In which I attempt to advance my English writing skills from poor to mediocre.
Praise undeserved is satire in disguise
Published on June 3, 2004 By dreamtime iliaster In Work

In 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into two Pittsburgh banks and robbed them in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He was arrested later that night, less than an hour after videotapes of him taken from surveillance cameras were broadcast on the 11 o'clock news. When police later showed him the surveillance tapes, Mr. Wheeler stared in incredulity. "But I wore the juice," he mumbled. Apparently, Mr. Wheeler was under the impression that rubbing one's face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to videotape cameras.
It's only a matter of time before I wear the juice, unless the impossible happens: people start criticizing me. At work, I never got a negative comment on a performance eval, or even any suggestions for improvement. I've gotten nothing but generic comments like "you're doing a great job. Keep it up" when I've pressed my bosses for useful feedback. Even if I could trust that type of comment, I wouldn't be satisfied with that. I don't want to do a great job. I want to do the best job anyone has ever done. But that type of comment can't be trusted; when someone says "great job", what they really mean is "not a horrendously bad job". I don't know anyone who has gotten negative feedback unless they were on the verge of getting fired. For all I know, I'm two missteps away from getting fired myself. Outside of work and school, where there is no risk of getting fired, no risk of getting an F, it's impossible to get negative feedback at all. Every time I hear you're doing a great job; it's not you, it's me; that correct, but I'm looking for something else; I want to shout "I'm not the same. I won't sue if you make a negative comment on my performance eval. I won't give you a bad eval if you correct me in class. I won't go into hysterics if you tell me why you can't stand me. Tell me what you really think. Be honest". But I don't. Instead, I do what everyone else does. I adulterate criticism that isn't directed at friends. I rarely correct people, even when they contradict empirical fact, or reason from logical fallacies. I used to, but at some point I decided that it isn't worth the cost.

At a club the other night, I saw a girl wearing a pin that said "Ask me to dance. I'll say yes". Perhaps I should start wearing a pin that says "Criticize me. I won't explode".

on Jun 03, 2004
I know the feeling. The CEO of my last job was saying that I had a horrible attitude and I needed to improve. I asked him for some examples of where he had seen this and had none to offer. So I asked him, "How am I supposed to improve if I have no idea what's wrong?" I was met with a blank stare. Oy vey.

-- B
on Jun 03, 2004
i used to attend a lot of pre-release screenings because i was consulting to several studios. no matter how horrendous a picture might be, there was always a few moments of redeeming amusement when the ordeal finally ended. on the way out of the theatre or screening room, one invariably ran into someone--producer, director, studio execs--to whom the screeners would rush to pronounce this particular waste of film was surely going to scoop all the oscars and earn everyone connected to it a place in studio heaven. i was initially puzzled (i had no prior experience in the biz) until i saw what was going on. one always heaped praise on anyone who might be screening ones own film at some date in the future in order to ensure it would too be heaped with praise.
on Jun 04, 2004
That must be how the book business works too. Every book that's released is covered with quotes from well known authors, praising the book as the next big thing.

How do I get a job consulting for studios?