Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Benefit of the Doubt

"Be Charitable" is my motto for this tour.  It took me some time to settle on it -- nearly a year.  But I've decided it's the sanest way to operate in a system driven primarily by email where tone and intention are quickly lost in the flatness of forwarded Calibri font size 11.  Don't assume the worst; give other people the benefit of the doubt.  Probably the other person isn't out to get you or circumvent you or humiliate you.  Probably.

It's perplexing how hard it is to keep this in mind, despite all manner of post-it note reminders urging calm and circumspection.  "Stop it, stop it," I found myself chanting today, pressing my hands over my eyes in hopes that doing so would take the snarl off my lips.  In this weird, cubicle-bounded prisoner's dilemma, there's no need for more conspiratorial thinking.  I wish being my best self wasn't always so challenging.

7 comments:

kelley said...

Hi Katie. I discovered your blog after a long lost friend of mine told me he joined the Foreign Service and I was instantly intrigued. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog! You are a wonderful writer (not to sound snobby, but I'm am avid reader so I feel somewhat capable of recognizing talent). I'm only in August 2006 but I wanted to pause and tell present day you that I'm enjoying previous versions and look forward to catching up to where you are now. Thanks for documenting your experiences.

Oh, by the way, my friend is engaged to a country-of-first-post-ese woman... you were spot on about that - funny!

Katie said...

Kelley, I'm so glad that you're enjoying the blog, and thank you for the nice comment. I often wonder how long I'll be able to keep the site going -- it still surprises me to think of how many years it's been.

Good luck to your friend, and congratulations on his engagement!

ps - if I remember correctly, things got a little dicey for me not too long after August 2006, so I hope that's not too off-putting for you!

Heather said...

Ha! I did that all the time in Kabul - telling myself, "stop it" or "don't go to the dark place."

Vanilla & Zatar said...

Honestly, your not-so-best self is already so much better than most, I wouldn't sweat it...

Katie said...

Heather -- it's not us, right? We're not inherently bad people?

Jen -- thanks! I'm always hopeful of improving.

Consul-At-Arms said...

And who was it that decided Calibri 11, in pale blue, was handed down graven unto stone tablets from Mt. Sinai anyway?

(It's barely readable when I'm sober, to say nothing of hungover.)

Katie said...

My best friend is a strong advocate of Arial. She claims research shows it to be easier to read on a computer screen.

I think email fonts should change to match the drafter's emotional state. Garamond for when you're feeling contemplative; Helvetica for when you're pensive; Courier New for when you can't be bothered; Bookman Old Style for when you don't really know the subject but want to look smart... For the hungover, I suggest Bazooka.