A friend in high school (let’s call him “Jon Caligiuri,” for argument’s sake), one time told me, “You like to stir the [excrement] just to make it stink.” Yes, “Jon,” I guess I do.
For instance, yesterday I noticed a possible noun/verb agreement issue on one of our standard disclaimers at work. Pretty confident that pointing this out would get Tito irate, I sent this e-mail:
Question: can we update the language in the map disclaimer to reflect the fact that “data” is a plural noun, so the correct conjugation of “to be” would be “are”?
Old disclaimer: The data on this document is believed to be accurate.
Proposed correction: The data on this document are believed to be accurate.
Many, many “reply to all” e-mails followed, because around here that’s just how we roll. The owner, the president, and the vice-president of the company all participated. All the e-mails were either jokes or discussions of whether “data” still is a plural noun. Only one person sent an angry e-mail. Guess who it was.
I respectfully request that you limit the distribution of similar observations/corrections to your direct supervisor ([vice-president’s name]) or the appropriate members of the Core Team: [vice-president], [owner], myself, [someone else] and [someone else]. We will then review them and send out any required notifications to the group. You will, of course, receive credit for your discoveries as appropriate.
So I replied:
You can make such requests of my direct supervisor, who will then filter out meritless requests and pass any binding requests on to me.
Fall-out has already begun. Tito CCd the vice-president on his reply to me. According to a high-up friend of mine, he also forwarded my reply along to the vice-president with a note that they “need to talk” about it. To help ease the tension, I made sure to go eat a piece of the ice cream cake Tito brought in yesterday for another co-worker’s birthday, being careful to do this before Tito left for the day so I’d be sure to walk past his office with my piece. I also stopped at my friends desk to say, “I’m getting a piece of cake,” so Tito would hear me. Because if there’s one thing I want to do around here, it’s build office morale.