Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Comma Dilemma, Revisited

I had the following comma-related email in my inbox when I arrived at work on Thursday morning:

"I feel strongly about it. Remove them."

That was it. You know, it would be one thing if this had been the comma policy when I came in and I hadn't set it myself only to have it apparently overturned when some new toolbag comes in to lead the department. I might not even mind a policy shift if he wasn't such a jerk about it. I suppose this is a pretty stupid thing to get upset about, but I am nonetheless. I'm pretty fired up about it, actually. If he tries to get the serial comma removed from our catalogs, he's going to have a fight on his hands.

Am I willing to quit over this? I won't say it's likely, but it's possible. I'm sure that wouldn't be the case if I was planning to be there for longer than another month or so anyway, but since I'm looking for a job in the Dayton area now, well...being the one to take a stand against the new boss might not be a bad way to go out.

Because I'm not the only one who's having serious issues with him already. Here's an actual conversation that took place yesterday with an IT guy who happened to be passing through the office:

New Boss: "Hey, IT Guy, I need a hand over here."
IT Guy: "I'm in the middle of something right now, but--"
New Boss: "You know what you're in the middle of? You're in the middle of helping me."
(a moment of stunned silence)
IT Guy: "You know what? I'll put you on the list."
(exit IT Guy)

And there have been other, similar conversations much like that one. We moved our department into a new office on Thursday, and I'm now lucky enough to have my desk right next to his. In the day and a half I've been next to him, my opinion of him has fallen even further, and I've heard or seen plenty of my co-workers expressing their displeasure with him as they leave his desk area.

The owner of the company is on vacation right now, but we'll see what happens when he comes back. We previously had a person in this new guy's position who tried to make a bunch of changes and that no one liked very much, and that person didn't last very long. So maybe this problem will take care of itself. In the meantime, I'll do what I can to make sure our company communications don't fall into the realm of the sloppy, unprofessional, imprecise ranks of serial comma non-use (and whatever other moronic grammatical/typographic changes he may have in mind).

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