Once upon a time, or so I've been told, if you wanted to work in an office, it was actually a requirement that you had to be able to read. Not only that, but you were required to comprehend what you read, draw conclusions from it, make decisions based on those conclusions, and communicate those decisions to your coworkers.
Judging by my experiences, both today and over the past few years of working here at Glass Bathroom Bank, these requirements no longer exist. Which is a pity. My job would be so much easier if they did. For instance, if the third-party vendor with which I’ve been exchanging emails had only hired people who had a basic level of reading comprehension, then possibly I wouldn’t have had the following exchange:
“Hi [Vendor 1], [Manager 1] is available to meet on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. Let me know what times work for you.”
“Hi [me], let’s set up a meeting for 3 o’clock Thursday afternoon. Send the invitation ASAP please!”
Or another third-party vendor, looking for time with two different managers (both, happily, on my list of 15 or so that I support in some capacity):
“Hi [Vendor 2], [Manager 2] and [Manager 3] both look available tomorrow afternoon between 1 and 3.”
“Hi [me], that’s great! I’ll send an invite for 12:30-1!”
I don’t doubt these people’s basic intelligence. Instead I think the problem lies in moving too fast. They’re hurrying through their work, trying to get it done, and when they open my emails, they see only what would be easy or convenient for them to see, not what’s actually there. So I do my best never to make them feel dumb (to their faces, anyway) if they’ve made a mistake, as I hope someone would do for me. After all, my own mistakes do happen sometimes, and often they’re from moving too fast.
Another possibility is that these people got their mental wires crossed, and typed, say, “Thursday” when they meant to type “Wednesday”. That happens fairly often as well, and is usually easy to fix. Still, I’ve had to hone my skills at politely asking, “Are you sure?” And then I come here to my faithful blog, and vent my frustrations with these people where they cannot hear me.
Maybe I’ll go back to my idea about Elemental Heirs. The basic setup for that world was that magic, while it did exist, was strongly regimented and restricted by the four magical Houses, which would almost certainly mean they’d have to be bureaucratic in nature. And I’ve gathered enough material just from the few years I’ve been working this job to write quite a number of books about bureaucratic stupidity!
Of course, most of the stupidity I work with (or rather, against) doesn’t occur on purpose, and this type just might. If, say, the spells that the Children of the Elements are taught are deliberately inefficient, requiring more time and magic to get the desired results than strictly necessary, to be certain that they never have the resources left over to get any silly little ideas about rebelling against their leaders. But one day, some of them start to figure that out and find ways to work around it, and their power starts to increase...
Hmm. If you’ll excuse me, please? *scurries off to idea-watching room, calls over shoulder* Thanks for reading! Fiction Friday on, well, Friday!