I’m sorry I don’t care if your new brochure is any good

I’m sorry that I’ve stopped caring about whether or not your ridiculously verbose session description is actually going to catch people’s eye. Whether the mediocre testimonial I was repeatedly asked nagged to do actually sells your program. Whether the poster text which HAS to have a, b, and c components because of policy/ego/whatever is actually catchy, let alone readable.

I am really, very sorry that I don’t care. But I just don’t.

I used to love editing and crafting prose. Making sure the right message was being broadcast, and just the right notes were being hit upon to make it eye-catching but not shocking. In some ways I still do.

But after working my entire career in bureaucratic and usually LARGE organizations, all with a policy of making sure their constituents are always happy and therefore always right, even if they’re ABSOLUTELY wrong, save for approximately a nine-month stint of freelance and part-time gigs which in some ways was the happiest time of my life (once I got over the “where’s my next paycheck coming from?” anxiety), I just don’t care anymore. I’ve gone through too many different weirdo style-guides, editors, committees, boards, teams, clients, constituents, managers and managers’ managers with ego trips and no tact (and no taste) to really still feel invested in my work.

A little distance is good, and while I was not able to do that at first, I established it early enough in my school/work career that I was able to take the executive director at my first job’s vague, usually negative critiques with a grain of salt. In fact I could do it better than the managing editor. She ended up quitting to go work for a small arts college. But I think in some ways she had it more right than me; she cared, and continued to care, and changed her job when she knew that her vision was not the same as the organization’s. Whereas I just stopped caring. She stayed at that arts college for many years, just recently moving to a different organization for a really cushy promotion. I’m still doing about the same level of work as I was doing at that first job.

Yes, I’ve moved around quite a bit, and at one point was working at writing and editing for a VERY large company for A LOT of money (which wasn’t what I was hired to do, but there I was). But their double-or-even-triple standards were also the worst of any company I’ve worked for, and after not being able to make any of my three bosses happy and being convinced I was no good at what I did, I quit. Maybe that was when I stopped caring, or became prepared to not care, in case it happened again. And I think to be fair to myself I did care for the first six months of this job. But after one too many “that’s not how it’s done” or “well now we’re changing it” or “we’re changing it because the muckity-muck in this vaguely related department says so,” I’ve just stopped trying.

I’m sorry. I’m really very super sorry. I still put in an effort on most days, and I’ll fight for something if they can’t give me a good reason to change it (“Because that’s how I want it” doesn’t cut it for me), but if they throw even vague standards at me, or “well this is how our audience reads it,” or anything like that, I give in. I don’t even try.

I admire people who can continue to fight the good fight. Me? I’ve been ground down to a big ol’ mess of “don’t care.”


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