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ctfd September 15, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Abbreviation, Definition.
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CTFD
Calm The Fuck Down

A little of this may help you CTFD. (CC-licensed photo by Ingorrr)

A little of this may help you CTFD. (CC-licensed photo by Ingorrr)

Yesterday morning I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business, when I got an e-mail sent to three VPs, two middle managers, me, and one of the other programmers. It was a semi-frantic missive from one of our marketing specialists wondering why a promotion we were doing wasn’t on our home page.

I had a few reasons that I did not enumerate to her.

  1. You asked me to do something like this about two weeks ago. We discussed it and came to the conclusion that making it appear as a postage-stamp icon would be fine. So I did that.
  2. I’m not responsible for the other promotional box you saw, the one that made you remember about the postage-stamp I already did for you. So I reminded you. Except now that’s not good enough, somehow.
  3. You never follow up on anything.
  4. We have a vanity URL to go to that promotion — and it’s your fault that it’s not in any of our advertising. We’ve only been using the same vanity URL for three years; no reason to start promoting it now, right?
  5. People don’t see graphical buttons on the internet. They treat them as ads and ignore them. You refuse to listen to me on this.

Instead of bringing all that up, I increased the size of the postage stamp a bit.

Right after I did that, the Two-Year-Old, naturally copied on this message because the marketing specialist mistakenly assumed she was involved in anything web-related that makes any sense at all, came storming out of her office and asked one of the other programmers to change the promotional priority on the site. Just went ahead and made a sweeping change without consulting anyone who might be involved in the other promotional offerings on our site — which may be making us more money — because you saw a problem you could quickly foist off on someone else.

You — and everyone else involved in this debacle, including me — need to CTFD.

According to a contributor to Rules of Thumb:

The urge to fix up a house you’ve just moved into is strongest during the first 30 days. To save money, wait for a month before you do any repairs.

It’s the same with making changes to any project: don’t immediately change stuff. Calm down (calm the fuck down, if you will), take a breath, think about what you want to do, and then ask politely. If your web developers and designers are lucky, the change will get so bogged down in committee that it’ll never be made. But overreacting never made anything better, and I think we’ll learn that as time passes.

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FYI August 19, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Abbreviation, Definition.
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FYI
For Your Information

“FYI” is one of those abbreviations you can use just about anywhere. It supposedly means “for your information”, but what it really means, most of the time, is “I’m covering my ass by telling you this.”

They say:
FYI, I used your computer last night because I didn’t have Photoshop.
They mean:
There’s a picture of your head on Pamela Anderson’s body that’s going to make its way around the office in the next week or so.

They say:
FYI, you need to check the instructions before you post that on our site.
They mean:
Oh, for the love of G-d, PLEASE just read the directions before you waste my time!

They say:
Just FYI, I’m going to be a few minutes late today because of a doctor’s appointment.
They mean:
I have a job interview starting in a minute, so don’t call my cell because I won’t be answering.

Saying FYI is considered polite — that is, if you preface a slightly-snarky phrase with “FYI”, you’ll probably get away with being rude to your co-workers, or even your manager. Managers, on the other hand, will use FYI to remind you of something you probably are already doing.

And FYI is great for cross-departmental memos. Usually, when a memo is blasted across dozens — if not hundreds — of e-mail lists, it’s a fair bet no one knows exactly who’s seeing it and who’s not. So as you read the e-mail — which may or may not be important — you’ll get between three and ten forwarded copies, all of them with the message body “FYI” and nothing else.

Way to clog up the e-mail system.

COB August 12, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Abbreviation, Definition.
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COB
Close of Business

“COB” is two kinds of annoying. First of all, it’s an acronym that everyone just started using, as if the great collective corporate unconscious belched it out after a power lunch. Second, it’s another way to complicate a simple concept.

But worst of all, it’s a way to make you stay at work longer.

Here’s the thing: companies are cutting budgets all over the place. If you get overtime, your boss gets in trouble, and then s/he rains the thunder down on you. You still get your money, but you might lose hours in the future to make up for it, or you’ll be “asked” not to report your overtime. You might be told you can leave early in exchange for staying an hour late to finish a project.

But instead of dealing with any of that, why not just extend the workday an hour or so past the time most businesses close? If you work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., you’re more likely to give the company extra time in the morning anyway — a lot of businesspeople have trouble waking up later in the morning, or their kids get them up and they end up with a strange pocket of time between “sending the kids to the bus stop” and “getting in the car and heading to work”. Why not be productive? Why not leave the house at 7:30 instead of 8:00, get to work, and start making headway on projects that can be done before the rest of the world — that is, management — shows up?

Yeah. Get to work at 8:30, leave at 5:30. Except that now you have to deal with things being sent to you by COB — the close of business. Thus begins the procrastination game — how close to the end of my official workday can I actually get this sent off so I don’t have to start a new project or do any actual work? The person delivering the… well, the deliverable… to you has just screwed you. They’ve gotten the thing to you by COB, but now you have to implement it before you can go home. Can you do it in half an hour, or will you be stuck working 8:30 to 6:10 just to get it done so you don’t have to deal with it tomorrow? Or, worse, is it due to start tomorrow morning and you won’t have it done if you don’t finish it tonight?

The little ways in which the corporate world slowly saps your sanity. This is just one, and it’s one of the smallest… the simple concept of COB.

(And just whose business closes at 5 or 5:30 anymore? Banks? Maybe? Or is that just the time the managers leave? No one really knows.)