30 January 2011

The Road and the Miles to Retirement

Well, I suppose that some progress is being made towards my retirement, though probably not enough. My office, which has been described before now as an art installation or a pile of junk, depending on who you ask, still looks as cluttered as ever, despite my best efforts. Work keeps getting in the way, of course.

Going through old documents I would estimate that I must have recycled/ shredded several trees' worth of paper by now (and a comparable amount of space on the computer). I looked at some of this stuff in amazement and wonder why it was committed to paper at such length in the first place, and certainly why I ever kept it afterwards. Again, work gets in the way, I guess - quickest to just file it away.

Rather reprehensibly, I've taken the greatest pleasure of all in tearing up all the writing guidelines - thou shalt not assume that any reader has any knowledge, of any kind, about anything; thou shalt not use ye passive tense; or the word 'which' in clauses (must use 'that'); or any punctuation, apart from full stops or perhaps the odd dash or question mark. Thou shalt, on the other hand, produce labels, text, etc which is cogent, informative and interesting for everybody of any age in roughly a third of the space (and the time) needed for the task, and by the way, your vocabulary and construction are too difficult for ordinary people to understand. (I occasionally erupt over that last one - it's really only crept in in the last ten years, which I think may just say something about dumbing down in education). I prefer to write the piece interestingly first and tailor it afterwards, frankly.

My colleagues are carrying on a touch chronic about the loss of my expertise, which is in its way flattering, but that's how these things happen, much of the time. In fact, as my boss very sensibly remarked, somebody leaving is how other people learn - and I learnt it that way myself.