Six sentences that (might have) saved the world

It’s been one of those weeks — lots of fretting about my job and feeling overwhelmed. Which is rather silly because my job in no way represents life or death (except for me, and only in the livelihood sense of life and no way at all in the sense of death, except if I die I won’t have to do it anymore). But fretful I’ve been, including reaching out to a couple understanding friends to talk me down from the proverbial ledge. Ironically (and weirdly) soon after, I got a couple of unexpected, positive, reinforcing, all’s-right-with-the-world bits of feedback that made me feel that perhaps I really can do this job I’ve been doing for almost 15 years.

Then I went on to have a pretty good day. In true Libra style, the scales were returning to a balanced neutral.

But no, not quite yet. A project I worked on a couple months ago finally hit the presses today (and by presses I mean my client’s website), and I got to see the finished product. It was mostly what I remembered, except for the end.

“But it just…ends,” I thought. I had no idea how I had ended it, so I went back and looked. Of course, possibly the best six sentences ever written about tax risk had been lopped off the end.

Gone. Soul-crushingly gone.

Is that too dramatic? My soul is not easily crushed these days. I have grown more and more numb to editors’ liberties over the years. I understand that I get paid whether I’m happy with the finished product or not, and usually I’m OK with that. But sometimes…sometimes I feel sad for what could have been. What should have been.

I should have been asked — “Hey we’re running a little long, can you trim 6 or 7 lines from this (two-page) write-up.”

“Of course,” I’d have said (rolling my eyes), and then I’d have agonized just the right amount over what to cut. I’d have thoughtfully trimmed a little here and a little there. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have sent it back without the last six sentences — passive-aggressive much?

And so…just to restore a little balance to my Libra soul, and just in case they really did have the potential to save the world, here are those six sentences:

…: As the adage advises, the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

First, is the organization asking the right question of its customers? While U.S. FATCA compliance may have begun with asking, “Is this customer U.S. or non-U.S.?” that is not the most effective way to deal with the now global myriad of regulations. Better practice would be to ask, “What is the tax residency of this customer?” Second, does the organization have an onboarding process in place and functioning to collect the required documentation from individuals and entities?

These are the basics, and once these questions have been satisfactorily answered, organizations can move on to tackle requirements that take effect at later dates, such as reporting and certain types of withholding.

World without end, amen.

It’s unhealthy for people to never express any kind of
negativity or doubt. 
To have balance, you need to address
that side of your thoughts 
as well as the positive.
Otherwise, you tend toward crazy.

~ Shirley Manson

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A room with a view

With my office feng shui still in process, I have temporarily relocated to our third floor. (I’m managing quite nicely on a small desk with a couple file bins and reference books — why did I need a better office again?) I love it up here because it’s bright (from 2 skylights and an opaque arched stained glass window) and warm (so far, anyway). I hate it up here because it’s a cluttered mess, complete with cast-off furniture, unpacked boxes from our move 5 years ago, and 4 bulky unfinished cubby doors waiting to be installed. Oh, and occasionally a mousetrap or two in the eeves that need to be…emptied.

It does have a charming, though amusing, view out the one small window:

Who put that pole there? And does anyone know a good pole climber? I’d love to tack a pretty little decorative doodad or an inspirational message smack in the middle of it.

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that
a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.
~ Burton Rascoe

 

They really do call it work for a reason

I know I should be using my downtime at work more productively, so I set out to be productive. It took a while to whittle down my e-mail inbox and sent folders to under 400 each, but then…then it was time to do something real. But what?

Then I had a thought. With more than 15 years as a business marketing writer under my belt, I should have something to say about the topic that would be useful to people involved in marketing their business. I should have a few (in the lingo of my clients) “lessons learned” and “best practices” to offer. So, why not do what I do best — write — and share what I know about it in another blog, a professional one this time, attached to my professional Web site.

After some trial and error (and some help from Support), I managed to figure out the logistics of setting up another blog on WordPress and keeping my dual identities separate. But now…now it’s time to do that other part. The writing part.

I love writing this blog. It’s fun, it’s therapeutic, it’s something I look forward to. If I don’t have anything to write about, I can wait a few days. No pressure. If the writing’s not perfect or inspired or even grammatically correct, oh well — I’m writing for fun, not fame or fortune.

Writing a blog for work, however, is turning out to be just like work. I have to figure out exactly what lessons I’ve learned that might help someone else. I have to figure out how to relate those lessons in a way that’s concise and interesting, not judgmental or preachy or sarcastic. I have to write like I do for my clients — like a professional writer who gets paid to put fingers to keyboard and make something make sense.

So, with all that in my head, I’ve yet to finish my first post. I figure I better have a few posts done before quietly “launching” the blog with a link on my Web site. The same DIY Web site I scrabbled together several years ago in FrontPage that desperately needs updating — and I haven’t a clue how to do it.

Downtime suddenly feels more like overtime.

To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.
~ Eva Young

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