Today’s bugaboos (vol. 32)

Bugaboo #1

I hate it when people confuse the employment dimensions of part-time/full-time and temporary/permanent. Part-time and full-time refer to how many hours a week you work. Temporary and permanent refer to the longevity of your job — usually in terms of a short-term contract (temporary) or a no-endpoint position (you will only leave when you quit, are fired, or retire).

Believe it or not, I see this mistake all the time, even in job listings. I see "part-time" jobs listed that are actually full-time temporary, and I hear people say their job is "full time" because they are permanent (even if they work only 25 hours a week).

Thus, to be clear, the cross-dimentional matrix is like this:

  • Part-time temporary means you’re working less than 35 hours per week on a contract with a known end date. It also probably means you’re poor and desperate.
  • Part-time permanent means you’re working less than 35 hours per week but you are a full-fledged employee with no set "expiry date."
  • Full-time temporary means you’re working 35 or more hours per week on a contract with a known end date. This is the most common arrangement for contractors. Remember the mantra: full-time temporary!
  • Full-time permanent means you’re fucked. You’re doomed to waste your life in some unfulfilling office job only to be turfed out in your prime because of downsizing — or worse, kept on until you are old and lonely and useless and then given the boot with a ceremonial gold-plated watch. (But I digress…)

Bugaboo #2

I hate it when people who work on document design confuse headers and headings. No real designer would make that mistake, but people who include some elements of document design in their host of word- and biblio-smithing responsibilities (such as me)– often get them mixed up (although I never do).

For those who are unsure, the header is the line of text at the top of the page of a printed book. It echoes the name of the book, or the chapter or section name. Headers share their duty with footers, which appear at the bottom of the page. Headings, on the other hand, are the titles that introduce sections of a book. Headings are used hierarchically (levels 1, 2, and 3) to help the reader understand the organization of the book.

Bugaboo # 3

Why do people use the automatic date field in Microsoft Word documents? That’s the thing that automatically updates to the current date whenever you open the document. When I open a memo, or a press release, or any other document, I want to see when it was written or last updated, not today’s date! If I want today’s date I’ll look at a calendar!

Bugaboo # 4

I really hate it when people say (or write) "wallah" when they mean "voilà." (What, you haven’t seen this?) It usually goes along the lines of "then you bake it for an hour and wallah! Dinner’s ready!"

This is unspeakably lame. If you know it’s "voilà" then that’s how you should spell it. If you don’t know it’s "voilà" then what the heck do you think you’re saying? Some kind of made-up conjuring word? Something out of "Lord of the Rings" or "The Flintstones?" (I’ve also seen "walah," "wolla," and "walla.")

22 thoughts on “Today’s bugaboos (vol. 32)

  1. 1) I like the term ’employment dimensions’

    2) A related bugaboo: I hate it when people spend all their time fiddling with the layout of their document when they should be concentrating on the content.

    3)I hate that too, and I hate that Word asks me if I want to save the document because it’s fooled itself into thinking the document has changed. Maybe I should just say I hate Word. Period.

    4) See that on recipe sites all the time. It puts me off using the recipe.

  2. My pronunciation bugaboo: “expresso”.

    Don’t get me started on Bugaboo strollers. How any baby buggy is worth £500 is beyond me! Unless it changes diapers and cooks me dinner (and does the dishes afterwards), it ain’t worth it.

  3. My Bugaboo # 1 is the people that spell “voilá” instead of “voilà”…

    (hope accents are properly kept accross versions/iso/mac/pc…)

  4. how about “tremporary” for “transient temporary”…for people who work multiple, part-time, temporary jobs at Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and the school co-op. Call ’em tremps.

    Current bugaboo: people who say “jive” when they mean “jibe”.

    How does Microsoft’s mission statement ‘jive’ with the reality?

    Well, according to The Jive Server:(

    ‘Ova’ da damn last trey decades, technology has transformed da damn way we work,
    play, an’ communicate. Today, we access 4-1-1 an’ sucka’s from around da damn
    world in some instant. Homie don’t play dat. Groundbraikin’ technologies have
    jimmeyed da damn do’ t’innovashuns in every field o’ human endaivor, deliverin’
    fresh opportunity, convenience, an’ value t’our lives.

    Since its foundin’ in 1975, Microsoft has been some laida’ in dis
    transformashun. Yo’ mama. As some reflecshun o’ dat role—an’ t’ help us focus
    on da opportunities dat lie ahaid—we have established an’ embraced some fresh
    corporate mission. What a ripoff.'”

  5. Arrrrgh! OK, I’ve fixed it so it says “voilà.” At least “voilá” is closer than “wallah.” I should have just written “voila” which would be the anglicized version, which is the most we could expect from your average North American anglo.

    Keep in mind that for anglos, those accents are just random pen scratches with no particular reason to lean one way or another. They’re just esoteric things that slow down the act of typing.

    I wrote voilá because it looks nicer with the accent going to the right, the way the whole word would lean if it were in Italics, like this: voilá!. On the other hand, voilà! is visually jarring because the accent is leaning against the emphasis.

  6. “Skill sets” bother me. It’s not as though you can compartmentalise skills.
    And what is this week with rants? Hee.

  7. My bugaboo? “Irregardless” when they mean “irrespective.” Yesterday, I almost threw my dictionary over to the cubicle next door to ask the bossy know-it-all who lives there to look it up.

  8. And there was me thinking “irregardless” was a stupidism for “regardless.” *BONK!* Whoops! ;-)

    AJ, uh … huh? What’s with all that jibe talk?

    I dunno, Michel, I think you can compartmentalize skills to some degree. If I were hiring a flunkey I’d look for skills in this set: writing, proofreading, and desktop publishing. Those are in a different set than the more general “highly organized, efficient worker, neat and orderly.” And of course there is the most highly prized skill set when searching for a flunkey: “obsequious, good apple-polisher, and excellent maker of espresso and other coffee drinks.”

  9. I possess all the above skills and am available for a mere $60K US per annum, mr. blork. Sho nuff.

  10. Poor Blork who’s got a gf who has an accent on her last name. He has to check with me whenever he needs to write my name down. I think he should get it right by the time we celebrate our 50th anniversary. That is, if I haven’t killed him by them. Or tattooed the damn accents on his arm.

  11. Point taken Blork!

    It looks and almost sound better with the accent opening on the right side, as any real male accent should be.
    In fine cuisine:
    “Et Voilá!!!” is when you are pretty you made a great plate,

    “Et Voilà!!!” does not sound as confident.

  12. We forgive him. We anglos are very forgiving when non-anglos make small mistakes. We share the anglo love.

    As for Martine’s last name, her accent goes to the right, so I always get it right. (See below.)

    Here are a few tricks for anglos who are struggling with the many mysterious dimensions of the French language: Regarding the question of whether the accent goes to the left or the right, just use the right all the time; it’s more aerodynamic and you’ll be correct at least half the time. Regarding “la” versus “le” always use “le”; you’ll be correct about half the time, and if you mumble, people won’t be sure if you said “la” or “le” and they’ll probably give you the benefit of the doubt. Unless they’re from France. Alternatively speak only in plurals.

  13. When people ask “do you mind if” and you answer yes and they do it thinking you meant no.
    Double negatives “I didn’t do nothing” is a big Buggaboo
    … could go on forever

  14. Wait wait! Where the heck did you get the “á” in the first place? When is “á” ever used in French?

    French accents are easy you just have to remember “Où qu’il réside, à Nîmes ou même Capharnaüm, tout Français inscrit au rôle payera son dû dès avant Noël, qu’il soit naïf ou râleur.” See.. um… easy. :/

    My Bugaboo – people who burp and say “Pardon my French”

  15. Oh oh oh I have another bugaboo! I hate it when travel ads in newspapers here list “great deals to America!” with Toronto and Montreal included. Gaaaaaaaaah.

  16. Well, from the European perspective, Canada is part of “America” as it refers to the continent. It’s only here (in North America) that we defer that title to the U.S.ers.

    No really! Think about it: “the united states of america” refers to a collection of states in the American continent that are united under a single federal government. One could argue that Canada is the “united provinces of america” (although our political structure is different). Mexico is part of America too, as is Peru, Panama, Ecuador, and Brazil.

  17. Yes, Brits keep using that argument with me but really, it should say “North America” or “the Americas”. I would be a bit more flexible with this bugaboo but the sad fact is, a lot of people here think that Toronto and Montreal are actually located in the US. No, really.

  18. Ha! What a bunch of dopes.

    The whole “America” question is a huge can of worms, so I’m not sure I want to go there. Historically, it’s sort of what I said: after the American Revolution the thinking was along the lines of “here on this continent of America, these states have united as a sovereign country.” The rest was either [a] native american land waiting to be “pioneered,” (i.e., the west), [b] British and French colonial provinces (i.e., what would become Canada), or [c] Spanish colonial territory (i.e., Mexico).

    All were “American” in terms of geography, but only the U.S. states assumed the name as a political entity. The expectation (later to take the name “manifest destiny”) was that it was just a matter of time before all of North America (and perhaps south too) were united under a democratic federation — in other words, that the “united states” would include the entire continent.

    What they didn’t expect was that the Brits would clobber the French and hang onto the northern part (under the name “Canada”) and glue it together with a confederation that was barely independent — but independent enough so as not to provoke rebellion and joining the U.S., and that Mexico would revolt and form their own states and country completely aside from those darn anlgos in the U.S.

    From the Canadian and Mexican perspective it’s a bit annoying. It’s not unlike in the European Union: Albania is still not in the E.U. but does that mean an Albanian is not a “European?” Does an airline advertising flights to “Europe” need to put flights to Albania in a separate category? (Albania is most definitely on the European continent.)

    So what it comes down to is this: Politically speaking, only people from the U.S. are “Americans.” Geographically speaking, everyone from Tuktoyaktut to Tierra del Fuego is “American.

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