guy who reads thick books on his lunch break. Didn’t he mention an English degree? Ask him to proofread those really important messages before you hit “send.”

If you don’t want to enlist others in your quest for better communication, there are plenty of resources out there. Although you can buy reference books, all you really need is to surf the Net. Yes, on company time. One of my favorite sites is that of Chicago writer and editor, Erin Wright. Her blog playfully tackles common grammar issues, making the English language fun. That way, when they finally bust you for surfing the Web on company time, you have a valid excuse. Just be careful in telling the boss that he could benefit from some grammar tips.