Monday, November 24, 2008

Writing and Open Heart Surgery: Totally the same

Two weeks ago, I was laid off. (And no, it wasn't because I wrote about my job dissatisfaction on this blog.) The organization I worked for lost $1.6 million -- don't you just hate it when that happens? -- and had to cut 30 jobs.

As soon as they announced this tiny deficit, I knew I was a goner. Not only was I a relatively new hire, but my position was also a newly created one. Also? I'm a writer; the work I do is not valued.

I don't say this bitterly (well, maybe a little) or to evoke pity, but rather, simply to state a fact. In the business world, and often in the world at large, writing is not valued.

There are many reasons for this, but the one I want to focus on today is: Everyone's a Writer Syndrome.

We all use words, and most of us know how to read and write them. Because of this, many people -- some of whom I've had the pleasure of working with -- believe that they are good writers. And while I would never walk into an operating room and claim that because I know how to cut things open, I am therefore a qualified surgeon, these people actually believe that they can do what I do, and well.

It's an insulting yet all-too-frequent assumption. Case in point: The co-worker who designed and manages the agency's Web site is now additionally the writer/editor for the organization. To him I would say "good luck," but he probably won't need it.

Neither will I when, later this evening, I perform my first open heart surgery.

[Note: I am writing this post from my rightful spot at Panera.]


gwto said...

Keep your chin up, and enjoy the bread bowl

Matt said...

And you used a photo from Grey's Anatomy :) I bet all of those actors are now qualified heart surgeons because, you know, they play one on TV.

Cris said...

Just because I can cut my own bangs (badly!) doesn't mean I'm a hair dresser!

Sam said...
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