That’s a label that has been placed on me at times, and I’m fine with it. I’ve written about it several times, starting with this post. I got to thinking about this as I was reading an ad for a writing job. The instructions were to apply by sending pertinent information through email, with the assurance “we read each and every email.” OK, I believe you. But this is one of those hallowed clichés that I like to pick at. Let me go ahead and do that now, along with some other ones.
“Each and every” – This is completely redundant. “I expect great things from each and every one of you” might be something a coach or manager says during a motivational talk. OK, so do you expect great things from each of us, but not every one of us? The job posters – do you read every email, but not each email? I imagine this phrase was coined by a politician, preacher, or some other person who believes more words are better than fewer words, no matter how useless the extra words are. A buddy of mine once started calling things like this out by saying, “Isn’t that redundant redundant?” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
“Bless you” – No one says anything when you cough, burp or blow your nose. But as soon as you sneeze, here comes “Bless you” or “God bless you” or “gesundheit.” The problem is, it’s all hogwash. Here’s some research. For the most part, the various sneeze responses originated from ancient superstitions. Some people believed that a sneeze causes the soul to escape the body through the nose. Saying “bless you” would stop the devil from claiming the person’s freed soul. Others believed the opposite: that evil spirits use the sneeze as an opportunity to enter a person’s body. There was also the misconception that the heart momentarily stops during a sneeze (it doesn’t), and that saying “bless you” was a way of welcoming the person back to life.
To me, this is a classic case of “this is the way it’s always been done, so you must do what has always been done.” Not me, Jack. I refuse to say anything when someone sneezes. Since there’s no demon involved, I don’t see the need. I get in some heated arguments over this one.
“Multi-task” – My anger with this one is growing rapidly, and it may end up on the same level as my anger over improper apostrophe use. Has any human being ever seen a job description that didn’t include “ability to multi-task” as a minimum, if-you-can’t-do-this-you-are-not-a-candidate requirement? And the maddening thing is, no one can do it! What, you think I’m bloviating mindlessly and don’t know what I’m talking about? Fine. Read this. Or this. Maybe this will help. Or perhaps this will convince you. I could go on until we’re all green in the face. “Multi-tasking” doesn’t exist. This myth is one of many things I don’t miss about life in Corporate America. And when I see it as an entrepreneur, I get a little wary.
I believe this is an asset for me as a writer. I review the things I write many times before I hit the “publish” button. While that can be a drawback (“c’mon, Edgar, we’re in a time crunch here, hurry it up!”), I can definitely assure those I write for that their content won’t be full of empty clichés or elementary spelling and grammar errors.
If you are a business owner that would like to devote more time to working with your clients and less time fussing over what goes in your blog or on your site, hit that good ol’ Contact Us link and let’s see how we can make some great things happen for your business.