November 13th, 2020



I often feel I spend too much of my time at work talking people out of stupid and unnecessary requests. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't, but it's always an exasperating process. We're so busy and slammed with work so much of the time that having someone request something useless or idiotic is crazy-making. People in my team joke about "Liz says no" and "Marcom says no" as standard responses to such requests. We don't have time for wasting. We have handled more jobs/requests/tickets this year so far than we handled all of last year and there's still a month and a half to go.

Sometimes it's not a request per se, but an argument over naming or language or something and I get really riled up about having to defend my position on ENGLISH grammar, spelling or usage when most often the content I'm objecting to was written by non-native English speakers. Swedes in general are excellent, more or less, at English, both spoken and written, but nuances often escape non-native writers, and when I see issues in grammar or usage I feel compelled to speak up. Which often then leads to having to smooth ruffled feathers of people who have gotten defensive. And I think, I'm not attacking YOU. I'm objecting to something you've written because it doesn't make sense from an English perspective.

And I know that language and translation is complicated and even I, who have lived here for over 23 years, sometimes struggle with trying to think of a word in English or the right way to say something, and I can find myself translating things literally (the specter of Swenglish forever hanging over us all), but if something doesn't sound right to my native English ear, then I think my opinion on the matter ought to be deferred to. I'm happy to clear my reasoning with OTHER native English speakers, but I feel that our word ought to be final.

Yesterday, I won one of those battles and I actually got up and did a little victory dance at my dining room table (slash workspace). "I win!" I thought, even though I actually had been forced to come up with a compromise, a solution that worked but that wasn't what I actually wanted something changed to. My boss, who had defended my position and agreed with me, sent me a "well done!" email and told me she was glad I was so stubborn. The word she used was envis which translates to stubborn, wrongheaded or obstinate, and LITERALLY means "one view". Vis means both wise and sure. I choose to think she meant that. :D