For Pete’s sake

6 January 2015

Oh good heavens…. how hard is it just to say what you mean in life? I don’t mean being mean when you say it, or confrontational, but just getting your message across clearly…. is that so difficult? Apparently it is.

My surname is Gray – yes, the US spelling – though I am pretty sure that I am more black and white than grey. I am never intentionally mean, though sometimes I am reminded that messages can be received in a different tone to the one in which they were delivered (whether in the written or spoken word).

In the idealistic world which we would all like to live in, we would have the choice of the people we want to work with. That’s not reality though for most people in life. You can’t choose your boss (unless you are the boss!) and there is no guarantee that you will always get along with the team you work with. Even if you work independently most of the time, there are few people who could eek out a career without communicating with others!

But whether you ‘get on’ with people is kind of irrelevant here. When you say ‘please can you research X and find out where s/he lived in 1881?’, that’s clear as crystal …. right? So, you wouldn’t expect, when supplying the census schedule, to receive the response: ‘Oh yes, I knew where s/he lived in 1881. It was the xxxx census I was interested in’….! If you write an article for an editor, it is slightly different. They give you a working title and description which you agree prior to commission. So, you wouldn’t expect, after submitting an article on ‘Prison records in England‘ to suddenly be asked to include the rest of the British Isles! And you certainly wouldn’t expect them to change your writing style…. surely they liked that before they asked you to write in the first place?!

So, please …. Positivity rules in 2015 and so does clarity. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Make sure the message you are delivering is clear and understood by the recipient. And for Pete’s sake – and many other people not called Pete – don’t go changing your mind when the job is already done!

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