I’ve been doing a lot of editing recently – it’s annual report season and the hills are alive with the sound of management-speak being committed to paper.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m very glad of the work. And I do appreciate that great managers aren’t necessarily good writers too. But in the interests of the English language and my own sanity, can I request that the person who wrote “we are fully committed to embedding and mainstreaming equality and diversity in all our management processes” is sent to the corner wearing a very large dunce’s cap and left to contemplate the error of his ways (or her ways – I am, of course, fully committed to…)
A pox on embedding and mainstreaming; on the random use of transparent, robust and sustainable to make simple things sound grander than they need to be; on capturing learnings and sharing them at learning events; on the direction of travel and ongoing commitment and outcome focused engagement activity.
This whole editing process reminds me of skills I used to take pride in, which are now about as useful as knowing how to ride a pennyfarthing or where to apply the leeches to cure dropsy. I used to be able to lay out a page of newsprint, using a series of mathematical formulae which told the printer exactly where and at what size to place the words and pictures. I knew how to put together documents for print by cutting in alterations from a block of set type with a scalpel. I could correct a proof using the right set of editor’s marks. (Yes I know. I’m older than God) .
Now editing and proofing is an entirely on-screen process which is infinitely easier and much less satisfying than it used to be. Who knew you could feel nostalgic for the feel of printers’ proofs?