Because my department’s workload had gotten so heavy that someone – not saying me, just someone – was bound to have a nervous breakdown involving firearms, management brought in a few contractors to handle the more non-technical aspects of the job and free up those of us who handle the more critical issues/clients. It’s helped a lot as far as my sanity regarding the workload is concerned (not so much my sanity regarding being treated like an infant, but I’ll tell you some other time about how my boss recently told me in detail that she and the director planned to commit a major ethics violation because of their feelings).
Hiring contractors is a big thing in my company. They’re cheaper than full-time employees and more easily let go than part-time employees, and there’s no commitment to developing their careers because their contract says they’re out of there in a few months. Today’s corporate world is a people factory full of half-assery and short-term solutions; I may not like it, but I also don’t have an MBA so I’m sure I’m missing the point somewhere.
A few of our contractors are intelligent, competent people who are able to come in every day to slog through a difficult job and I am happy to have them. Really. Especially after I found out that one of them is also a bowler. Like, she bowls in leagues and everything, but she also travels to tournaments to bowl for money. Also her mom writes Christian romance novels. I may not be a bowling fanatic or have any interest in Christian romance novels aside from wondering how the hell you write something like that without sex, but I still find both of those things fascinating.
She didn’t believe me when I said I found them fascinating, and I spend a lot of time trying to convince her that I’m not making fun when I ask questions. I once watched a documentary about bowlers and a big national tournament, which made people make fun of me because apparently, watching documentaries about bowlers (and harpists, and photo collectors, and mental hospitals, piano makers, typefaces, and the national Scrabble championship) is weird.
I don’t think watching documentaries is weird. I think not watching them is weird, especially considering that so many of them are available on Netflix Instant, and spending just over an hour with one of those is far more enriching than catching up on the last season of Toddlers and Tiaras. But I long ago learned that some people just aren’t interested in feeding their brains, and the people I’m talking about are the same ones who speak in such a way that I spend most days fantasizing about grabbing them by the shoulders, shaking them violently, and demanding “DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT WORDS MEAN?!”
One of the contractors in my office (not the bowler, also not one of the intelligent, capable individuals I mentioned earlier) who uses the word “unfortunately” constantly. He uses it when nothing about the thing he’s saying is unfortunate. It’s like a placeholder word for him, something he says when he doesn’t know how else to describe something. Being in a different city than a caller is not “unfortunate,” it’s geography. You not personally knowing someone’s sales rep isn’t “unfortunate,” it’s happenstance in social groups. Stop fucking saying “unfortunately” when what you really mean is “no,” “I don’t know” or “this is the way things are even though they are not affecting you negatively in any way,” it doesn’t make any goddamn sense and eventually someone like me is going to be on the other end of the phone to tell you how unfortunate you really are.
This person uses all kinds of words inappropriately. “Tricky” or “tough” when the situation is neither but occurs more than half an iota of brainpower, “sorry” when he’s not and/or shouldn’t be, and “actually” all the fucking time like it’s a fucking comma or something. I don’t this person’s life but I’m willing to bet they don’t watch documentaries at all, or, you know, read things like books, the newspaper, or signs on the street. Listening to this person every day causes a heightened version of the rage I feel when scrolling through Facebook, where people say “awe” when they mean “aww” or “could of” when they mean “could have,” or anything else that would have been prevented had they bothered to pay some fucking attention to the way language works.
This goes beyond basic grammar Nazi tendencies. I’m not trying to boss people around over the Internet. It just disturbs me that so many people remain purposefully ignorant to the way words work, that there is such inherent laziness in how people conduct themselves and communicate. Just care a little more. Please? It’s not that hard. This is why some people hide themselves away in cabins full of books, you know, preferring their own company to others who blindly stomp through life, destroying everything good and intelligent about it.