Dear Santa: Five Wishes Before We Just Hang Out

Dear Santa,

dear santa let's toastI know you suffer because so few people believe in you, even though you deliver as much and often as you can, even though you deliver, on time, except for when hucksters pretending to be you give something late and try to use your names to shift blame for their poor planning. I understand the let down and exhaustion you feel on Boxing Day when you look around your cubicle and wonder how many missed lunches are moldering under the reams of project history. As you start to bring order back to your workspace, you catch glimpses of notes on ideas that you just didn’t have time for, the special decals that you couldn’t get past legal, the helpful fold-out tips and tricks sheet that regulatory had a hissy fit about, and all the minutiae that you’d noticed but didn’t have time to get back to.

Oh Santa, sometime we’ll meet at a local coffee shop and share our disappointment but, and this is important, we’ll put those aside and we’ll concentrate on the things we did that made a difference. Then, we’ll start laughing at the foolishness of cramped deadlines, management, and our quirky coworkers.

Until that time dear Santa, and that would be the best gift of all, could you please send me these things this year?

  1. Roller skates. Real ones. With the key. I really want to be 10 again, but I don’t want all this looming ahead of me. I just want to be able to put on my roller skates and be 10 for a few laps around and through the building. I know, with CCTV being the norm, that Security will catch up with me, but by then I’ll be back to my acquired age.
  2. Patience. Mostly patience with how people have forgotten two perfectly good words, effect and affect, and replaced them with a far less “impactfull” “word.” As you can see, I am in desperate need of this patience. I keep Kate Burridge’s books at hand, so thank you for her. There are other non-English words that are like nails on my chalkboard brain, but I know you know that. We can talk about them when we meet.
  3. People in management who don’t moonlight as “walkers” in the comics and television series “The Walking Dead.” Enough said.
  4. Coworkers with smiles. Coworkers that actually give a rat’s a$$; or, failing that, coworkers who can-pretend-to-care. I know that’s two requests and that you’ve covered that in the style guide, but I’d like to make the argument that they’re intertwined. I am willing to reword the list item to conform, but I think it would lose some of its effectiveness.
  5. Finally, I’d just like technology to slow the f*#k down. I don’t want hourly, daily, weekly updates unless the update fixes a serious problem. I don’t want bells and whistles added on just because some elf in a back room or a board room thinks that gnat-like behavior is going to keep me aware that the crappy, poorly planned, crazy-impossible interface wrapped around a potentially awesome but currently awkward and barely usable piece of software or hardware is ever so cool and always thinking of me. I don’t want them *always* thinking of me in this bizarre flying dart way. I have my own poorly planned projects that depend on this Machiavellian tool and every time those attention-deficit, C-grade marketing coke heads come up with an idea, it generally means that *my* attention-deficit, C-grade management coke heads get sold on the shiny new and they dump it on my  desk, in passing. And all the while my shining face radiates thanks, because my schedule, which they’ve just told me has shrunk, has all that room for something new to learn and use so I can compensate for all their mistakes…

You know what, Santa? Let’s skip the Boxing Day coffee. What’s say you and I call it a day, walk out, and head to the pub? Right now.

Wanda

Wanda Phillips

Wanda has worked for nearly 25 years as a Technical Communicator exploring the means and methods of making it possible for users in various fields to almost understand and use the expensive products their management bought for them. Her passion is generating content that makes everyone feel they've gotten money's worth. Her last great win involved introducing DITA to help her fellow writers and editors juggle the increasingly heavy workload, to ease the product users into the complicated interface and features of the ever increasing number of options and systems, to trick the translators into doing less work, and, finally, to allow her manager to create an award-winning spreadsheet comparing the costs of DITA content against the traditional approach.

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